Are Gel Manicures Safe During Pregnancy?

When I helpfully tried to suggest an at-home gel manicure set for a pregnant friend as a holiday gift the other day, I was politely shot down. 

The reason?

There was some concern over the light used to cure the nail polish because it uses UV radiation (like a tanning booth). 

On one hand (no pun intended, ha!), I thought, “Are you kidding me? It's not bad enough pregnant women have to be worried about what they eat, breathe, and sleep. But now even painting their nails is dangerous?” 

{ MORE: The Number of Kids Sent to the ER for Doing This Has Gone Up 90% In 20 Years. Know the Risks. }

And then on the other hand, I wondered, “Could gel manicures really be dangerous during pregnancy?”

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Image via Flickr/ jronaldlee

According to WebMD, the overall risk of getting a gel manicure for anyone is pretty low. The main concern is that the concentrated UV radiation from the light can increase the risk of cancer and premature aging in the hands. Theoretically, the radiation from the light could reach your belly, but the rays are so weak that it would be extremely hard to penetrate to your developing baby. 

With an at-home gel manicure kit, the risk is even lower, as the UV-light lamps are usually less powerful than the kind you would find in a professional salon. 

There is also some concern about the fumes and the chemicals used in the nail polish, and there aren't enough research studies to prove or disprove the safety of the chemicals used in the gel nail polish. 

As with all things in pregnancy, if you are concerned about getting a gel manicure, the solution is pretty simple: talk with your care provider about what is safe and not safe, and simply opt out for nine months if you don't feel comfortable. 

If you're in the mood for a little convenient pampering (I love gel manis when I feel like splurging!), however, you could take extra precautions: get manicures sparingly, make sure the space is well ventilated, and you could even consider buying a radiation-barrier belly tank to block any harmful rays during your manicure. 

{ MORE: How to Handle a Meat Aversion During Pregnancy }

What do you think? Are gel manicures a “yea” or a “nay” during pregnancy? 

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Are Gel Manicures Safe During Pregnancy?

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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