(W)ringing my hands
August 14, 2013 5:49 PM   Subscribe

Should I get my rings removed now, before I give birth, or hope I won't need them removed at all? Fun details after the break.

I'm pregnant and due in a couple days (this Sunday the 18th). Like many other lucky pregnant ladies in the summer and all seasons, I have had some fun swelling including some in my hands. My previous comfortable rings are now resisting all my efforts to remove them. They aren't tight and my circulation is fine on my finger - they rotate and aren't painful - but they won't come off. I was able to remove them about 1.5 months ago when I got them cleaned, but haven't had luck since.

I have tried all the tricks - elevating my hand, icing my hand, the floss trick, dish soap, etc etc, all to no avail. Persisting to remove the rings just serves to annoy my finger and it makes it more swollen.

Though I had read that I would have to remove my jewelry before delivery, my midwife said it wasn't required or anything - but she was concerned about me keeping them on, since it's possible to experience MORE swelling after delivery, given the excess level of fluids making their way around. And of course, if I had to have an emergency or unplanned c-section, the rings would definitely have to be cut off and probably not in the most careful way.

I can go to the jewelers and have them remove my rings, removing the worries about post-delivery swelling or any issues in case of a c-section. But I'm hesitant to do that just because I don't like the idea of cutting into my rings (I'm very fond of them for obvious reasons) and what if it's all pointless anyway and I'm fine leaving them on during delivery?

Anecdotes, warnings, and success stories all welcome. I'm willing to keep trying to remove them myself even though it's been an exercise in frustration, especially if there's some foolproof method I haven't found in my search.
posted by fantine to Health & Fitness (18 answers total)
I've gained massive amounts of weight when pregnant (massive - 60+ pounds). I've also had c-sections. I was even puffier post-partum. I left my rings on throughout, and took them off for cleaning a year after giving birth, when I'd finally lost enough weight to do it. YMMV. Good luck and congratulations!
posted by heigh-hothederryo at 6:02 PM on August 14, 2013

I didn't get swollen at all while pregnant with my first kid, until they induced me. I got all ridiculously puffy. Sausage fingers and teddy bear ankles. It lasted a week after I had the baby. It didn't happen with my other two kids, so who knows. I'd have been in trouble if I'd have had my rings on.
A person at a jewelry store told me to squirt Windex on my finger to help get the ring off.
posted by artychoke at 6:06 PM on August 14, 2013

If they cut off your rings for emergency surgery, they aren't going to have a jeweler come in and do it.

The jeweler will have a much easier time making a small repair on the rings if they have been cut off by a jeweler who knows how to cut them off with the least deformation and damage to the rings. Go to a store with people in house who repair jewelry, don't have a salesperson at a storefront do it.

Unless the bands are elaborately carved or something like that, after you get the ring repaired you'll have trouble telling the difference.
posted by yohko at 6:12 PM on August 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

I can see the arguments for having them removed, but personally, I'd leave my rings on, especially since they aren't uncomfortable now. If something went really wrong and they began cutting off circulation, they could always be removed at that point (it's pretty simple to do). Why damage them if you don't have to?
posted by catatethebird at 6:17 PM on August 14, 2013

the Mrs. had to have a jeweler cut her offs. 500 bucks later, they were fixed post-kid.
posted by jpe at 6:18 PM on August 14, 2013

I've given birth twice, once by c-section (emergency) and once vaginally. My rings were not removed, forcibly or otherwise, for either one.
posted by cooker girl at 6:29 PM on August 14, 2013

I had to get mine cut off, because it was so painful. If you have pitocin, the amount of swelling the next day is crazy.
posted by Malla at 6:40 PM on August 14, 2013

I was in a boating accident that smashed my ring onto my finger. The ring was not cutting off the circulation in the finger, but due to the mass deformity, it would not slip over the knuckle. The emergency room had a ring cutting tool similar to this one. The doctor slipped the sickle shaped part between my finger and the band of the ring. He than slowly turned the cutting wheel slicing through the band. To have the ring re-soldered and reshaped was about $25.00.

I would leave the rings on unless they start to compromise the circulation in your finger. Most hospital have this tool in their emergency room.

Reviewer quote: I work in a Rural Access Hospital in the ER, so I know how fast one can go through these blades. Both products are fine. In fact i have used these types of ring cutters for over 35 years, and I prefer this type above all others.
posted by JujuB at 7:02 PM on August 14, 2013

I started swelling a few weeks before I had my daughter and after delivery (emergency c section) I swear I peed out 10lbs of fluid, it was ridiculous and awesome and my rings fit again by the end of the day. My nurse said it was pretty common, so there's some more anecdata for you.
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 4:16 AM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Part of the reason your rings won't come off may be due to your joints expanding, not just retaining fluid. That should go right back to normal soon after you deliver, but it might not: one friend of mine was not able to put her rings on again long after her pregnancy was over and needed to get them resized.

So, you might keep them on, with the risk of an emergency cut-off, and still need to have them cut off later.
posted by orange (sherbet) rabbit at 4:34 AM on August 15, 2013

Thanks for all the input so far - now I have more data points to consider.

I'm a little concerned at the possible cost though of getting the rings re-made if they are cut off (either in advance or in an emergency). JujuB has quoted $25 and jpe has quoted $500 - that is QUITE a delta in cost! FWIW, both bands are plain in the back (white gold) not carved or anything. I can't imagine it costing $500 to fix but I'm not a jewelry expert.
posted by fantine at 5:41 AM on August 15, 2013

I would be surprised if a (good) jeweler charged you for cutting off the rings. I needed a ring resized up once, narrow plain gold band, and it was $92 for labor + extra gold. So labor alone should be less.
posted by orange (sherbet) rabbit at 6:29 AM on August 15, 2013

Hmm, my post seems to have disappeared into the ether...the gist is, emergency room docs are going to do pretty much exactly what a jeweler would do, so I would not damage my rings for no reason. If they have to come off, the doctors won't have a problem doing it, and hopefully, they'll stay on.
posted by catatethebird at 6:29 AM on August 15, 2013

Have you talked to your OB about this? I would at least want confirmation that they have the ring cutting tool in your particular hospital's L&D ward. In an emergency situation I wouldn't want to have to wait for someone to run down to the ER on another floor in order to get the proper tool.
posted by vignettist at 2:42 PM on August 15, 2013

Yes, I spoke to my midwife about it (as I mentioned in the question). And I'm delivering at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, which delivers an insane number of babies every year so I'm sure they are prepared for all possibilities.
posted by fantine at 3:07 PM on August 15, 2013

I never removed my rings when I was pregnant. Even after getting fussed at by a young nurse.
If it were me I would just leave them on, and if they are really problematic afterward you can take care of it then.

As a matter of fact I can't remove my wedding ring now, (because, weight gain over the years) but the finger just got used to it there and it doesn't bother my circulation any.

That said, do whatever causes YOU the least stress. I am not you, and if this is weighing on your mind, do whatever will cause YOU to relax about it.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:40 PM on August 15, 2013

Update: I had my baby! I decided to not preemptively get my rings removed since it didn't seem worth the risk and potential expense. No one made me remove them at the hospital. During labor one nurse asked if I could get them off, I told her they wouldn't come off, and she dropped it. When I was prepped for an unplanned c-section, another nurse asked if I could remove them but then didn't push the issue. So all is well for my beautiful rings and my beautiful baby!
posted by fantine at 2:58 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by JujuB at 10:04 PM on September 4, 2013

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