Healing A Navel Piercing During Pregnancy

I received a message from a woman who had questions about navel piercing and pregnancy:

Hi! I've just gotten my belly pierced 2 days ago. Now I'm worried that it'll leave a scar because this morning I was positive that I'm pregnant. Should I take it off now? Because I googled and it appears to me that the belly button looks ugly when pregnant and the scar looks bad. What should I do?

My response:

Hi there,

Yes, if you're pregnant the jewelry should be removed and the piercing abandoned ASAP. 

This is a section about "retiring" a piercing from my book, The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing:

Retiring a Piercing

Retiring a piercing is permanently removing your jewelry and abandoning the hole. Though body piercing has the potential to be a lifelong adornment, there is no doubt that a piercing—especially one that hasn’t been stretched too fast or large—is easier to be rid of than most other body modifications.

It is best to retire your piercing when it is in good health. A notable exception is when you have a rejecting piercing in which the jewelry has migrated too close to the surface. The main risk of removing jewelry is the potential to trap an infection inside. If there is any purulent drainage (pus), pain, inflammation, or suspected infection, do not abandon your piercing. See “Leave Jewelry In!” page 202, and subsequent sections for more information.

If your piercing is fine but you have decided the time has come to get rid of it, simply wash your hands and the area, open your jewelry, and remove it. A little bit of water-based lubricant such as K-Y Jelly can help to make the transition smooth. Wash the area daily when you bathe. Abandoning a piercing is that simple.

Here's another section that is relevant to your issue about healing a piercing during pregnancy:

Your body is already occupied with a momentous and complex task: creating and nurturing your baby. Getting pierced during pregnancy also exposes your unborn child to unnecessary risks of infection (particularly because of changes to your immune system when you are pregnant), allergic reaction, bloodborne disease, and medication used to treat complications.

If you anticipate becoming pregnant in the next year or so, postpone getting a piercing with an extended healing time, especially the navel. Even if your navel piercing is almost healed, as your abdomen grows and the area changes, further healing of this area cannot take place. If you have a fresh or unhealed piercing, remove your jewelry once it is confirmed that you are expecting. Bolster your system to contend with your pregnancy instead of depleting it by trying to heal a piercing.