Q&A: Can I have my toenails painted if I’m having a c-section?

Posted in Labour & Delivery, Pregnancy FAQs and tagged , .

Question & Answer

It might seem like a strange question, but it’s one mums prepping for c-sections in the Mum’s Grapevine baby Facebook groups are tossing around. And it all has to do with monitoring oxygen levels.

Bit of a vain question to ask the Grapeviners, but any ladies who have booked c-sections, can you have your toenails painted? I have a pedi booked, but don’t want to waste it if I can’t have them painted!
 – Frances Grapeviner Summer 2022/23 due date group

Mum’s Grapevine reached out to specialist Sydney obstetrician Dr Gary Sykes who explained why it’s totally ok to keep your pedi appointments if you’re having a c-section.

“In the past, the Anaesthetist would look at how pink your nail bed was during the operation to give an idea of how well oxygenated you were. Nowadays Anaesthetics have very accurate monitoring machines that can accurately check all sorts of vital signs during your operation, including your oxygen levels.

“For oxygen and heart rate monitoring, typically a fingertip oximeter is used. It monitors your body’s oxygen saturation level and your heart rate simply by placing your fingertip into its sensor. Even so, most hospital surgery admission instructions state: ‘Do not wear nail polish’. That’s because, on occasion, the nail polish will interfere with the accuracy of the oximeter.

‘But in my experience, Anaesthetists are not concerned if you have nail polish on.” said Dr Sykes.

So there you have it, you can have your toenails painted and most of the time your fingernails too if you are having a c-section.

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