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Acrylic Nails During Pregnancy

Acrylic Nails During Pregnancy: Safety, Risks, and Alternatives


Pregnancy is a transformative journey that brings about numerous physiological and hormonal changes in a woman’s body. While these changes are essential for the development of the fetus, they can also impact various aspects of a woman’s health and well-being, including her beauty routine. One common question that arises during pregnancy is the safety of acrylic nails. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of acrylic nails during pregnancy, exploring their potential risks, safety considerations, and alternative options.

What Are Acrylic Nails?

Acrylic nails are artificial nail extensions created by combining a liquid monomer and a powder polymer. The mixture is applied to the natural nail and shaped into the desired length and design. Acrylic nails are known for their durability, strength, and ability to enhance the appearance of natural nails.

Safety Concerns

The primary safety concern associated with acrylic nails during pregnancy is the potential exposure to harmful chemicals. The liquid monomer used in acrylic nail systems contains methyl methacrylate (MMA), a substance that has been linked to developmental toxicity in animal studies. MMA can cross the placenta and reach the developing fetus, potentially causing adverse effects.

Other chemicals present in acrylic nail systems, such as ethyl methacrylate (EMA) and butyl methacrylate (BMA), have also been linked to health concerns, including respiratory irritation, skin allergies, and nail damage.

Risks to the Fetus

Studies on the effects of MMA exposure on human pregnancies are limited. However, animal studies have shown that high levels of MMA can lead to developmental abnormalities, including cleft lip and palate, limb defects, and neurological problems.

It is important to note that the amount of MMA exposure from acrylic nails is typically much lower than the levels used in animal studies. However, even low levels of MMA can potentially pose a risk to the developing fetus, especially during the first trimester when the fetus is most vulnerable.

Risks to the Mother

In addition to the potential risks to the fetus, acrylic nails can also pose risks to the mother during pregnancy. The chemicals in acrylic nail systems can cause irritation and allergic reactions, especially in individuals with sensitive skin.

Furthermore, the process of applying and removing acrylic nails can damage the natural nails, leading to weakness, brittleness, and nail infections.

Safety Considerations

If you are considering getting acrylic nails during pregnancy, it is essential to take the following safety precautions:

  • Choose a reputable salon: Opt for a salon that uses high-quality products and follows proper safety protocols.
  • Request MMA-free products: Ask the salon if they use MMA-free acrylic nail systems.
  • Ventilate the area: Ensure the salon has adequate ventilation to minimize exposure to chemical fumes.
  • Limit exposure: Avoid getting acrylic nails too frequently or for extended periods.
  • Remove nails promptly: If you experience any irritation or discomfort, remove the acrylic nails immediately.

Alternatives to Acrylic Nails

If you are concerned about the potential risks of acrylic nails during pregnancy, there are several alternative options available:

  • Gel nails: Gel nails are similar to acrylic nails but use a different type of resin that is cured under a UV lamp. Gel nails are generally considered safer than acrylic nails as they do not contain MMA.
  • Shellac: Shellac is a hybrid nail polish that combines the durability of gel with the ease of removal of regular nail polish. Shellac does not require UV curing and is a good option for those who want a more natural look.
  • Natural nail care: Focus on maintaining healthy natural nails by keeping them clean, moisturized, and trimmed. You can use a clear nail polish or a strengthening base coat to enhance the appearance of your natural nails.


While acrylic nails can be a popular beauty enhancement, it is essential to consider the potential risks associated with their use during pregnancy. Exposure to MMA, a chemical found in acrylic nail systems, has been linked to developmental toxicity in animal studies. To minimize risks, choose MMA-free products, ventilate the area, and limit exposure. Alternative options such as gel nails, shellac, or natural nail care can provide a safer and equally attractive way to enhance your nails during pregnancy.

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