Ever wondered how that body mod you got all those years ago might impact your pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding?
From botox to boob jobs, tattoos to piercings (and more) there’s lots to know about body mods once you’re expecting.
Body modification and minor cosmetic procedures are no longer a thing of sub culture. Tattoos, piercings, breast implants and Botox are now common examples of ways women are changing their appearance. But how do these decisions impact our baby-making journey?
At Mum Central we’re totally non-judgemental. If you love it and it makes you feel good, that’s all we need to know.That said it’s always good to know the facts. So, here’s what you need to know about popular body mods, your body and baby.
Breast Implants & Breastfeeding
Women with breast implants can successfully breastfeed however there can be variables that impact this. According to the ABIA breast reduction surgery is more likely to cause milk supply problems than breast augmentation. Other factors impacting feeding include:
- If the nipple was moved to a new position during the surgery
- Possible disruption of the nerve supply to the nipple and areola during surgery
Sydney Plastic & Cosmetic surgeon Dr Gavin Sandercoe told us, ‘There is no evidence that breast implants impact on a mother’s ability to breastfeed. It is more common for women with implants to choose not to try to breastfeed. It makes sense that implants under the muscle will have less impact on the nerves in the breast, so are probably a better choice for women that might want to breast feed in the future…’
Botox and fillers during pregnancy and breastfeeding
There are currently no documented studies investigating if Botox and/or fillers are safe during pregnancy.
Existing, Botox or fillers (that were administered prior to pregnancy) are completely safe and do not pose any concern to mum or baby. Experts suggest that until there is more concrete evidence, you should not have any further injectables while pregnant and until the cessation of breastfeeding.
Can you breastfeed with a nipple piercing?
Investigation shows there are no hard and fast rules on nipple piercing and pregnancy. Most doctors encourage the removal of the jewellery. Many Mum Central readers told us they voluntarily removed them as their nipples were overly sensitive.
When it comes to breastfeeding a pierced nipple can still successfully breastfeed. Lactation consultants urge the removal of the jewellery when feeding for both easier attachment and reduced choking hazard risk to baby.
If you’re contemplating a piercing and want to breastfeed horizontal piercings are noted as ‘better suited for breastfeeding’ according to Elisabeth Speller, an Australian lactation consultant. It’s recommended that women do not get a nipple piercing ideally any closer than 12 months prior to conception. With a 3-6 month healing period post piercing there is a potential infection risk that is best avoided for the health of mum and foetus.
It is universally agreed by all piercers (via LLLI) that nipple piercing while pregnant is a definite no-no.
I’m pregnant, what about my belly button ring?
Most doctors recommend the removal of a belly piercing on confirmation of your pregnancy. It is however actually common for a pierced naval to expel its own jewellery when the belly button begins to pop out in the later stages of pregnancy.
If you’re still committed to maintaining your belly piercing during pregnancy you can swap to a maternity piercing. This piece is designed to move and expand with your belly. It’s also worthwhile noting if you end up having a C-section you will be required to remove all jewellery before entering surgery anyway – belly ring included!
Clitoral piercings from conception to birth and beyond
When first pierced, a clitoral piercing takes a short time to heal. In the period prior it is an open wound and increases your susceptibility to sexually transmitted diseases. Whilst this risk is not directly related to conception, carrying an STD can impact fertility, conception and birth.
Most healthcare professionals recommend the removal of a clitoral piercing during pregnancy however this is entirely up to the mother.
According to Piercing Bible: The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing, ‘It is prudent to remove all metal jewellery from genital piercings prior to childbirth to avoid the possibility of tearing the piercing or causing trauma to the baby during birth…’
Piercings can be reinserted after birth being mindful of the risks of infection post partum.
Can I get a tattoo during pregnancy?
The lack of research on tattooing whilst pregnancy means that this is currently a general no-go. Whilst uncommon, tattooing does pose a risk of infection including HIV and Hep B. These diseases can be passed to a foetus. There is also a lack of knowledge regarding tattoo dyes and inks and how they might affect a developing baby.
On a cosmetic level a woman’s skin changes dramatically during pregnancy. Any body art done while expecting could actually look seriously different post baby. In short, it’s better to leave getting baby’s name inked until after delivery (and heck you could change your mind anyway!)
If you have concerns about how your body mods might impact a current or future pregnancy please see your medical professional for up-to-date information.