How to Manage Belly Button Rings During Pregnancy

Three Parts:Maintaining a Navel Piercing While PregnantTaking Your Piercing OutGetting a Piercing While Pregnant

Belly button piercings can be fun, exciting, and sexy. However, when it comes to getting pregnant, piercings around the navel region can be a hassle. The increased stretching in, and around, the belly button can cause pain and infection. Luckily, there are a few easy ways to either obtain, manage, or remove a navel piercing while you are pregnant.

Part 1
Maintaining a Navel Piercing While Pregnant

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    Clean your jewelry regularly. In order to prevent infection, it is critical that your piercing is clean and sanitary. At least once a week, take your piercing out (when your piercing professional says it is safe to do so) and wash it with warm water and soap.[1]
    • Scrub hard in order to disinfect the ring or bar. Dry it with a paper towel or wash cloth before you reinsert it.
    • Use safe soaps when you are washing. Soaps with flowery scents, and artificial additives can increase the likelihood of infection.
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    Disinfect your belly button and navel region. Beyond your daily shower/bath, it is critical that you keep your navel region clean and sanitary as a means to prevent infection. Every day, use a wash cloth that is soaked in warm water and soap, and wash the navel region.[2]
    • After you are done washing, dry off gently using a paper towel or a dry wash cloth. Use gentle dabs rather than pressing hard against your skin.
    • Keep a lotion around, or cortisone cream, which can be applied whenever you feel as if there is a redness or dryness. Check the labels of the packaging as some antibiotics are unsafe for pregnant women.
    • Do not use your fingernails or fingers to scrape because that might cause irritation.
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    Leave your belly button ring alone. Try to avoid tugging on it or fiddling with it, because your pregnancy will make the skin more elastic and more prone to stretching or tearing.
    • Not only should you not touch the piercing, but you should also not let anyone else touch, kiss, or lick the piercing. The exchange of bacteria and/or fluids around the healing area is a recipe for infection.
    • If you touch the pierced area out of habit, or accidentally let someone else touch it, immediately wipe the area down with warm water and soap.
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    Wear loose fitting clothing. A navel piercing will likely catch on to your shirt as your stomach grows, and your shirts become more tight. This is also the case for tight maternity pants which tend to ride up over the stomach and can latch onto the piercing. Make sure that each of your shirts and pants give at least an extra inch around so that your piercing has room to be free and not hook.
    • When buying clothes, try and go to stores specializing in pregnancy clothing. They will have shirts and pants that are available in larger sizes. Do not get tight fitted stretch shirts if you have a piercing, because there is a likelihood that the piercing will still catch on.[3]
    • When a shirt is to tight, the piercing can hook on and rip out. If this happens, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Do not use over the counter antibiotics to treat a serious wound.
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    Avoid tight pantyhose, leotards, and belts. As you become pregnant, your belly will start to push against your old clothes. There is a high likelihood that your piercing will hook onto your clothes and rip out. Contact your doctor in case this happens, and do not use over the counter antibiotics to solve a serious problem.[4]
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    Use a sea salt soak. This is a home remedy that can help decrease the likelihood of infection and the spread of illness. If you are already taking an antibiotic prescribed by your doctor, do not use this as it might interfere with the medicine.[5]
    • Add a teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water. Mix together using a spoon.
    • Get a washcloth, and soak the rag in the liquid. Gently dab the washcloth onto the area. Make sure to wash your belly button and the surrounding navel region. You can also sprinkle the mixture on the navel region with your hands, but make sure they are clean first.
    • After you have used the mixture, wipe the navel region off with a dry cloth or paper towel. Let the region fully dry before you put your shirt back on.
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    Use warm compresses or cold packs. By providing warmth of coolness to the pierced area, you can calm down inflammation and thereby decrease the risk of infection. You can either buy specialized hot water bottles/cold packs, or use a strong plastic bag.
    • If you choose to use the plastic bag, make sure that it is thick enough. Sometimes cheap bags can leak, and you do not want to burn/freeze the already inflamed area.
    • Insert either warm water, or cool water into the bag. Lay back, and lift up your shirt. Gently dap the bag against your skin. Do not press down to hard and cause more inflammation.
    • When you are done, and the pain has subsided, let your navel region reach room temperature before you replace your shirt back over the area.
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    Use tea tree or emu oil. These are great home remedies that provide some minor health benefits. Gently apply small doses to the pierced navel region. Clean the area off with a damp paper towel or wash cloth. Make sure that the area has dried before you replace your shirt. If you experience a negative reaction to the oil, immediately contact your doctor.[6]

Part 2
Taking Your Piercing Out

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    Decide whether or not to take out your piercing. Pregnant women often times complain about sensitive skin, inflammation, and irritation. Navel piercings amplify these negative side effects. If you are feeling any discomfort whatsoever at the navel region during the pregnancy, it is best to take the piercing out.
    • Check your skin for redness and/or dryness. Keep track as to whether or not your daily regimen of soreness treatments are working.
    • Plan to remove your piercing around the fifth or sixth month of your pregnancy. That is when most women get their largest around the navel region, which can result in serious pain if you do not remove the piercing. The skin begins to stretch and the piercing will be pressed up against the region.
    • If you have any doubt as to what is causing the pain, contact your doctor.
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    Wash your hands before you remove the piercing. Use warm water and soap, create a lather, and clean in between your fingers as well as under your fingernails. If your hands are dirty, this can likely cause infection.
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    Slide the piercing side to side to see if it can move freely. You do not want to take the piercing out if it is stuck, or if the skin has attached to the piercing. If this has happened, seek the help of a doctor, or a piercing professional.
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    Locate the ball of the piercing. This is generally thought of as a non-decorative ball. One hand will hold the main bar, as the other hand gently unscrews the ball. Feel the ball first to see if it will unscrew safely and easily. If the ball is stuck, contact a professional.
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    Slide the bar out. Do this as gently as possible. If you feel any tug as you pull it out, leave the piercing in and contact a professional or your doctor.
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    Sanitize the area. Apply warm water and soap to a washcloth or paper towel. Gently dab the region. Make sure to get both the navel region and the belly button. Let the area dry before you do anything else to it. Apply a small bandage or bandaid to the pierced area as to not risk the region getting infected.
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    Slide piercing through the piercing hole. There is a high likelihood that your hole will close up after you remove the piercing. Every few days/weeks, slide the piercing through the hole to keep it opened.[7]
    • Leave the piercing in the hole for a few minutes, up to an hour. Do not leave it in any longer as the pain from the piercing pressing up against your pregnancy will likely come back.
    • Be careful as you do this. Make sure your hands have been sanitized as well as the navel region. Clean the region after you are done.
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    Replace piercing. In some cases, it is not necessary to remove the piercing while pregnant, but it might be more comfortable to get a new piercing. Look for piercings labeled "PTFE." This means that it is flexible, and not a rigid metal bar. It will move and expand with your belly as it grows during the pregnancy. It can also be cut to the size of your girth.[8]
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    Remove if a c-section is needed. This is absolutely critical because the metal in the piercing is right in the way of where the doctor will make the incision. Follow the previous steps to remove the piercing, and do not return the piercing until you are completely healed. Consult your doctor what would be an appropriate time to reinsert your piercing.[9]
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    Use a moisturizer and proper hygiene. As your tummy stretches, your belly button will probably stretch as well. The skin around your piercing has more freedom to stretch, which makes it more prone to stretch marks, scarring, and infection. This can be reduced or prevented by the use of moisturizers and good hygiene.
    • It is also best to moisturize every day using a moisturizer that is natural and free from harsh chemicals or fragrances.
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    Treat rashes or inflammation promptly. During the third trimester when hormone levels are soaring, women become more susceptible to skin conditions such as rashes, irritation, itching, and inflammation. It is important to address any of these conditions immediately after they develop to prevent them from worsening or leading to infection.
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    Do not return piercing until after your pregnancy. Continually reinserting the piercing into the hole can cause damage to the navel region. Wait until at least a few weeks after you have had your baby.[10]
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    Guard against stretching and/or ripping. Often times during pregnancies, "innie" belly buttons can pop out, creating strain between the piercing and your skin. Your skin and abdominal muscles are also expanding while you are pregnant, putting more pressure on the navel region. Throughout the day, lift up your shirt to see whether your belly button has been stretched, ripped apart, or torn.[11]
    • If this happens, immediately remove the piercing. It is best not to inflame the region any more that it already is. Place a small bandage over the area and contact either your doctor, or a piercing professional.
    • If there is simply redness, or the potential for stretching, use a bandage and cover the belly button. This will stop your belly button from popping out any more than it already has.
    • You will want to consider the process of healing. You do not want to heal a piercing while you have a new baby kicking your navel region, making you bend over, constantly move, etc.

Part 3
Getting a Piercing While Pregnant

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    Write down why you want the piercing. There are many risks to getting a piercing right before, or during a pregnancy. The piercing can cause infection, inflammation, and even the possibility of disease. You need to spend time thinking about why the belly button piercing is so important.
    • First, right down a list of reasons why this is critical. This is not only a good idea for pregnancy piercings, but piercings at any time. Go through each one and decide whether that is a good enough reason (it means something to me, it is part of my identity, etc.).
    • After you have written down the best reasons you have, talk to your friends and family about your decision. They might have a different point-of-view, and wish to dissent or agree.
    • Talking with a piercing professional is also important. The professional is likely to have gone through this situation before, and know the best advice for you.
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    Check the credibility of the piercing facility. It is important that the place you go to get a piercing is legit. Any problems with the piercing can result in infection, disease, and harm to the baby.
    • Ask if you can watch the piercer set up his station before you get the piercing. The piercer should always wash his hands, and instruments. The instruments he or she uses should be unopened.
    • Look around the studio to see if the place is well kept. The floors should be neat and tidy, the station sanitized, and there should be no presence of blood.
    • Make sure that the piercer enforces age restrictions. The piercer should also have an active portfolio of his or her past work. Ask to see the portfolio before you even begin to think about getting the piercing.
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    Choose a safe, functional piece of jewelry. The typical, close fitting belly button piercing will not be an option for a woman that is soon to be pregnant. You will need to shop around for piercings which are optimal for your future condition.
    • Plastic maternity belly button rings. These rings are made of soft, plastic material that will stretch along with your growing belly. These rings can expand slightly, and therefore are less likely to irritate the skin and lead to infection. The good news is that they are much cheaper than the metal rings and they're easy to find online.
    • Try out circular rings instead of barbells. These are less likely to fall out than barbell shaped rings. As your tummy grows, it's possible for the pierced hole to temporarily stretch as well. If it gets large enough, there is a chance barbell rings could slip through it.
    • Use large gauge rings rather than smaller ones. The larger the gauge, the thinner the ring, and the better it will fit as your tummy grows. Buy a 14 gauge ring, which is the largest gauge.
    • Stick-on belly button jewelry is a great alternative to the traditional piercing. It can be used to imitate a pierced belly button and is very popular with pregnant women. Fake piercings will also decrease the likelihood of inflammation and infection. Check out How to Make a Fake Belly Button Piercing.
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    Delay the piercing. It is always the best option to simply delay getting your navel pierced until after you have had your kid, and have actively recovered from the pregnancy. Getting your navel pierced while pregnant can result in infection, disease, and harm to the baby.[12]
    • The navel region is not very muscular, and therefore has very little active blood flow. This means that, even if you were not pregnant, the navel piercing would take a long time to heal. The navel is the longest piercing region to heal, at around nine to twelve months on average.[13][14]
    • The navel region is next to abdominal cavities, making infection even more of an issue. The navel piercing is also one of the only piercings to continuously have to touch your shirt, making infections even more prone to spread.
    • There is the possibility that your naval region treats your piercing as a "foreign object," and therefore not heal properly.
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    Contact your doctor. While there are general risks to a pregnancy navel piercing, your doctor will know the specifics about your past health. If you have been prone to infection before, have a history of disease, or have had problems healing piercings, you might want to wait. Make sure you consult with the doctor before you get the piercing, as he will be able to give you advice before you go in to get the piercing.


  • Do not play with your belly button ring. This can cause irritation and inflammation. If you have a habit of doing so, tell a friend or relative to remind you to stop.
  • Always consult with a medical professional about any potential problems. While there is generally no serious risk of disease, the baby is of most importance. Always heed to your doctor's advice.
  • Take out the piercing occasionally to see how it feels. You might be fine with how it looks/feels, and you can always put it back in later on.


  • Remove your belly button ring and contact your doctor immediately if you notice any signs of infection in your navel, such as pus or liquid oozing from the piercing, itching, reddened skin, inflammation or a foul odor.
  • The piercing facility you go to should be clean and sanitary. If the piercing instruments used are not clean and sterile, they could pass infectious diseases along such as HIV and hepatitis B.
  • Make sure to check labels of over the counter antibiotics. Some medicines are not suitable for pregnant women.

Things You'll Need

  • Moisturizer
  • New rings and/or bars
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Warm and cool water

Article Info

Categories: Pregnancy