Health & Wellbeing Pregnancy

Piercings & Pregnancy (Nose, Ear, Tongue, Lip & More)

Pregnancy means changes, and not just about how you feel, what your body looks like or what you crave.

While most people know they shouldn’t drink alcohol during pregnancy and should avoid certain uncooked foods like beef jerky, there are some other things you shouldn’t do when you’re pregnant.

One of these is getting body piercings – according to both medical and piercing professionals, you should avoid getting a piercing of any kind during pregnancy due to your weakened immune system.

Can You Get A Piercing While Pregnant?

While the ultimate decision on whether to get a piercing is a personal one, you should be aware that many experts recommend you avoid piercings of all kinds during pregnancy.

Instead, you should wait until 3 months after your baby is born to get a piercing, and thankfully the guidance is the same even if you’re breastfeeding.

Although you may find body piercers who are willing to pierce your ear or nose (but probably not your belly button, nipples of genitalia), it’s important to fully understand the risks involved when getting a piercing during pregnancy (more on these below).

Is It Safe To Get A Piercing While Pregnant?

Risks Of Getting A Piercing While Pregnant

If you get a piercing while pregnant you may be at risk of:

  • Catching an infection, which could potentially get into your bloodstream and therefore harm your baby.
  • Having a severe allergic reaction to the jewelry’s metals.
  • Irritation or itching at the site of the piercing.
  • Excess blood loss.
  • Longer healing time.
  • Contracting HIV or hepatitis from the piercing needle in extreme cases.

Woman wearing earings

According to experts including the Association of Professional Piercers (APP), it is not safe to get pierced during pregnancy.

This is because your immune systems is compromised during pregnancy, and the changes your body undergoes have a negative effect on the healing process.

In addition, even though the risks are low, if you experience a complication following your piercing (such as an infection), you pregnancy or your baby could be negatively affected.

The AAP advise against getting a piercing while you are pregnant as the risk is simply not worth it.

Interestingly, the American Pregnancy Association take a slightly different view.

Rather than recommending pregnant women avoid all piercings, the American Pregnancy Association encourage women not to have piercings on their belly button, nipples or genitalia during pregnancy.

Guidelines For Choosing A Piercing Studio

If you do still want to go ahead with getting a piercing when pregnant, the American Pregnancy Association advise you use the following guidelines when evaluating a studio:

  • The studio is a state-registered piercing studio.
  • New sterile gloves are worn for each procedure.
  • Must have an autoclave sterilizing unit to sterilize equipment.
  • Floors and surfaces are clean and sterilized.
  • Use single-use, disposable needles only.
  • Dressings must be sterile packed and unopened.
  • Jewelry used for piercing must be sterile packed and unopened.
  • Ensure you can contact your professional piercer (at any time) for at least the first 24 hours after piercing.

Can You Get A Nose Piercing While Pregnant?

Close-Up Photo Of Person With Nose Ring

To be on the safe side, it’s advisable not to get a nose piercing while pregnant.

Although a nose piercing is technically a safer option that getting your nipples or belly button pierced, it does still come with the risk of potential infection.

As stated before, your immune system is weaker than normal when you are pregnant, so it’s wise to avoid doing anything that could put your body under unnecessary stain.

Some women also experience stuffy noses and nosebleeds during pregnancy, and both of these conditions are likely to be worsened if you do get a nose piercing while pregnant.

Can You Get An Ear Piercing While Pregnant?

Getting your ear pierced when you are pregnant seems like the safest out of all options, so you might be tempted to do so.

But the thing to keep in mind is that an infection can occur after any piercing, no matter where it is on your body.

Ear piercings therefore carry the same risks of infection as other body and face piercings, so it’s advisable not to get your ear pierced while pregnant.

Can You Get A Belly Button Piercing While Pregnant?

It’s definitely not a good idea to get a belly button piercing during pregnancy.

The American Pregnancy Association specifically list the belly button as an area you should avoid getting pierced during pregnancy.

This is because as your stomach grows, the holes do not completely heal, and they can often become larger and more susceptible to infection.

As a side note, if you recently got your belly button pierced (within 6 weeks of getting pregnant), you’re probably still in the healing stage.

In this case you should monitor the area closely for any changes such as redness or puffiness, or even better take the piercing out completely.

Can You Get A Nipple Piercing While Pregnant?

As with belly button piercings, if there’s one area you should definitely avoid getting a piercing while pregnant it will be your nipples.

As we’ve seen, there are risks associated with all piercings, but additional risks from a nipple piercing while pregnant include:

  • Higher risk of infection as the tissue around the nipple and areola is sensitive.
  • Higher risk of abscess (pus-filled pimples on the nipple).
  • Higher risk of mastitis (inflamed breast tissue).
  • Infections that could travel to your milk ducts.

Can You Get A Tongue or Lip Piercing While Pregnant?

Due to the risk of infection it’s not recommended to get either a tongue or lip piercing while you’re pregnant.

During pregnancy your face may become slightly rounder and your lips may crack or chap more than usual, so this could also make the healing process slower, more complicated and more painful.

A Woman With a Lip Piercing

In Conclusion

If you have a real urge to get a piercing then it can be frustrating to learn that it’s best to hold off until after your baby is born.

But given your immune system will be weakened while pregnant, the general advice is that it’s simply not worth taking the risk in case you get an infection.

If you have existing piercings however, and they are fully healed, then the good news is there is no reason why you should need to remove these piercings while pregnant (unless they are causing you discomfort or you find them catching on clothing).

If you do decide to keep them in, make sure they are cleaned well using soap and water every day.

The exception to this is an existing nipple piercing, because a nipple ring is a choking hazard for your baby if you’re breastfeeding, and it may also interfere with your baby’s ability to get a good latch when feeding.

Must Read: Your Complete Guide To A Happy & Healthy Pregnancy

Tori is mama to 3 year old Isabella and co-founder of Rockinbaby. She has a BSc in Psychology, is a certified yoga teacher and is a working mom. In her free time Tori loves cooking delicious foods and baked treats, entertaining and working out. Learn more about Tori here.

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