These days piercings are incredibly popular but pregnant women might wonder if it is safe to get a piercing before the baby is born because of possible complications.
Pregnant women should not get a piercing of any kind until after the pregnancy is over according to both medical and piercing professionals. While the possibility is small, body piercings all carry the risk of infection which can be increased during pregnancy and could harm the mother or baby in extreme cases.
Read a little further to see the risks of getting piercings while pregnant. The most common piercings that might seem safe can have a high cost.
Is it safe to get piercings while pregnant?
Being pregnant is a beautiful thing. Your mind can do interesting things during that time. You can even get urges, like to get a new piercing to celebrate. Is it a good idea?
Piercings are very popular. Even pregnant women want them. However, there are risks involved. Your body is working overtime to take care of you and your child. Taking care of health should be the number one priority. The Association of Professional Piercers recommends waiting a few months after birth to get piercings of any kind so your body has time to heal.
While it is your personal choice, it is not recommended to get any piercing while pregnant.
If you are so determined, these are some tips to keep in mind:
- State registered studio
- New sterile gloves are worn at every procedure
- Must be an autoclave (sterilizing unit) to sterilize instruments
- All floors and surfaces cleaned and sanitized
- Single-use, disposable needles ONLY
- All dressings and jewelry for piercing must be sterile packed and unopened at the time of the procedure
These should be strictly followed if you insist. Studios will ask through paperwork, so just be honest. They have the right to refuse you if they have policies. If they agree to pierce, they are not liable.
Infected piercings while pregnant
Pregnant women are often met with a somewhat compromised immune system which means their ability to fend off bacteria and infections is reduced. Since piercings introduce ways for bacteria to enter the body, it’s more common than you might think to worry about them.
The risk of infection can include Hepatitis A, B, and HIV/AIDs from unsterile instruments and multi-use guns or needles. Skin can be more sensitive during pregnancy so any puncture can take longer to heal. Some pregnant women have experienced and developed allergies to certain metals.
Also, depending on location, the infection can get into the bloodstream and umbilical cord to the baby. Blood poisoning and toxic shock syndrome can occur.
Blood sugar can also be affected by a piercing, which is already a problem because many struggle with gestational diabetes. If you are diabetic, always check with your doctor before any piercings. Hypertension can occur because blood flow has changed in the woman’s pregnant body, so a piercing can cause inflamed heart valves and lead to other serious issues. If you experience any symptoms of infection or discomfort, always talk to your doctor.
Taking care of piercings while pregnant
Whether you have a new piercing or an existing one, taking care of it is important. Your body is going through so many changes, so anything can happen. If the piercing starts causing any issues, the best choice is to take it out. Always wash your hands before touching. Take out the ring to clean every so often. Keep the area clean and make sure the piercing does not rub or get caught on anything while your body changes. Your body can even reject the piercing causing:
- Jewelry becoming visible outside the skin and under
- New- staying red, itchy, or irritated; old- becoming red, itchy, or irritated
- Piercing hole becoming larger
- Hanging differently
- Moves more freely
What about piercings that hurt during pregnancy?
Some existing piercings can start to become painful because of body changes, including stretching or getting rejected by the body. Sensitivities can appear and some women have stated that piercings they had long before pregnancy have been causing them pain. It also opens the area up for infection.
Nipple piercings while pregnant
Your breasts develop and change throughout pregnancy, growing more sensitive and producing milk.
Some women have had no issues with their piercings but some have. They can get irritated due to nipple piercings. Also, if you want to breastfeed, it can cause a choking hazard to the baby. It is best to take it out during breastfeeding. If you experience any discomfort during your pregnancy, take the piercing out.
Most places will not do piercings on a pregnant woman because of the liability. It is recommended to wait a few months after the child has weaned off breastfeeding to get a nipple piercing.
Infected nipple piercing while pregnant
Keeping your nipple piercing clean is important. Wash your hands before insertion and look for any signs of infection. If you breastfeed, it is recommended to take it out. Baby’s mouths are full of germs. You can also develop clogged ducts which lead to mastitis.
Symptoms of the infection can include:
- Hot to touch
- Extremely sensitive or painful
- Green, yellow, or brown discharge
- Bad smell coming from the site
- Body aches
Belly button piercings while pregnant
These are very popular and a big concern during pregnancy.
If your piercing has fully healed, there is no need to remove unless you become uncomfortable. The belly stretches to hold the growing baby, so your navel will stretch and even tear sometimes. Keep the area clean daily and wear loose-fitting clothing to prevent rubbing. If you remove the piercing, there is worry about the hole closing. Reinsert every couple of days to prevent closure.
There are maternity belly button rings available that are made of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which is flexible and nickel-free. Some women develop gold or nickel allergies, so these are a safe alternative.
- Itchy, inflamed rash that spreads
- The piercing hole gets larger
- A tenderness that comes and goes
It is recommended not to get a navel piercing while pregnant because you can also develop an infection.
Infected belly button piercing while pregnant
The navel stretches to form around the baby and can even tear. Current piercings can open and become open to infection. Getting a new piercing always increases the risk of infection.
Symptoms of a belly button infection include:
- Severe swelling, pain, redness
- Yellow, green, grey, brown discharge with odor
- Red lines from site
- Fever, chills, upset stomach, vomiting, dizziness
Nose piercings while pregnant
Nose piercings are also becoming more popular. Some women experience nose swelling during pregnancy, so the piercing may become too uncomfortable. You can leave it in as long as it is causing no discomfort. These, if new, can take a couple of months to heal. Waiting is your best option. Keep the area clean and take it out every few days to clean the piercing.
Infected nose piercing while pregnant
After a nose piercing, it is normal to experience:
- White pus to ooze from the area
- A slight crust to form
It takes up to 6 months to fully heal. However, if symptoms worsen or a bump appears, it could be infected. The bump could indicate a pustule (blister), granuloma (lesion), or keloid (scar).
This can be caused by:
- Poor piercing technique
- Touching with dirty hands
- Wrong cleaning products
- Allergic reaction
Symptoms of infection:
- Extreme pain, throbbing, burning
- Unusual tenderness
- Unpleasant odor and oozing
Both of these cases should be consulted with your doctor and treated with antibiotics.
Ear piercings while pregnant
Almost all women have their ears pierced. They are so easy and the most comfortable. Why would pregnancy affect the ears, right?
Sensitivity and allergies can occur, as well as swelling and pain just like everywhere else. If they are uncomfortable, take them out. Keep them clean. If you don’t have them yet, wait until after the baby is born.
Infected ear piercings while pregnant
Ear guns are gross and can be unsterile, causing infection. If you already have piercings, take care of them or take them out. Signs of infection:
- Yellow pus from the area
- Pain or tenderness
- Itching and burning
Tragus piercings while pregnant
The tragus is a prominence on the inner side of the external ear. This one seems to be getting more popular because of its so-called relief from migraines, anxiety headaches, and even appetite suppression. According to acupuncture, it can be a trigger point for vagus nerve stimulation. While this has been proven effective for epilepsy and depression, working through piercings is still being extensively studied.
The tragus piercing poses a slightly bigger risk to infection because it is a cartilage piercing, as opposed to other piercings. These usually take much longer to heal than the standard 6 to 8 weeks. During the first 2 weeks, it is normal to experience:
- Pain and discomfort around the area
- Heat radiating from the site
- Clear or yellow seepage from the site
Even though it takes up to 8 weeks for a tragus piercing to start fully healing, these particular symptoms should go away fairly quickly normally. However, if they continue or get worse, it could be an infection.
Symptoms of a tragus piercing infection include:
- Swelling that does not go away after 48 hours
- Continue feeling heat that does not go away or gets worse
- Inflammation and redness that stays after the first 2 weeks
- Intense pain
- Excessive bleeding
- Yellow or dark pus seeping from the wound, particularly if it has an odor
- A bump appearing on the front or back of the piercing site
If there is any sign of infection, contact a healthcare professional immediately. They will usually prescribe either an oral antibiotic, topical antibiotic, or topical steroid to help clear it and get it back to normal.
It’s normal to want to get piercings. However, in this case, you also have to think about the little one growing inside of you. Baby needs mommy to be at her healthiest to get both of you through.
Always consult your doctor or OB/GYN for any concerns and questions.