Remove the ring or not?
August 23, 2006 7:03 AM   Subscribe

I'm about to give birth (due in 5 days) and I'm uncertain as to if I should remove my clitoral hood piercing beforehand.

I have a small (5/8" diameter, maybe), horizontal, captive ball ring clitoral hood piercing. Will it pose any potential problems during delivery? Should I have it removed? If so, how long should I wait before putting it back in?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
you have asked your doctor, right? if they said it was OK it's just a matter of personal comfort levels with the idea of a newborns first question in our world being, "the hell was that?"
posted by trinarian at 7:16 AM on August 23, 2006

I studied midwifery for a few years and I've been to about 60 births. If you're not concerned about the hole closing up, I'd recommend taking it out now. If you are, and if you're comortable with your midwife or doctor, I'd suggest you ask her or him to remove it when you start labor.

The piercing is unlikely to cause problems, but I've seen tears in all parts of the vagina and labia from vaginal deliveries. Very occassionally, a woman tears on the hood of her clitoris. I think having a piercing there could make a tear more likely because the tissue could pull against the ring.

Sorry if there's misspellings etc in this - my four year old is bouncing around on lap asking me how to type!
posted by serazin at 7:23 AM on August 23, 2006

I would if I were you if only to cover all options. No matter how easily the pregancy has gone, there is no guarantee the delivery will not have to be converted into something you hadn't planned on, like an instrumental delivery or an emergency C-section.
I just would be nervous about something metallic with some of the equiment they use, and if such a thing happens the last thing anyone will be thinking of is a check-list of the things that have to be removed!

There's no reason why you can't put it back in immediately after delivery, although again there may be some swelling of the tissues so I would wait 2 days. IANAD or a midwife but work with lots of them and this is a personal opinion.

I wish you an easy and uncomplicated delivery
posted by Wilder at 7:26 AM on August 23, 2006

In addition to your doctor, you should check with your piercer. If they've been around for a while, they've undoubtably run across women in similar situations [possibly more than your doctor has], and they may have advice. They may suggest that you take it out [and give you advice regarding how to reinserting the ring afterwards]; if you leave it in, they may suggest something like replacing the captive bead ring with a barbell made out of a more flexible plastic.
posted by ubersturm at 7:36 AM on August 23, 2006

My daughter was born at home 9 months ago. I was there the whole time, and assisted with the birth.

You'd be amazed how far the entire region (cervix/canal/vulva) stretches. I think not having a piece of metal pierced through any of the surrounding tissue would probably be a wise idea.

A better question would be... what is the purpose of leaving it in?
posted by JFitzpatrick at 7:37 AM on August 23, 2006

It will probably be OK, but there is a slight risk of injury as noted above. More likely, however, is that the nurses will follow their training and tell you you have to take it out. This issue is encountered not infrequently in the OR and that is the standard response. The main reason is that jewelry can cause burns if electrocautery/electrosurgery is used during surgery; in your case the most likely scenario would be if an unplanned c-section was done or if you suffered a laceration that required more than simple suturing to repair. Both of those scenarios are unlikely but far from unheard of. More info on body jewelry from a medical perspective as it relates to the OR (and by extension to the delivery room) is here and a particularly tolerant medical view of piercings is here.
posted by TedW at 7:47 AM on August 23, 2006

Having watched my wife give birth recently, I'm thinking you're going to want to take that out. Everything is getting stretched way beyond whatever you thought was possible. I imagine what is now a tiny hole could end up the size of a basket hoop.
posted by trbrts at 8:02 AM on August 23, 2006

from the bme qod:

I have had a 12g inner labia piercing for 2 weeks now, and i am due to give birth in 3 weeks. Do you think i will be able to remove the piercing for the duration of the birth without it closing up? Or is it safe to leave it in? It was placed really high, even though i know it was probably really stupid to get any mod while pregnant... thanks in advance

You should most definitely remove the jewellery for the birth (and won't be able to safely wear a retainer, either) - your whole vaginal area is going to undergo a ton of stretching and strain when you give birth, and there's no way leaving an inner labia piercing in would be a good idea, if your doctor/midwife would even let you do it (which they probably won't). You may be able to gently re-insert the jewellery, but in all probability you will lose the piercing. Your piercer would have known this, too, it wasn't terribly ethical of them to be doing a genital (or indeed, any kind) of piercing on a pregnant woman - clearly they were just into the money. Well, now you know who NOT to go back to when you want to get it redone, eh? :)

I've been considering getting a hood piercing (my husband will be out of state for six weeks, I figure it's the perfect time to heal something). But we're also planning on having our next child in the next year. Is it possible to keep a hood piercing in during pregnancy and labor, or is it just one of those things where if it starts to hurt, then you take it out? Thanks for any input on this!

You should be well and truly fine to leave it in throughout the duration of your pregnancy, you'll probably want to remove it for labour though - there's a lot fo stretching going on down there during delivery! If you've had it over a year at that point, I can't see why you (or your husband) wouldn't be able to easily slip the jewellery back in after you give birth. Hood piercings tend to stay pretty open once they're well healed.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 8:12 AM on August 23, 2006

I don't have any expertise other than my own experience giving birth (I'm not pierced anywhere other than my ears). I would personally prefer to remove it.

Everything gets _ridiculously_ stretched, there could be metal instruments inserted into your vagina, and tissue tearing/cutting is common (somewhat less so if you're using a midwife, but certainly not unheard of). Afterwards, even if you have an uncomplicated vaginal delivery like I did, your entire vulva region will be VERY swollen and tender for a few days. Nurses doctors etc will be rolling you over to look at the healing in this area several times a day.

If it were me, I would feel more comfortable removing it once I was in labour and leaving it out for a few days until the swelling goes down and the intrusive examinations were over. YMMV.
posted by raedyn at 8:24 AM on August 23, 2006

All these stretching descriptions leave me wondering once more why any woman gives birth, ever...

but yes. Take it OUT.
posted by agregoli at 8:31 AM on August 23, 2006

I work in surgery, and we definately want them out prior to surgery. As stated above, because of the electrocautery and we don't want you to get a nasty burn. (Yes, they still can happen in this day and age).
posted by 6:1 at 8:31 AM on August 23, 2006

Definitely take it out. No matter how well the piercing's healed, the ring can (and probably will) tear out while you're pushing.
posted by jesourie at 11:40 AM on August 23, 2006

Another vote for yes, take it out. Not only in case of tears but also because with the stretching that will occur, your pleasurable piece of jewelry could turn into something that just hurts, and who needs extra discomfort when they're birthing? Answer: no one!

As a plus, if you can't quite reach to get it out easily yourself, you could get your husband to do it for you as a precursor to some enjoyable, cervix-ripening, labor-inducing sex!
posted by Dreama at 2:33 PM on August 23, 2006

I think this is a case where the possible harm (albeit remote) far outweighs the inconvenience of removing the piercing. Another vote for takin' it out.
posted by Not in my backyard at 3:13 PM on August 23, 2006

Forget about the stretching. Think about it this way:
Do you want anything to accidentally get caught on it in the process, especially during a contraction? No? Take it out.
posted by plinth at 6:20 AM on August 24, 2006

I took mine out during pregnancy, and I'm glad I did. I didn't tear that badly, but I did spend two days with ice in my skivvies afterwards (in January, no less) and I did not need a piece of ice-cold metal down there.
posted by Ruki at 6:50 PM on August 25, 2006

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