Hormonal changes during pregnancy can effect how the body reacts to certain metals, including those used to make jewelry. The most common metals used to make jewelry include gold, silver, platinum, titanium, tungsten carbide, stainless steel and rhodium. While some women will have no skin change during pregnancy and find they are able to wear rings, earrings and necklaces throughout fetal gestation, others may see changes in skin reaction as early as in the first few weeks of their pregnancy.
Skin reaction to metal is not the only concern during pregnancy. As fluid is retained in the body, fingers can swell. Rings may no longer fit as hands swell, which is a cause for concern if jewelry is not removed before swelling reaches the point where rings cannot be easily removed. Typically swelling becomes a problem in the third trimester, but this is not a steadfast rule for every pregnancy.
Piercing jewelry is another concern during pregnancy. Nipple jewelry can stay in place for the duration of the pregnancy, but after birth women who have nipple piercings may wish to remove jewelry to help the baby latch on the nipple securely. There is also the concern of the baby swallowing a piece of jewelry during breastfeeding if the jewelry is left in place.
Belly button jewelry will need to be removed during pregnancy unless an expandable stud or loop is placed in the hole. Maternity belly button rings are available for use while the abdomen is expanding. The jewelry is made from plastic and stretches as the waist expands. Genital piercings can be left in place during pregnancy, but swelling in the pubic area due to an increase in blood flow may cause irritation. Genital jewelry will need to be removed before birth.
Whether or not a pregnant women decides to wear jewelry during their pregnancy, if a C-section or other form of medical intervention is needed during pregnancy or birth, all jewelry may need to be removed. This includes traditional earrings and rings as well as alternative piercings like tongue studs, nipple rings and belly button piercings.