Can I wear Nail Polish during labour?

There are many discussions about the do’s and don’ts of what to wear in labour – including the wearing of nail polish during labour.

Towards the end of your pregnancy a pedicure can be a nice way to put your feet up and relax…who doesn’t love a good foot massage to relieve those swelling ankles!

There are times when nail polish is not suitable for labour and many ask why they should consider removing nail polish especially when they have spent a lot of money getting their nails done!

The policies will vary slightly between hospitals regarding nail polish but most hospitals will have preferred procedures.

Reasons why you will be asked to remove nail polish:

There are some schools of thought that wearing nail polish will increase the risk of surgical infection especially with chipped nail polish. Studies have shown that the wearing of artificial nails is a problem with higher microbial counts under artificial nails than under natural nails. Hence hospital staff continuously washing their hands.

During surgery a finger probe or ‘pulse oxymeter’ is placed on your finger to detect the level of oxygenation in the blood. The nail bed is one of the best places to detect any bluish discolouration caused by low oxygen levels (cyanosis) where a visual guide is used in addition to relying on the pulse oxymeter.

If you have nail polish on during labour and then have to go for an unplanned Caesarian Section, your nail polish will need to be removed. Usually this will first be the polish on your finger nails and if time permits the toe nails.

It is difficult to remove false nails so it is suggested you remove acrylic and shellac nails prior to your expected birth and leave those until after your baby is born.