While I can still see my feet, I thought I’d better paint my toenails in preparation for summer (yes, I am an optimist).
Naturally I was so engrossed in the polish, after managing to manoeuvre myself to a relatively comfortable position – I would normally kind of squat over my toes, but this is impossible now, so I hoisted each leg up onto a chair and stretched across – that it wasn’t until afterwards that I started to consider whether my home pedicure had been safe for the baby.
Bring on the flip flops!
According to Babycentre, it is fine to use nail polish during pregnancy “as long as you’re careful” and just paint your nails “every now and then”. I find this sort of advice irritatingly vague – it would be helpful to define what careful means, and how often is every now and then? Every month? Every week? My face was right up close to my feet when I was polishing – and yes, of course it didn’t occur to me to open a window (it’s freezing) – does that mean I inhaled poisonous fumes?
The article goes on to warn that the chemicals in nail polish, formaldehyde and toluene, are dangerous if you are exposed to them more than once a week. One option is to source polish that is free of these chemicals. But what if painting nails is your occupation? The not very helpful suggestion is “if you work as a nail technician, try to leave the nail painting to a colleague when you can.” Um… there goes your job then!
After searching on the NHS for the official line, the only thing I could find was that women exposed to organic solvents, such as nail polish, are “three times more likely to give birth to a baby with congenital heart disease than the general population”. Scary stuff, although I’m not sure that painting your toenails once counts as proper “exposure” – but again, there is not enough information included in the piece to be able to make this judgement. Other organic solvents include glue and paint, which is why you’re not supposed to help paint the nursery (any excuse…)
Kim Kardashian has apparently taken the threat of chemicals in nail polish seriously, as during her pregnancy she has been repeatedly seen with uncharacteristically bare fingernails. I don’t often paint my fingernails as it’s a bit too high maintenance for me (and always seems to chip off immediately) so at least that is one less thing to worry about!
In any case, it’s too late. I’m more concerned about whether the sun will ever come out enough for anyone to actually SEE my newly polished tootsies.