Moms with body mods are everywhere, and it’s no longer unusual to see badass mothers with full sleeve tattoos or other beautiful body art. But can piercings and pregnancy go together? Many people invest a lot of time, effort, money — not to mention discomfort — into their gorgeous body modifications. Over time, they just feel like another part of your body. But what happens when a baby is on the way? can you keep your belly button ring during pregnancy? It might feel weird to give up a beloved piercing, especially if it’s been with you for a few years.
It turns out there are ways to safely keep your belly button piercing in during the nine month duration, and there are also some cases where you might be better off removing it for a while. As with many things, it depends on your situation and comfort level. And if you’re seriously concerned about the piercing, then a chat with your OB-GYN can provide a more personalized recommendation on the pros and cons of belly button rings during this phase. In the meantime, here are a couple schools of thought on the matter from physicians and professional piercers alike.
The Keep It Camp
According to the American Pregnancy Association, there is no medical reason to remove healed piercings during pregnancy. As long as you’re comfortable, and the piercing has healed up properly, it’s fine. The Association of Professional Piercers seconds this advice, and notes that some women leave in belly jewelry for the duration of their pregnancy and delivery. If the regular jewelry starts to catch on clothing as your belly grows, you may consider replacing it with a retainer made from Tygon or PTFE, which are similar to fishing line and can bend to fit your changing body. There are even specialized flexible belly button rings that you can use for the duration of your pregnancy. If you decide to go without any jewelry or a retainer, then there is a chance that the piercing will close, but in this case you may be able to get the jewelry put back in place with an insertion taper (or, in other cases, get it repierced).
The Remove It Camp
There are cases, however, when removing the belly button jewelry might be a better idea. As the American Pregnancy Association explains, if your piercing failed to heal properly, or is currently irritated, then this might be a good time to take it out. In the case of piercings that have not received proper care, infections like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, or HIV/AIDS may occur. And an article in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology notes that naval piercings may cause stretch marks from the growing belly. Overall, though, well-healed piercings are not likely to present many problems.
However, it is important to note that new piercings are a no-go during pregnancy, and for a few months after giving birth. The American Pregnancy Association advises you don't get any new piercings while you are pregnant because your growing and changing body may make it difficult for new piercings to heal completely. And if you're dying to get a new piercing post-baby, the Association of Professional Piercers recommends a three month waiting period after you give birth before getting any new work done.
As always, it's important to consult with your OB-GYN before pursing anything during pregnancy that affects your body. And when it's something that occurs so close to the bump, you want to make sure you have all the information.