Pregnancy is a time of joy and wonder, a time when you get to see your body change in so many ways.
You’re full of excitement, waiting for the time you get to meet your new bundle of joy.
But pregnancy is also a time of the weird and wonderful – you probably never anticipated the possibility that your toenails would fall off as a result of growing a new life.
Yes, it is possible.
Before you begin to panic and lament your new pedicure, it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to lose all your toenails.
It’s more likely that you might notice the edges of your nails chipping off, and perhaps one or two toenails falling off (the big toe or little toe seems to be most common).
This shedding of nails certainly isn’t guaranteed to happen during pregnancy and it is one of those oh-so-wonderful side effects of pregnancy.
Toenails Falling Off? Why?!!
You will know by now that pregnancy is a time when hormones are running riot, but this particular side effect actually has nothing to do with hormones and usually more to do with a lack of nutrients.
Yes, your unborn squishy is your pride and joy, a beautiful growing baby, but he or she is actually sucking the nutrients out of you whilst he or she is growing.
It sounds harsh but it’s actually true.
This is why it is so important to be careful with your diet and to ensure that you put back whatever you can in order to avoid any nutrient deficiencies in your overall system.
Eat plenty of nutrient dense foods such as green vegetables, meat, fish, eggs and nuts and make sure you’re taking a good quality prenatal supplement too.
Learn more about the best foods to eat during pregnancy for optimum health.
Toenails falling off is called distal onycholysis in medical terms.
It’s normally not a huge concern but you should mention it to your doctor or midwife as it could point to an iron deficiency.
You needn’t worry too much about it though provided the problem doesn’t become severe.
Losing the odd toenail is not too much of a concern, losing a lot, or developing pain because of it, could point towards a serious deficiency that needs to be more closely monitored.
Pregnancy has some great effects, such as that glow, longer nails, and flowing locks. But it can also go the other way and cause thinning hair, (which can sometimes fall out in clumps), and it can cause thinning of the nails which causes them to become brittle and break easily.
This is all because the nutrients you are consuming aren’t going just to you anymore, they’re being routed towards the baby and absorbed by the placenta.
It is super easy to break a nail during pregnancy, and that means that your usually strong toenails are also susceptible to breaks.
We should point out that your nail is much more likely to fall off if it receives trauma.
It may be that you simply bump your toe and notice the nail falling off because your nails are weaker.
You might also notice lines or ridges developing on your nails, this might be down to a deficiency that is occurring because of your pregnancy or it could be due to another condition.
Go get it checked out with your doctor – a 5-minute chat is all you’ll need.
Get Your Thyroid Function Checked
Another potential reason for losing your toenails during pregnancy could be down to a thyroid deficiency.
Thyroid problems are common during pregnancy.
An overactive thyroid can cause hair and nails to grow at a quicker rate, and because of this, they don’t have the time to develop strength, as they would do otherwise.
If you visit your doctor or midwife and mention this type of problem it could very well be that they do a thyroid function test just to check your levels.
This is a blood test and nothing to be concerned about. The results will tell your doctor if any medication is required.
If you do need thyroid hormone replacement this will be something your doctor will talk to you about and you will need to take daily, according to their instructions.
The problem often completely resolves after you have delivered your baby as your levels return to normal.
There is a small chance the levels will remain the same, and in that case, you will continue taking the supplementation after you have delivered.
Either way, it is nothing that should cause you a huge amount of stress.
However, There is Some Good News …
The strange symptoms of pregnancy can sometimes be upsetting and can cause concern before you get them checked out and get the reassurance that you need.
The good news, however, is that a lot of these effects actually point to the fact that your unborn baby is doing very well indeed.
The fact you are lacking in nutrients isn’t great, of course, but it means that your baby is getting what he or she needs as a result.
All you need to do is supplement that loss and get what you need too. Normally I go for Solgar vitamins and minerals but many moms-to-be prefer gummy vitamins during pregnancy because they don’t seem to cause nausea like the tablets do.
Remember, you should never be embarrassed or fearful of telling your midwife or doctor about any of the strange effects you’re experiencing during your pregnancy.
We can guarantee that you are not telling them something new, they will have heard them all a million times before.
So losing a newly painted toenail might not be the greatest start to your day, but it’s usually nothing to be overly worried about either. Just make sure you get it checked out to be on the safe side.