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Belly Piercing Closeup
By Meghan O'Neal 03/10/2020

The official start of spring is only a few short weeks away, which means that it’s time to start dusting off your summer dresses, crop tops, and sandals and finally show some skin again.

As you get ready to show off your summer body, you might start thinking about getting body piercings to complement your sunshine glow: namely, belly piercings.

Popularized by some of our favorite pop stars of the ‘90s, belly rings have made a strong return into mainstream fashion. If you’re thinking about joining the thousands who have opted for this cute and sexy look, you probably have some questions.

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about belly button piercings.

Do belly piercings hurt?

The truth is that you’ll feel some pain no matter what type of piercing you get; you’re receiving a hole in your body, after all. The level of pain you feel will largely depend on your personal pain tolerance as well as the expertise of the piercer conducting the piercing.

Generally, belly piercings fall lower on the pain scale than other piercing types. Most who have gotten their navels pierced reported a slight pinch as the needle went through the skin. After you get the piercing, you might feel some throbbing and discomfort from swelling the next day or two, but it shouldn’t be worse than that.

If you’re nervous about getting pierced, you can prepare by taking a mild painkiller (but stay away from blood thinners), taking deep breaths to relax, and finding an experienced piercer who will guide you through the process and complete the piercing quickly.

Are belly piercings dangerous?

While there is a lot of fear surrounding piercings, the piercing procedure is fairly low risk. While it’s possible to get an infection, even mild infections are rare, especially if you find a reputable piercer and conduct proper aftercare practices.

All piercings have a chance of developing piercing bumps, skin irritation, or other minor complications. Luckily, many of these go away on their own and won’t develop if you’re caring for your new piercing properly.

Woman looks worried

You might be nervous to get a piercing, but they’re generally low risk.

Since belly piercings are surface piercings, they do run a higher risk of being rejected. Because of this, you need to watch for signs of rejection—the jewelry migrates, the skin around the piercing holes becomes red and flaky, the skin above the jewelry feels thinner—and talk to your piercer about options. Most of the time, you need to take the jewelry out, let the piercing heal, and try again later. 

Should I get my belly button pierced if I’m chubby?

Why not? Body piercings are body positive, and we believe that you should be confident in yourself and your body, no matter your size. 

However, as your belly piercing is healing, you do need to make sure that it isn’t squished by flaps of skin. Healing piercings shouldn’t have unnecessary pressure put on them, and they need to be exposed to air, otherwise, you run the risk of breeding bacteria, especially if it’s a little sweaty. Just be aware, and make sure that you maintain good posture, refrain from wearing control shorts or tops, and that your piercing is given the best opportunity to heal well. 

Can I swim with a belly piercing?

You must stay away standing water with any healing piercing, including swimming in pools, lakes, or rivers, or even taking baths. Dampness impedes healing, so you should be taking showers only and making sure to fully dry your healing piercing afterward.

Woman in Ocean with Belly Piercing

You must wait until your navel piercing is fully healed before you can swim.

Belly piercings take between 6 – 9 months to heal, and before you partake in any water activities, you should have a piercer take a look to make sure that you’re fully healed; often a piercing will appear healed on the outside but still have a few weeks to go. If you’re planning a beach vacation this summer, it might be a good idea to wait until fall to get your belly pierced. Then, it will be all healed and ready to reveal next year.

Can I gain or lose weight with a belly piercing?

The short answer is yes.

The long answer is a little more complicated. Drastic weight gain or loss over a short period of time can cause your belly piercing to be rejected, even if it’s years old. If you are gaining or losing weight, or if you’re pregnant, keep an eye on your belly piercing, and if you start to see signs of rejection, talk to your piercer. You might have to take it out and let it heal to avoid scarring.

Can I have a belly piercing when I’m pregnant?

If you already have a belly piercing and you get pregnant, there’s no reason why you’ll need to take it out, unless you start seeing signs of rejection (see above). However, many women are able to keep their belly piercing for the duration of their pregnancy with no issues.

Pregnant woman doing yoga

As long as you keep an eye out for jewelry rejection, there’s no reason why you can’t wear your belly ring for the duration of your pregnancy.

The only time that you might be asked to take your belly piercing out is if you require a c-section during labor. Otherwise, there’s a good chance that you won’t have to remove it.

What’s the best jewelry for a belly piercing?

Belly button piercings may be more versatile than you think.

There are the standard belly button rings that look similar to a curved barbell, but the ball on one end is usually larger than the ball on the other. You can also get belly rings that have different charms or gemstones at each end.

Dangle or reverse dangle belly rings are also quite popular. As the name implies, these are a little more extravagant than the standard belly ring and feature a fun dangle that hangs either below the belly button (in dangle belly rings) or from the top of the belly button (in reverse dangle rings).

You can also wear jewelry like curved barbells, hoops, circular barbells, and twisted barbells. These are less common, but they look super cute; they’re a great option for those who want something a little more unique. 

We love belly piercings, especially in the spring and summertime. But, we understand that getting a new piercing can be a big decision. Do your research, conduct proper aftercare, and make sure that you care for your belly piercing for the duration of its life, and there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy this adorable style for years to come.

Meghan O'Neal

One Reply to “All About Belly Rings: Navel Piercing Frequently Asked Questions”

Autumn Lynn, 28 Apr 2021

I would like to comment that I had a belly button piercing done when I was 18 years old. It hurt BAD immediately pain was probably a 7 and it was throbbing ridiculously for like 3 days. I couldn’t sleep that night and it was bleeding. I was very slack about taking care of it and it got bumped and infected often so I eventually took it out (probably not even a year after having it done). NOW 4 years later at 23, I just went yesterday to get it redone and ohhhh boy was it a different experience!! Holy moly I barely felt the piercing and I really would say the pain level was literally a 1- I felt the clamps more than the needle and when I stood up to leave I literally didn’t feel anything! I was able to sleep so well last night I almost forgot I had it! Today (day after) I am seeing no blood, swelling, and no pain! I can not believe how incredibly different this go around was especially considering I had a good amount of scarring from my previous experience and I heard that most have more pain from previous scar tissue! All that to say I wish I would have gotten it redone sooner but maybe it was all meant to be since I am more mature and responsible now vs. before so I can take after care much more seriously!

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