Getting pregnant is such an exciting time! There’s a new little life growing inside of you which means big changes are coming. We all know about the changes pregnancy can cause on the body, but it’s easy to overlook the changes it can cause with your piercings. Most notable being navel piercings. Navels change, sometimes dramatically, during or after pregnancy; which we briefly cover in our “Unique Anatomy Navels” article. The main question we get though, is “can jewelry be left in the piercing throughout pregnancy?”. The simple answer to this is unfortunately, no. There’s a few reasons why navel jewelry is best left out during pregnancy and we will discuss all of this further below.

We understand that there is a lot of mixed advice online in regards to body piercing in general; but especially about how to handle having a navel piercing once you’re pregnant. Some people suggest “pregnancy navel rings”, others suggest creams or topical treatments, and some say do nothing! It can be hard to weed through the bad to get to the good advice, so we’re here to happily debunk some of those anecdotal suggestions. 

Let’s start with “pregnancy navel rings”. These are usually extra long curved barbells made of metal or plastic, either adjustable or non, that are commonly advertised to clients as being ideal for their navel piercing during pregnancy. However, any jewelry left in the piercing during the stretching that occurs in the stomach, can cause issues. Advertisers may state that plastic is more mailable therefore safer to wear without damage, but even plastic will damage the health of the piercing and can even degrade in the body over time causing irritation. If something remains in the piercing channel when the stomach expands, the channel can stretch out, and this may lead to a larger piercing hole and/or loose skin that no longer holds your usual jewelry correctly even after pregnancy. Not to mention there is currently no body-safe plastic available on the market for use in body jewelry. It is almost always low quality mystery plastic which many people have very poor reactions to. Many types of this jewelry can’t even be legally sold in states like California because the material is considered a carcinogen.

As long as your piercing was healed when it’s removed, it won’t seal shut or close. The most it will do is shrink down fairly small, and you may have difficulty re-inserting jewelry on your own after, but it will still be there! Trained, reputable piercers have tools designed to easily reopen shrunken piercings like this, and they will be able to help get jewelry back in for you. We know hearing that the best course of action is to remove jewelry can be upsetting for some clients, but we promise you will be much happier with a healthy, stable piercing! Patience is important in the world of body piercings and always pays off. 

Now, some people suggest using different creams and ointments on the navel to help prevent any stretching. While these can be beneficial for reducing or preventing any visible stretch marks, they won’t make too much of a difference to keeping your piercing the same size. No amount of cream or balm will stop the pressure being put on the piercing from having jewelry in it during pregnancy. It may temporarily make things more comfortable, but at the end of the day that is a lot of stretching and pressure, and with any jewelry in, that pressure is only increased. The chances of the piercing itself stretching out or the tissue becoming damaged or irritated isn’t work trying to keep the jewelry in. Many even say that the piercing becomes uncomfortable after a certain point, and can easily get caught or snagged. For your health, comfort and safety of your piercings and you, we strongly suggest removing jewelry during pregnancy, and then having a professional help you get it back in afterwards!