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Navel piercing and pregnant bellies

If you have your navel pierced and get a positive pregnancy test, you may wonder what the heck to do now.

We talk with moms who have “been there, done that” as well as professionals in the body piercing community about when it’s best to remove the jewelry, if at all.

Your navel piercing has healed well, but now that you’re expecting a baby, the question pops up — when do you remove the jewelry, or do you need to at all?

Potential issues

If your piercing is a new one, you run the risk of the jewelry rejecting if you’re pregnant, simply because your body is trying to heal a piercing and grow a baby at the same time. Rejection happens because your body recognizes that your new jewelry is foreign and, as it would a splinter, it seeks to rid itself of it. And navel piercings can take up to 12 months to heal, so keep that in mind as you consider your options.

As your belly grows, migration is another issue that can crop up. Your uterus will, by around 20 weeks, climb to the level of your navel, and continue its path upward and outward, putting pressure on your jewelry. Many, if not most, moms report that their belly button eventually pops outward by delivery day, so you can imagine the force behind your belly button as your baby grows bigger each week. This puts pressure on your jewelry, potentially causing it to gradually be pushed out of its original path and head on a new, crooked mission.

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Took it out

A large percentage of the moms we spoke to decided to go ahead and remove their piercing. “I retired my navel piercing way before I needed to, at about 12 weeks,” shared Jackee, pregnant with her first child. “I knew its life was coming to an end and just wanted to get it over with, so I took it out as per my husband’s advice. He was a piercer for five years and had a very clear stance on it: ‘Take it out so it doesn’t get a chance to get angry, and repierce it later on if you want.’ I’m really glad I took it out; now at eight months pregnant the scar tissue is red and usually angry and sore. Trying to save it would have been more trouble to me than it was worth.”

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Left it in

Some moms decided that since their piercings were totally healed, they’d take it one day at a time to see if they could leave it in. “I left mine in through my entire pregnancy, with the same jewelry,” explained Lexi, mom of one. “It never caused me any problems. I only had it removed about, oh, one minute before my emergency C-section because I was being put completely under anesthesia.”

The bottom line

The usual advice is to either go ahead and remove it, or monitor it closely if you decide to leave it in. Visit your body piercing professional if you notice any rejection, migration, redness, swelling or unusual discharge — and keep in mind, infection can happen even in a piercing where the jewelry has been removed.

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