Pregnancy is a funny thing. Never have you felt more in control (and conversely, out of control) of your life than when you’re expecting. And with all those newfound changes that your physique is facing, it might cause you to want to make some voluntary body modifications of your own. So if you have body parts that are begging to have an extra hole put into them, you might wonder: Can you get a piercing while pregnant? But maybe the real question you should be asking yourself is… should you?
Listen, if you want to get a sweet nose stud, or pierce your eyebrow, you’re a big girl, and you can make that decision for yourself. The whole reason why piercing while pregnant becomes an issue are the associated health risks that you might be subjecting yourself (and your baby) to if you do decide to have the procedure done during your nine months. “In my opinion, piercing is an elective procedure,” Dr. Cynthia Flynn, MD, an OB/GYN, tells Romper. So unlike a medical procedure that has to be done during pregnancy (like if you broke your wrist and had to have it set in a cast), getting a piercing during pregnancy is something you can probably wait until after baby is born to do.
What Are The Risks To Getting A Piercing During Pregnancy?
But you don’t want to wait, you say. You feel empowered, and dang it, you don’t want to hold off on that helix any longer. Before you schedule an appointment with a piercer though, you should be aware of any health risks. “Cellulitis or skin infection occurs about 20% of the time,” says Dr. Flynn. “This is easy to treat when you are not pregnant, but the presence of the fetus or baby can complicate treatment.”
While localized infections can occur post-piercing, there are some bigger risks that you can face if the condition is not treated. For example, you could wind up with toxic shock syndrome, endocarditis (a bacterial infection that enters the bloodstream and can land in the lining of the heart), or Ludwig angina (a serious skin infection). “We do not have a lot of data on sepsis (blood poisoning) after piercing but it does occur,” explains Dr. Flynn. “This is infection that has spread throughout the blood stream and could be fatal to both the mother and fetus.”
Be Careful What Piercings You Get When You’re Pregnant
Everything is heightened during pregnancy, from your hormones, to how food tastes, to even how your own skin feels. But because your body is super sensitive now, you might want to rethink piercings that are in, ahem, private places and can potentially hurt like a mother. “Your nipples might hurt more if you pierce them during pregnancy, so it’s best to avoid them as well as your vaginal area,” Dr. Kim Langdon, MD, an OB/GYN, tells Romper.
While there really isn’t a “safe” area to choose for piercing, you can pick a spot that might have a lower risk for potential infection, such as the ears, Dr. Flynn advises. But even if you choose an area that seems innocuous enough, it could still result in scarring, since tissue trauma is reported in nearly 50% of people who get a piercing, a PubMed study found.
Your Skin Requires Extra Attention When You Get A Piercing During Pregnancy
Sure, you have to baby your skin when you get a piercing, but it becomes even more important when you’re pregnant. In the same study, researchers found that taking proper care of your piercing, especially when you’re pregnant, becomes critical. That’s why you’ll want to keep the site as clean as possible to avoid a potential infection.
And You Might Have To Remove The Piercing When It’s Time To Deliver Your Baby, Anyway
Depending on where you get your piercing (and how soon it is to baby’s due date), you’ll probably have to lose the navel piercing. “You have to remove the piercings before labor and delivery in the case of an emergency cesarean,” says Dr. Langdon. “The electrical equipment will cause a burn if you leave them in.” So if you’re considering getting your clit pierced, you’ll probably want to wait until after Baby is born.
So can you get a piercing during pregnancy? Although you might want to pierce a part (or a few parts) of your body, it seems like the risks outweigh the rewards (read: having a new hole to take care of). Your best bet might be to simply wait until you deliver.
Hoover, Ch. Rademayer, C., Farley, C. “Body Piercing: Motivations and Implications for Health” 2017.
Dr. Cynthia Flynn, MD, an OB/GYN with JustAnswer
Dr. Kim Langdon, MD, an OB/GYN