It’s sexy and shows off a flat, toned tummy. But do you have to give up on your belly piercing when you’re pregnant and your tummy starts to bulge with baby?
The answer is no. As long as your piercing is healed (i.e. you didn’t get it done within the last month or so) and healthy, there’s no medical reason why you need to remove your hardware during pregnancy. After all, your belly button marks where you were connected to your own mom in the womb, not where your baby connects to you — which means that piercing it won’t allow pathogens in.
Of course, as your stomach starts to jut out and your skin gets increasingly taut, you may find that the jewelry becomes too uncomfortable to wear. Watch for redness in the skin surrounding your piercing, which probably means that it’s too tight. Your belly ring might also start to rub against your clothing and even get caught, which can really hurt, especially if your belly button “pops” later in pregnancy.
If you opt to take out your jewelry entirely, run your belly ring through the hole every few days to keep the piercing from closing. Or consider replacing it with a flexible belly bar made of PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene — a.k.a. Teflon — which is the stuff used on nonstick pans that was reformulated so it no longer contains the potentially dangerous chemical PFOA). Because they’re not made of rigid metal, they’re more comfortable, and they can be cut to the size that suits your growing bump.
If the hole does happen to close, though, you can always get it re-pierced — if you have time and still want to, that is!
As for getting your belly button or anything else pierced during pregnancy, it’s better to hold off until after delivery. It’s not a good idea to puncture the skin when you’re expecting, since doing so ups the odds of an avoidable infection. (Remember: Changes to your immune system during pregnancy put you and your baby at higher risk of infections.)
Because of that heightened risk, if you got your belly button pierced before you found out you were expecting, it’s probably best to take the ring out if the area hasn’t healed yet (i.e. it’s still red) and re-do it after baby’s arrival. Removing a recently-done piercing will also reduce the chance that an unhealed hole in your stomach will stretch and become even bigger after you give birth. And if you notice that the area is weeping, red or inflamed, it’s a good idea to take the jewelry out in that case too, regardless of when you had your belly button pierced.
Here’s to your beautiful, healthy baby bump!