by Pregnancy.org Staff
There are many reasons why people get tattoos and piercings. Some common ones are:
"I think as long as they are tactful they are art." ~~Carrie
"To remind me where I have been and that I don't want to return to that point." -Bruce
"I had my tongue pierced way back when and as soon as it became mainstream I took mine out, and now I have my tragus pierced, when it becomes popular, out it will come." -Dawn
"They are a way to express your individuality. Celtic knots look really neat, and a tattooed ankle won't hook on stuff." -Julie
"For the most part I got mine for freedom but yes, rebellion, too." -Carrie
Sometimes people regret getting tattoos and piercings.
"I got my first tat when I was 18. I think I got it because I could. I got the second 2 weeks later, and thought it was cool. I hate them both now and I will be having them lasered off. I am actually taking my son with me to show him what I have to go through to get rid of a stupid mistake." -Teresa
"I had a belly ring when I got pregnant with my son, took it out the night I found out. I was pretty stressed about being pregnant and figured now is better than later with taking it out. Got it done again after he was born, guy did it off center, took it out again, and then got it done again through scar tissue -- OUCHY! Took it out over a year ago because of gallbladder surgery and never put it back in." -Jessica
A common concern is if you should remove your navel piercing if you are pregnant. You shouldn't need to remove it although you might want to consider seeing a professional piercer and changing it to a flexible bar (a PTFE bar). Your ring will be tight as your skin stretches, which will irritate the piercing and cause it to heal out due to the pressure. The soft flexible bar will prevent this from happening. How long you have had your piercing and how big your belly gets also has an effect. As a guideline, if the area around your piercing changes color and is a darker red than normal, change it to a flexible bar. It is not painful to change it.
Tongue or Genital Piercings
Rings that are not large in diameter are good choices to wear as your baby should be able to deliver past your piercings without affecting the delivery. A bar in the clitoris or hood can be uncomfortable if it becomes entangled during delivery. Talk to your doctor or midwife if you are concerned about the size and affect your piercings might have during delivery.
If you are having a cesarean section, you should not need to remove your piercings as they can be taped. The only exception is a tongue piercing. A tongue bar might cause problems for the anesthetist if it becomes necessary to put a tube down your throat. It would be advisable to wear a flexible bar although some anesthetists might ask you to remove your tongue piercing.
"Have my tongue pierced, over 3 years. I was supposed to take it out during labor and delivery but I kind of forgot to. Luckily I didn't have any problems." -Jesse and Jessica
A pregnancy will affect your tattoo in different ways, depending on the placement. If your tattoo is near the stomach area, not only can it stretch, but there is no guarantee that it will go back to its original shape after the birth of your baby. Tattoos are definitely affected by stretch marks. Chances are if your mother or grandmother had stretch marks, you will too.
"When I was 18, I got a four-leaf clover on my pelvis. About three years later, I became pregnant and noticed that I now had a six-leaf clover. The clovers have all stretched and it looks like one green blob. I can't wait to have it removed." -Teresa