Q Will having my hair colored or highlighted during pregnancy pose a risk to my baby, and is one trimester safer than another?
Hair dyes and their ingredients pose no risk of harmful reproductive effects, according to reproductive toxicity studies and investigations. The scientific evidence indicates that exposure to hair dyes presents no carcinogenic or other health risks to clients and salon workers. Thus, you can color or highlight your hair while pregnant, without trimester being an issue.
Q My best friend and I have been treating ourselves to weekly manicures and pedicures. Now that I’m pregnant, I’m wondering about the possible effects of the chemicals on the baby. Also, what if I got a nail infection?
Clients of nail salons don’t need to worry about exposure to harmful chemicals, nor will a nail infection affect your pregnancy. Very few studies have been done on prenatal exposure to nail care products, so the following information is based upon only a small amount of data. Nail salon employees can be exposed to harmful chemicals, depending on the amount of material they use, how often they use it and whether the work site has a good ventilation system, which can minimize risks. No data have been collected on salon workers to date, but it is thought that nail salon clients will not have adequate exposure to cause problems in pregnancy.
Q I am 12 weeks’ along and experiencing the acne I never had as a teen. What can I do?
The effects of pregnancy on acne are unpredictable. Some women notice improvement in acne, while others see worsening, and still others may develop acne for the first time. Topical benzoyl peroxide, which works to unclog pores, can treat acne such as blackheads and whiteheads safely. Topical antibiotics, which require a prescription, work on acne that has infection associated with it. You should avoid tetracycline (topical or oral) in pregnancy, due to potential risks to fetal teeth and bone development. Use of topical tretinoin (Retin-A, Atralin, Renova, Avita, Altinac) has not been associated with any birth defects, but because oral exposure has been, and because significant skin absorption is theoretically possible, you should avoid it.
Q Can I whiten my teeth during pregnancy?
There is currently no data about the possible toxicity of teeth whiteners, which use hydrogen peroxide, during pregnancy. Animal studies do not suggest a risk, but there is inadequate evidence in humans to determine the risk of carcinogenicity. Thus, it is best to wait until after pregnancy to whiten your teeth, but likely no risk if you inadvertently use tooth whiteners before learning you are pregnant.
Q My dentist said I need a crown, but I’m six weeks’ along and don’t want to take any chances. I was also told I have gingivitis. What should I do?
In general, during pregnancy you should undergo dental procedures that prevent infections, since the risk of worsening infections outweighs any theoretical risks from having the procedures. This is because the infections in the teeth and gums that can result from delays in dental care can put the pregnancy at risk. Your dentist can usually tell you if the procedure can safely wait, or if postponing it will risk infection. If waiting is not an option, then it is good practice to restrict X-rays to those absolutely necessary for the procedure, and to double-shield the fetus with lead pads. The numbing medicine Novocaine is fine in pregnancy, but must be without epinephrine (a medication used to minimize bleeding).
Regarding gingivitis: The high estrogen levels of pregnancy, along with the increase in blood volume,result in high blood flow and swelling of the capillaries in the gingiva (gums). It is considered a normal finding in pregnancy. This change in the gums frequently results in mild bleeding during routine oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing. This is usually worst in the third trimester. Good dental hygiene will minimize symptoms, and the condition will resolve after pregnancy.
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