Posted on by Catherine Omondi

Pregnancy and breastfeeding can be a rollercoaster time for a lot of women. Unfortunately, nail fungus sometimes tags along for the ride, making this crucial stage of life even more stressful. Imagine dealing with swollen feet, weird cravings, hormonal changes, and then adding nail fungus to the mix! It’s like a not-so-glamorous cherry on top of the pregnancy or breastfeeding sundae.

Now, you might wonder, “Is this toenail fungus harmful to my baby?” It is not directly harmful to your child, but dealing with nail fungus during pregnancy or breastfeeding can be stressful, especially if it causes pain and discomfort.

But fear not. There are nail fungus treatment options that are safe for both you and the baby during this time. You can tackle nail fungus head-on with safe and effective treatment options. Keep reading to learn more about how nail fungus loves crashing the pregnancy and breastfeeding party and how to kick it to the curb with proper treatment.

Understanding nail fungus in pregnancy and breastfeeding

Why does nail fungus seem to have a soft spot for pregnant and breastfeeding women?

The first reason is hormones. During pregnancy, your body is a hormonal rollercoaster, and these hormonal changes can throw your immune system out of whack. Your immune system is your body’s defense squad. The hormones make your immune system less effective at fighting infections, including nail fungus.

Secondly, pregnant women have increased blood flow. However, all that extra blood can lead to changes in nail health, making them more susceptible to fungal infections. Pregnant women are also more likely to wear closed shoes, which can create a warm, moist environment for fungi.

Some women get gestational diabetes while pregnant. This condition can make women more vulnerable to infections like nail fungus. Diabetes also reduces sensation in the feet, meaning you may not immediately notice if you injure your toenail. Such an injury can create an opening for the fungus and allow the infection to take hold.

Unfortunately, the fun doesn’t stop there. During breastfeeding, these hormonal changes are still in full swing. Plus, breastfeeding comes with stress and fatigue. All the stress can weaken your body’s defenses, making fungal infections more likely. Breastfeeding mums also experience changes in their nails due to nutrition. What they eat (or don’t eat) can increase their risk of nail fungus.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding create the perfect storm for several infections, including toenail fungus. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent and treat it before it takes hold and wreaks havoc.

Prevention strategies for nail fungus while pregnant and breastfeeding

1.    Good hygiene

Keeping your nails clean, dry, and trimmed can help you prevent nail fungus infections. Make sure you wash your nails regularly and wipe them dry. Resist the urge to share personal items like nail clippers and shoes during pregnancy.

2.    Breathable shoes and socks

Opt for breathable shoes and socks to keep fungus at bay. Do not wear tight-fitting shoes. When your feet start swelling up during your last trimester, wear open-toed shoes to give your feet some extra breathing room. 

3.    Dietary and lifestyle considerations

Maintaining a balanced diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding is good for your baby and your immune system. Load up on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to give your body the nutrients it needs to fight infections like nail fungus. And don’t forget to take care of your mental health too. Managing stress and fatigue is crucial for keeping your immune system in tip-top shape.

Safe nail fungus treatment options during pregnancy and breastfeeding

When pregnant or breastfeeding, everything you put in your body has an impact on you and your child. Unfortunately, some medications can potentially cross the placenta and reach the baby. That’s why it is crucial to only use medications and treatments that will keep you and the baby safe every step of the way. The following are some pointers for safe treatment options during pregnancy and breastfeeding:

1.    Choosing safe topical treatments

When you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you want to make sure you’re using treatments that won’t harm your little one. So, what ingredients should you look for? Most natural ingredients are safe for topical use during pregnancy. Other safe ingredients include clotrimazole and terbinafine.

And why are we all about topical treatments during pregnancy and breastfeeding? Topical treatments reduce the risk of medication getting into your bloodstream and affecting your baby. Additionally, they are less likely to cause any side effects for you or your child.

2.    Proper application techniques 

When using topical treatments for toenail fungus treatment, make sure you apply the treatment directly to the affected nail. The specific application method depends on the treatment. Some have a brush applicator for convenience, while others require you to slather the cream from a tube. You’ll want to follow the instructions on the packaging. Consistency is key. Continue applying the treatment as long as the instructions say, even if your nails start looking better. You want to ensure you get rid of the nail fungus for good.

3.    Consulting your healthcare provider

Pregnant women should always talk to their healthcare professionals about any medication they are taking or applying, even if it is an OTC nail fungus treatment. Your doctor will give you the risks and benefits of the topical treatment and ensure you are using them safely and effectively. They’ll also keep an eye on your progress and ensure everything’s going according to plan.


Toenail fungus treatment during pregnancy and breastfeeding is not the most glamorous activity, but it is necessary. Whether you’re growing a tiny human or nourishing them with your own body, taking care of yourself is non-negotiable. And that includes taking care of your toenails. Take proactive steps to tackle nail fungus safely and effectively. Talk to your healthcare provider and arm yourself with knowledge to make informed decisions that will help you and your child. And don’t forget prevention. Keep your nails clean, dry, and trimmed. Opt for breathable shoes and manage stress and fatigue to keep nail fungus at bay.