These days, so many women have body piercings they love. But what's a woman to do if she gets pregnant? How can she maintain her piercings as her body changes during pregnancy?
If you're currently pregnant or trying to get pregnant and want to maintain your belly button piercing or other body piercings during your pregnancy, don't fret! We have the info and tools you need to keep your skin moisturized and pliable and your body jewelry well-fitting as your baby bump grows so that your piercings will stay comfortably in place during your pregnancy and bounce back to normal after your baby's born.
Which Piercings Can Be Affected by Pregnancy?
You may think your belly button piercing is the only one you'll need to worry about during your pregnancy, but there are other piercings that may also be affected as your body changes over the next nine months. Belly button piercings are definitely one of the biggest concerns, since your tummy will be growing in leaps and bounds, but nipple piercings, surface piercings, dermal piercings, and possibly some other body piercings like web piercings may be impacted by the body-wide changes that can occur during pregnancy. If you have web piercings between your fingers or toes and your hands or feet swell, your jewelry may be more prone to migrate out. Surface piercings may require longer surface bars to be inserted if they're placed on your hips or other areas where your skin stretches during pregnancy due to swelling. As your breasts begin to swell with milk, you may need larger nipple rings, too. Keep an eye on all of your body piercings throughout your pregnancy, and if you notice the jewelry beginning to press into your skin anywhere, see your piercer right away. S/he will be able to outfit you with better-fitting jewelry. You may only need to have your jewelry changed once during your pregnancy or not at all, but some jewelry (particularly belly button rings) may need to be changed several times before your baby is born.
If you leave ill-fitting jewelry in too long, one of three things can happen: the jewelry may stay in place, but prolonged pressure could cause necrosis (tissue death), which can lead to infection; the jewelry may begin to migrate away from its original placement and closer to the surface of your skin, particularly with dermal and surface piercings; or, your jewelry may be rejected entirely, potentially leaving you with a piercing scar. None of these outcomes is ideal, which is why it's important to see your piercer if your jewelry becomes too tight or migrates away from its original placement. Alternatively, you can always remove your jewelry yourself, if you decide you don't want to keep your piercing. Just make sure to keep your fistula (piercing hole) clean using a quality saline wash like Recovery Piercing Aftercare Spray and follow appropriate piercing aftercare protocol while it closes up to avoid an irritation or infection. If a dermal piercing becomes problematic, you should have your piercer remove it for you for a small fee.
What Types of Body Jewelry Are Best During Pregnancy?
BioFlex jewelry is the best type of body jewelry to wear during pregnancy for any piercings that are impacted by swelling, water retention or general growth, because it's made of soft, flexible PTFE that will bend and flex as your body changes and as you move. We offer an entire line of pregnancy belly button rings with adjustable PTFE barbells that you can cut to length to better fit your growing baby bump. You can wear BioFlex straight barbells in your nipple piercings, BioPlast labret studs in nose and lip piercings, silicone and PTFE plugs and tunnels in stretched ears and other stretched piercings, and so on. We also have lengths of PTFE coil available that you can cut to whatever size you need for nearly any body piercing and threading tools you can use to add threads to either end so you can screw on your favorite externally-threaded barbell ends as long as they're the same gauge as the PTFE coil you purchase. Changing as much of your body jewelry to BioFlex jewelry as possible will keep your piercings comfortable as your body changes during pregnancy.
If you need to have a test like an MRI or CAT scan or a medical procedure during your pregnancy, you may need to replace all of your metal body jewelry with acrylic or glass piercing retainers. We offer a vast selection of piercing retainers for nearly every type of body piercing that you can peruse if that situation arises.
Is There a Way to Improve My Skin's Elasticity During Pregnancy?
Emu oil is a great tool for increasing your skin's natural elasticity before stretching piercings as well as during pregnancy. You can use it around any well-healed piercing. Just massage a small amount into the tissue around your piercing(s) once or twice a day throughout your pregnancy to help your piercing stretch with your changing body. It's particularly important to use emu oil around belly button piercings. You can use emu oil on the rest of your stomach as well as your breasts to minimize stretch marks, too.
How Should I Deal With Dry Skin Around My Piercings?
Sometimes hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause the skin around piercings to become dry and/or cracked. The natural way to re-moisturize your skin is to dilute tea tree oil in sea salt solution and apply it to your piercings with clean cotton balls. There are two ways you can incorporate tea tree oil into your daily routine to moisturize dry skin: you can either make homemade sea salt solution, enhance it with 2-3 drops of tea tree oil per cup of solution, and apply it to your piercings with a series of clean cotton balls, or you can saturate cotton balls with piercing aftercare spray and add a single drop of tea tree oil to each before applying them to the skin around your piercings. If you want to make your own sea salt solution, just use the simple recipe below.
Homemade Sea Salt Solution Enhanced With Tea Tree Oil
- 1 Cup Sterile Water (Boil tap water for 5 minutes to sterilize it, or buy cups of sterile water.)
- 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
- 2-3 Drops of Tea Tree Oil
*Note: You can purchase combo packs of Recovery Piercing Aftercare Tea Tree Oil & Sea Salt From the Dead Sea to save on these two ingredients.
- If using tap water, bring it to a roiling boil on the stove, and let it continue boiling for 5 minutes to sterilize it.
- Measure out one cup of water in a heat-safe container, if you just boiled the water.
- Mix in 1/4 tsp. sea salt, and stir until it's fully dissolved.
- Stir in 2-3 drops of tea tree oil.
- Let the mixture cool to a comfortable temperature, and then dip a series of clean cotton balls in the solution and apply them to your piercing(s).
Can I get a New Piercing During My Pregnancy?
This is a common question, particularly with nipple piercings. There's no hard and fast answer since some piercings are more invasive than others, but generally speaking it's usually best to wait until after your baby's born and your body's returned to normal, size-wise and hormonally, before getting a new piercing. If you're considering getting your nipples pierced, you should definitely wait, not only until your baby's born, but until you're done breastfeeding. If you want to get a simple piercing like an earlobe piercing during pregnancy, it would be less of an issue than something like healing nipple piercings would be.
Once My Baby's Born, Can I Breastfeed With Nipple Piercings?
The answer to this question is absolutely yes! You can navigate breastfeeding with nipple piercings using the helpful tips in our blog post, Can You Breastfeed With Nipple Piercings?
What Can I Do About Piercing Scars if I Lose a Piercing During Pregnancy?
Most piercing scars are either hypertrophic (raised) or atrophic (indented) in nature. The latter is the most common result after a retired fistula heals, but it's possible to develop either type of piercing scar. Both tend to be skin colored once established, but if you find yours to be unsightly, you can treat it naturally by massaging a small amount of jojoba oil into the scar tissue twice a day for as many weeks or months as it takes to see satisfactory results. Silicone scar therapy gels are also available that will diminish the appearance of piercing scars over time, if not eliminate them entirely. You can find them in most pharmacies or the healthcare aisle in your local grocery store. For more information, read our Body Piercing Scars article.
Where Can I Find More Information About Piercings & Pregnancy?
You'll find additional information about managing body piercings during pregnancy in our article Pregnant & Pierced. You can also utilize our forum to read about other pregnant moms' piercing experiences or to post questions of your own for our knowledgeable moderators and experienced online community members to answer. If you want to be able to post in the forum and respond to other people's posts, you'll need to sign up for a Painful Pleasures account. For help navigating our forum or photo gallery, check out our How to Use the Forum and How to Use the Gallery Help Center articles.