Is it safe to have acrylic nails now that I'm pregnant?

Q: Is it safe to have acrylic nails now that I'm pregnant?

A: The jury's still out on whether acrylic nails -- fake nails created by applying a chemical mixture called an epoxy over your natural nails, or over a plastic tip glued to your nails -- are safe to get while you're pregnant, since no studies have researched the effects these chemicals can have on your baby. It's true that some of the chemicals used to create acrylic nails can be absorbed into your bloodstream, but it's likely that such trace amounts won't impact your baby. The main concern is the fumes given off during the application (which is why technicians usually wear masks for the procedure), which can trigger allergic reactions and aggravate asthma. It's best to discuss this choice with your doctor, since physicians have different opinions on whether acrylic nails are a good idea during pregnancy. If yours gives you the go ahead, here are some ways to minimize your exposure to the chemicals:

- Go to a well-ventilated salon. - Visit the salon early in the day when there aren't as many fumes. - Wear a mask yourself. - Find a salon that uses products with ethyl-methacrylate (EMA), which the FDA deems a safer alternative to methyl-methacrylate (MMA), a chemical commonly used to apply acrylic nails. - Go natural during your first trimester when your baby's most crucial development is taking place.

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