How to Manage Belly Button Rings During Pregnancy

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Belly button piercings can be fun, exciting, and sexy. But if you're pregnant, it might start to feel like a hassle. As your belly stretches, the hole also stretches. That can be painful and carries a risk of infection. Fortunately, it's perfectly safe to keep your piercing through your pregnancy, as long as it's fully healed. If you decide you want to take it out, that's okay too—you'll probably be able to put jewelry back in after your baby's born (and if not, you can just get it pierced again).


[Edit]Protecting Your Piercing

  1. Check that your piercing is completely healed. Try to slide the ring up and down through the piercing. You won't have a problem doing this if your piercing is fully healed. If you feel some resistance, stop. Go to your piercer and see if they'll remove it for you since it isn't completely healed yet.[1]
    Manage Belly Button Rings During Pregnancy Step 1 Version 4.jpg
    • Generally, if you got pierced at least 9 months ago, your piercing is probably healed—but you still want to check.
    • If the piercing never healed, or if the hole becomes red, inflamed, or irritated at any time during your pregnancy, take your jewelry out—you can always get it re-pierced later.[2]
  2. Wear loose-fitting clothing that won't catch on your jewelry. Buy maternity tops or other clothing designed to flow loosely over your belly rather than fitting snugly. When wearing pants or a skirt, make sure the waistband doesn't fall directly over your piercing. It can easily catch on the jewelry.[3]
    Manage Belly Button Rings During Pregnancy Step 2 Version 5.jpg
    • Avoid pantyhose, leotards, and leggings that can snag your jewelry and cause it to rip out. Shirts with buttons down the front can also snag on your jewelry.
    • If your jewelry does happen to snag on clothing and cause the piercing to tear, it's probably best to take it out at that point. If over-the-counter remedies don't work or your piercing becomes infected, your doctor can prescribe an appropriate antibiotic.[4]
  3. Replace metal jewelry if it starts to pull or snag. As your belly grows, keep a close eye on your jewelry. If you have a charm or other decorative elements, they're more likely to snag on your clothing. Metal jewelry might also cut into your skin, especially if you have a thinner gauge. If it starts to feel uncomfortable or gets hung on your clothing, switch it out for something more comfortable and less likely to snag.[5]
    Manage Belly Button Rings During Pregnancy Step 3 Version 4.jpg
    • A simple barbell without any charms or sharp edges is probably your best bet.
  4. Avoid touching or playing with your belly button ring. This is common advice, but it's especially important during pregnancy. Because your skin is more elastic and prone to stretching or tearing, it's easy to hurt yourself by accident. There's also a risk of infection, particularly if your hole has stretched. Unwashed hands can easily introduce bacteria, and you're also more prone to infections while you're pregnant.[6]
    Manage Belly Button Rings During Pregnancy Step 4 Version 4.jpg
    • Sometimes people like to kiss a pregnant belly, but make sure they don't kiss your piercing—germs in the person's saliva could cause an infection.
  5. Clean the piercing area if your hole stretches. Wash your hands with soap and warm water before cleaning the piercing area. Then, use warm water to clean any crusty bits away from the area. Wash the area with mild liquid soap and water, then rinse with warm water and pat dry with a fresh paper towel or a paper napkin.[7]
    Manage Belly Button Rings During Pregnancy Step 5 Version 4.jpg
    • As long as your piercing is healed, you don't really need to follow any special care regimen just because you're pregnant. However, if the hole stretches or tears, it's best to treat it as though it were a new piercing just to be on the safe side.
    • Don't use towels or washcloths, either to wash or dry the piercing site or your hands. They can introduce bacteria.
  6. Keep an eye out for infection. Pregnancy can cause the hole to stretch, which can cause the skin to become red, inflamed, and possibly infected. If you notice any signs of infection, or if the skin around the piercing burns or itches, take the jewelry out.[8]
    Manage Belly Button Rings During Pregnancy Step 6 Version 4.jpg
    • Even if it doesn't become infected, it's also possible that your piercing will become uncomfortable as your belly grows. If that happens, you might feel more comfortable taking it out.[9]

[Edit]Removing Your Jewelry

  1. Get your piercer to remove your jewelry if your piercing hasn't healed. If your jewelry won't move in the hole and doesn't slide out easily, don't force it! Get your piercer to help to avoid injuring your skin.[10]
    Manage Belly Button Rings During Pregnancy Step 7 Version 3.jpg
    • If you're not in contact with your original piercer, any certified and licensed body piercer can do this for you. Just look for reputable piercers locally, then call and let them know what you need.
  2. Disinfect the piercing area before removing your jewelry. Wash your hands with soap and warm water, then wash around the piercing area as well. Avoid touching anything else until you've safely removed the jewelry.[11]
    Manage Belly Button Rings During Pregnancy Step 8 Version 3.jpg
    • If you do end up inadvertently touching something else, like your phone or the counter, simply wash your hands again. You want to make sure you don't introduce any bacteria.
  3. Remove the bead to open the jewelry. Most belly jewelry has a round bead either at the top or the bottom that unscrews. Turn it gently to the left to unscrew it. Go slow—you don't want to drop the bead and lose it, especially if you want to keep the jewelry for later.[12]
    Manage Belly Button Rings During Pregnancy Step 9 Version 3.jpg
  4. Push the jewelry out through the hole. Slowly slide the jewelry out, being careful not to inadvertently poke yourself with the exposed screw on the end. Screw the bead back on the end of the jewelry for safekeeping once you've removed it.[13]
    Manage Belly Button Rings During Pregnancy Step 10 Version 3.jpg
    • If you're having a hard time doing this while standing, it might be easier if you lie down.[14]
  5. Use a plastic bar or tube as a placeholder. Flexible bars made out of PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) are safe and flexible if you want to keep the hole from closing after removing your jewelry. You can typically buy these online or anywhere body jewelry is sold. You might also want to ask your piercer for a recommendation.[15]
    Manage Belly Button Rings During Pregnancy Step 11 Version 3.jpg
    • Some designs allow you to slide the tube over your jewelry before you slide the ring out. That way the placeholder will already be there when you remove your jewelry.[16]
    • There are also specialty maternity barbells that are designed to flex as your belly grows.[17] However, according to the Association of Professional Piercers, these products aren't made with safe materials. If you see something you're interested in, show it to your piercer and ask if it's safe for you to use.[18]
  6. Run a ring through the piercing to keep it from closing. Wash your hands, the jewelry, and the piercing area with soap and warm water. Then, put the jewelry in as though you were going to secure it in place. Instead of closing it, run it in and out of the hole a few times. You might also spin it around, but be careful doing this with curved jewelry—you could inadvertently stretch the hole.[19]
    Manage Belly Button Rings During Pregnancy Step 12 Version 3.jpg
    • This is your best option if you don't like the look or feel of a placeholder for your jewelry but you want to make sure the piercing stays open during your pregnancy. Once your jewelry is removed, your piercing might close—especially if you got it within the last year.



  • Whether you decide to keep your belly button ring in or take it out, talk to your piercer! They can give you more personal suggestions on how to keep the hole from stretching and how to keep it from pulling or tearing (if you kept it in).[20]


  • Don't try to get pierced while pregnant. Changes to your immune system may prevent the piercing from healing and infection could negatively affect your pregnancy.[21]
  • If you want to get your belly button pierced, or if your original piercing closed, wait at least 3 months after you give birth to allow your immune system to return to normal.[22]
  • Even if you decide you want to try to keep your piercing, your doctor might still want you to take it out when it's time to actually give birth.

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