Having your ear pierced while pregnant may seem like a simple choice. There is no real threat to having the local super store attendant force an earring through your ear – even infants can have their ears pierced. Pregnant women are often surprised to find out that ear piercing guns are not as safe as they think. Ideally, having your ears pierced during pregnancy would involve a licensed professional body piercer and an autoclave.
Ear Piercing Guns
Ear piercing guns used at local department stores are cleaned with a single alcohol swab after each use, if the attendant remembers to clean the machine at all. The guns use relatively dull earrings that are pushed through the skin with a massive amount of force. The force pushes a small chunk of the ear out through the back. Bleeding does occur and blood can be splashed onto the piercing gun. The Association of Professional Piercers claims ear piercing guns causes damage to ear tissue and put the client in contact with blood and other body fluids from multiple users. Some blood-borne diseases live for days, even after blood had dried on the surface.
Though the Association of Professional Piercers does not support body piercing of any kind (including ear piercing), during pregnancy, there are plenty of body piercers willing to pierce an earlobe or cartilage for a pregnant woman. The paperwork required before your ear piercing may ask if you are currently pregnant. Do not lie on the form just to have your ears pierced. The shop and/or body piercer should have the right to accept or refuse a client based on pregnancy.
All equipment should be sterilized in an autoclave before being used. The ear piercing needle needs to be sealed in a sterile package that is opened in front of you. All gauze, alcohol pads and other first aid supplies need to be in sterile, unopened packages.
Risks of Ear Piercing During Pregnancy
The main risk of piercing any part of the body during pregnancy is infection. The immune system is not as strong during pregnancy, so infections can development with improper ear piercing care. According to the American Pregnancy Association, women should look for a body piercing studio that is clean, sterile and state-registered. Make sure the piercer wears fresh, sterile gloves, uses only sterile equipment and works in a clean, sterile environment. The piercer should also supply detailed cleaning and care instructions and contact information for the first 24 hours after the piercing is inserted. These tips may reduce the risk of infection after you have your ears pierced during pregnancy.