Can A Pedicure Induce Labor—4 Helpful Tips Before Your Salon Trip

Can A Pedicure Induce Labor

For decades, desperate pregnant women have tried different ways to induce labor. 

Activities like exercising, eating pineapple, having sex, and bouncing on a yoga ball are among the wives’ tales associated with inducing labor for pregnant women near or past their due date. 

Some women swear by going to the nail salon for a pedicure to induce labor naturally.

In this article, we’ll talk about the rumor that inducing labor is as easy as booking an appointment for a pedicure at your local nail salon. 

We’ll also discuss safety concerns associated with pedicures and nail salons in general, especially during pregnancy.

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Can a pedicure induce labor?

The rumor is that the pressure points hit during the foot massages given during a pedicure induce labor much the same as acupressure appointments. 

A pedicure is a beauty treatment involving rubbing the feet, ankles, and lower legs and adding nail polish to the toes.

It’s not so much about what color polish you choose that can send you into labor, but the foot massage that comes before the polish.

Can A Pedicure Induce Labor

Getting a pedicure to induce labor

Specific pressure points in the feet and ankle bone often massaged during the beauty treatment known as a pedicure are associated with inducing labor

You may have heard or read at some point that towards the end of your third trimester, booking an appointment for acupressure of the feet can help you induce labor.

Some books and internet sites even claim to be able to show you how to hit these pressure points from home through foot massages that you can give yourself or get from a partner or friend.

The thought process is that pedicures induce labor by targeting those same pressure points.

A foot massage to induce labor

Unless you are very ticklish, a foot massage feels great. Especially in the third trimester, when you are most likely sore and have swollen feet. 

Some firm pressure on the feet of moms-to-be is most likely a welcome type of relief.

It’s not pedicures themselves, or the act of painting the toenails, that drives some women right into labor; it’s the pedicure treatments that come before the pretty paint—the massage of the feet, ankles, and legs.

Certain pressure applied to certain areas of the foot is said to induce labor. And it’s not just desperately overdue women who say this is true.

Reflexology to induce labor

Reflexology practitioners are people who make a living studying each pressure point, as well as the body’s energy field. Most of these people agree that pregnant people can go into labor or start labor in late pregnancy simply by having these pressure points triggered.

Reflexologists claim that pressure points in the hands, feet, and ears correspond with the body systems and nerves all over the body. Need a hand with migraines? Get a massage. 

Need to do something about your congestion? Get a massage. Need to induce labor? Reflexology says to get a massage.

So, getting a pedicure doesn’t make you go into labor, but if you believe what reflexology states, then getting the massage before a pedicure just may induce labor.

Does it work?

There is no scientific evidence, indeed no scientific proof, that getting a pedicure can throw a person into labor. While some women offer concrete evidence that is purely anecdotal, you cannot base any science on those testimonies.

The truth is that there isn’t much evidence to dispute the claim that you can quickly induce labor with a massage. There’s also no hard evidence for it. 

There have been very few studies, and there has been a lot of conflicting evidence in those studies that have been conducted.

Anecdotal evidence

While most of us will feel better about the information given to us by a doctor in a professional and medical setting, you may not want to entirely discount all anecdotal evidence provided by people simply because they don’t have some letters after their name or wear a lab coat to work.

We ask friends for movie recommendations even though they aren’t professional movie critics. We ask other moms for ideas on how to sleep train and potty train even though they are not child development experts. We ask our friends about vacation destination suggestions even though they aren’t travel agents.

While it may amount to nothing but a hunch or a coincidence, not listening to anecdotal evidence simply because it’s not been documented by a doctor may leave you selling yourself short. 

Sometimes word of mouth is good enough, especially when you feel like you’ve been pregnant forever.

Can A Pedicure Induce Labor

Pedicure during pregnancy third trimester

Getting a pedicure is an excellent way to treat yourself. 

If you were a regular at the salon before you were pregnant or all through your first trimester and even the second trimester, it can’t hurt to try getting a pedicure to induce labor in the third trimester, right?

While getting a pedicure in and of itself isn’t dangerous, there are certain precautions that pregnant women should take before they make an appointment at a salon.

1. Check the salon’s health inspection record

Your local health department conducts health inspections for businesses that serve the public, and then those ratings are posted not only online but in the businesses. 

They are required by law to be displayed so that customers and interested patrons can see whether the business has met the standards outlined by the department.

Many salons offer several different services, so you may need to look up exactly what the salon you are interested in has been graded on, but looking into their record is the best way to avoid unsafe practices, unhealthy businesses, and potentially dangerous things.

2. Choose a salon with good ventilation

If you walk into a salon and notice a strong chemical smell, turn around and walk right back out. All the air in the establishment has chemicals from acetone, polish, hair treatments, lotions, and more.

Anything you ingest, like food or drink, will have those chemicals on them. Also, breathing this air, especially while pregnant, is not a good idea. 

If you can, wear masks to these appointments, and always make sure that the staff wears masks during the pedicure process. It’s your best bet for fresh air and keeping the spread of germs at a minimum.

3. Check for broken skin

Never get pedicure help at a salon if you have open wounds, scratches, or peeling skin on your hands or feet. 

Other patrons have had their feet in those foot baths. Hot water is a breeding ground for germs, and any skin contusion or lesion is an invitation for any germs and infections to come on in.

It’s simply not worth the risk, especially if you are close to your child’s expected date of birth. 

Unless you see them do it with your own eyes, you cannot know if the equipment or foot baths are freshly cleaned.

4. Bring your own nail clippers and your own files

It may seem “extra,” but it’s always best to be safe. 

Many different chemicals are utilized, and the quick onset of infection that can come with a pedicure when dirty or infected tools are used is scary, especially if you are close to giving birth.

Bringing your own supplies will help to keep you and your baby safe. 

Pedicures with fresh and sanitized items you bring are always safer, and your technician shouldn’t have an issue using what you have.

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Are pedicures safe during pregnancy?

Maybe you’ve heard it asked at your last prenatal class, “Will a pedicure help me go into labor?” 

Maybe that got you thinking about trying it. 

For some women, it’s an easy decision. Even if it doesn’t work, you end up relaxed and with pretty toes. For other pregnant women, however, it can be a difficult decision due to safety concerns.

As long as the salon is well-ventilated, has a fan blowing, and has a decent rating with the health department, there is minimal risk associated. Go ahead and get a pedicure.

If you feel better checking with your doctor first for the safety of your baby and pregnancy, then do so. It never hurts to talk to your doctor to make the most informed and safe decisions possible.


There are few studies on reflexology and whether massage during a pedicure can induce labor during the late stages of pregnancy. 

However, there aren’t many risks, so go ahead and get a pedicure if you want to.

If you aren’t interested or don’t want to get a pedicure, but you’d like to try other things to induce labor, you may try some other fun wives’ tales, like eating spicy food, taking warm baths, and having sex. 

Or, just ask your partner for a good foot rub!

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