Business Week
Maternity Gear With a Difference
Stacy Perman

Denée Forbes' special navel piercings for pregnant women are often the end of a long search for mothers-to-be attached to their body jewelry

When Denée Forbes became pregnant three years ago, she had the usual concerns: Morning sickness, finding the right name, and the baby's health. More urgently, however, she wanted to know whether she could keep her belly-button piercing during her entire pregnancy.

The dilemma: If she left it in, she ran the painful risk of having the inflexible metal barbell cut through her skin as her belly grew. If she took it out, she might end up with scar tissue that would make repiercing difficult following her baby's birth. But, Forbes says, she was unwilling to bid farewell to her piercing.

GESTATING AN IDEA. In search of a solution, Forbes, an administrative assistant in Rochester , N.Y, visited every maternity shop, piercing store, and Web site she could find. "There was nothing out there," she says. "I searched different places and tried to make it work for me. There were some funny ideas like buying string, and there were plastic navel rings, but they're short and hard and don't last through pregnancy."
So Forbes took matters into her own hands. Through her online research, she eventually learned of a flexible, medical-grade tubing generally used in open heart surgery for blood drainage. It is nontoxic, biocompatible, and nonmetal. The tubing already had other cosmetic applications -- in under-the-skin piercings, for people who want raised circles and other shapes just beneath the surface.

Using the pliable cylinder with two end-balls to cap the openings, Forbes custom-made a piercing for herself and found it the perfect solution. "It had worked out great, and I told everybody I knew about it," Forbes says. She figured she was probably not the only mother-to-be with a pierced navel. So her pregnancy, it turns out, was also the gestation of a business idea.

INTERNATIONAL CLIENTELE. About a year after delivering her daughter, Lydia , Forbes started selling a few pieces of the 14-gauge, 2-inch barbells for $12.95 apiece on eBay. "I wanted to see what would happen," she says. The minute they hit eBay, they were snatched up. "Every month I was doubling my sales," she says. "At first it was one a week, then four, and then 10. I figured that if I was selling like this, I should probably start my own Web site," she says.

In 2003, she formally launched Pregnancy Piercings. The piercings, which can be cut to size, now cost $15.99 and come in nine different colors, including blue and pink to signify whether the wearer is having a boy or a girl. Forbes says she sells hundreds a month now.

Customers come from all over, including Japan , Taiwan , Sweden , Britain , and the Netherlands . "My clients are ecstatic," she says. "Like me, they had searched everywhere and couldn't find anything."

Democrat & Chronicle
Piercings now look swell with baby on board
Robin L. Flanigan - Staff Writer

As her belly swelled, a pregnant Denee Forbes went to every body-piercing and maternity shop she could find to ask what she could do about her navel ring.

"It pretty much starts cutting through your skin," the 26-year-old says of the impliable metal jewelry. "Some people do make it through the ninth month if they don't get big, but they're usually bleeding and in a ton of pain."

Turning to the Internet, she found a flexible material to use instead - and a home-based business was born. She sells 14-guage, 2-inch barbells that can be cut to size. They come in nine colors and cost $16 each. Forbes, a part-time administrative assistant and mother of now-2-year-old Lydia, runs Pregnancy Piercings out of her Rochester home, selling on eBay and at

Orders have come from around the world, including Japan , Taiwan and Australia . One woman has inquired about a shipment for her shop in Sweden. Michelle Rooksby of Greece, in her seventh month of pregnancy, stumbled upon the maternity barbells online two months ago. She had to be pierced again after her last pregnancy - the metal ring got the boot as soon as she found out she was expecting - and wanted to avoid being punctured a third time.

"I cut it down a little so it fit better, but I kept it long to be on the safe side," says Rooksby, 36, who received instructions with her barbell, sanitized and mailed in a sterilized pouch. "I still have two months to go. It's really flexible, so I just tape it down with Band-aids. It's awesome."

Forbes wants to help women keep their piercings open without resorting to the do-it-yourself methods she once tried. "I took a piece of string and tied it together like a ring," she recounts. "It didn't look professional, and people looked at me funny."
A Mother Of Invention Gives Birth To Thriving Business

Like countless other women the world over, Denee Forbes has her belly button pierced.

But when Denee became pregnant three years ago, she wasn't sure whether she could keep her piercing as her bump grew. More surprisingly, her visits to maternity shops, piercing shops and related websites told her that nobody else seemed to know either.

She was offered plastic rings and told to use string to prevent the piercing from closing when she removed her inflexible metal barbell piercing, but neither was a satisfactory solution. And if she simply removed it she ran the risk of having scar tissue that could make piercing painful at a later date.

One thing was for sure. At 20 weeks, she knew she couldn't keep her stainless steel navel jewellery. But during her quest to find a solution, she came across a flexible tubing that had been developed for use in open heart surgery that was non-toxic. In fact it was the same material used by body artists who want raised circles and other shapes just beneath the surface of their skin.

So with this pliable tubing and two end balls to cap the openings, Denee made herself a piercing that lasted her entire pregnancy. And it gave her an idea for a business that today is Pregnancy Piercings .

Denee was able to launch her business without borrowing by selling her navel barbells for pregnant women on the auction website Ebay . "Ebay is a great way to start a business," the 26 year old from Rochester, New York, told . "Even a 'crazy' idea like Pregnancy Piercings got noticed there. I started out selling one a week just to see if anyone else might want to keep their navel ring through pregnancy, like me!"

Denee launched a website in 2003 to reach a wider market. Pregnancy piercings sell at US$15.99 each in a range of colours - including pink and blue for those who know what sex their baby will be.

A number of shops are also starting to stock her piercing barbells and they are now available in the UK too courtesy of Bumptastic .

"My sales are in the hundreds now and keep doubling every month," says Denee who quit her day job earlier this month to concentrate on her business success and hopefully inspire other women to follow in her business footsteps.

"My plan for the future is to help other Moms who quit their day jobs to stay at home with their little ones," said Denee whose daughterLydia is now two. "Women are great multi-taskers and there are so many things in business that can be done from home these days."

Belly Piercings Latest Option For Expectant Moms
Misty Harris

They say necessity is the mother of invention. But in the case of Denee Forbes, being a mother created the necessity for her invention in the first place.

Forbes is the 27-year-old Rochester, N.Y., founder of Pregnancy Piercings, a line of expanding navel rings that allows hip moms-to-be to bare their belly bling right through the ninth month. Experts say the abdominal adornments are the latest way young women are challenging their parents' model of how expectant mothers should look and behave.

"The world is changing and this is meeting the needs of the next generation," says Forbes, who counts women from Canada , the U.S. , Asia and Europe as clients. "We're not all, you know, matronly mothers who wear muumuus."

Prior to having her first child, Forbes was plagued with skin infections that forced her to re-pierce her belly button three times. So when she got pregnant at 24, the last thing she wanted was to get another scar from removing her navel ring.

Leaving it in, however, meant risking the inflexible metal barbell cutting through her skin as her belly grew - the main reason doctors warn against piercings during pregnancy.

"I was determined to keep it in." recalls Forbes. "When you're pregnant, you feel unattractive, you're getting fat, and having to remove your piercing makes you feel even worse."

After coming up empty-handed at maternity and piercing stores, Forbes realized she would have to create her own solution to the problem. By pairing biocompatible medical-grade tubing commonly used for blood drainage in open-heart surgery with two end-balls to cap the openings, she successfully designed a navel ring that changes shape as a woman's stomach expands.

A year later, was born.

"When I first started, I was selling maybe one or two a week," says Forbes. "Now it's like hundreds a month. And every month, it seems sales have doubled in growth."

According to a senior consumer analyst at Iconoculture, a Minnesota-based trend research firm, the cult demand for pregnancy piercings is part of a larger cultural shift.

"The thing to really understand is that this self-expression and identity has been so important to Gen X mothers," says Ken Olson. "And with the openness of the upcoming millennial generation toward sexuality ... I would expect this trend to continue."

The catalyst for what he calls the "moms can be sexy" movement was Demi Moore's infamous 1991 Vanity Fair cover photo, in which the actress posed nude while pregnant. Since then, Olson says, young moms have been trying to strike a balance between maternity and sexual identity through their choice of clothes, lingerie, habits and now accoutrements.

"It's saying, 'Yes I'm pregnant, yes I'm entering this new role or new phase, but that doesn't mean I have to give up my piercing.'" she explains, adding that "taking care of yourself and feeling like you're holding onto your identity and unique sense of self-expression is actually good for your kids."


Ring My Belly

Pregnancy Piercings help navel-pierced moms-to-be stay that way for all nine months


Pregnancy Piercings expanding navel rings help moms-to-be stay in their navel rings right up to the bigger end.


There's more to weathering a pregnancy than staying comfortable. Products that help them keep their cool (the other kind) are perfect for individualistic moms-to-be.

Pierced pregnant bellies give new meaning to the idea of bad stretch marks. Since regular navel rings are too short and inflexible to accommodate the nine-month expansion (and may tear if removed), Pregnancy Piercings stepped up to give moms-to-be the option to stay in their navel rings right up to the bitter-er, bigger end. Made from flexible medical-grade plastic tubing, the expandable navel rings come in two styles: barbells and dangles, and have charms that signify girl, boy, or not finding out. And while doctors generally recommend that regular navel rings come out for the duration of pregnancies, that needn't be the case with these babies (BusinessWeek 3.11.05).

There's more to weathering a pregnancy than staying comfortable. Sassy rocker T-shirts, lingerie, and high-end maternity fashion help moms-to-be maintain a sense of their pre-pregnant selves. Products that help them keep their cool are perfect for individualistic moms-to-be.

Weekend Entrepreneur
Navel Piercing for the Hip Mommy-to-Be
Michelle Anton

For Denee Forbes, an unforeseen challenge paved the way for a new mommy-friendly venture that she launched without borrowing a cent. "Women are great multitaskers, and there are so many things in business that can be done from home these days," said Forbes.

Realizing that as her bump grew, her favorite stainless steel navel ring might be risky, she began exploring her options. Forbes was already aware of the potential harm associated with a navel piercing in pregnant women. She said, "It pretty much starts cutting through your skin. Some people do make it through the ninth month if they don't get big, but they're usually bleeding and in a ton of pain."

Forbes couldn't find any safe solutions when she checked out websites, maternity boutiques and piercing shops. But before long, she stumbled across an answer that came in the shape of a nontoxic flexible tubing that was already enjoying multiple uses. It is uncanny that the same tubing doctors relied on for open-heart surgery was popular with body artists wanting to create raised circles just beneath the surface of their skin.

Ingenuity and creativity were soaring the day Forbes used a piece of the bendable tubing and two end balls to cap the openings of her first custom made navel ring. She knew that she was on to something unique when her invention lasted throughout her pregnancy. This was the first step for her business, Pregnancy Piercings. Today she sells 14-gauge, 2-inch barbells that can be cut to size. They come in nine colors, including pink and blue for those who know what sex their baby will be.

Having jump-started her biz on eBay, Forbes said, "EBay is a great way to start a business; even a 'crazy' idea like Pregnancy Piercings got noticed there. I started out selling one a week just to see if anyone else might want to keep their navel ring through pregnancy, like me!"

Forbes, wants to inspire other women to follow in her carefully chosen footsteps: "My plan for the future is to help other moms who quit their day jobs to stay at home with their little ones." She is the proud mommy of 2 children, her 5 year old daughter was the inspiration for launching Pregnancy Piercings and her son is 10 months old.

Wireless Flash News
Child-bearing babes can now bare their bellies with pride
Alex Davies

For many women, getting pregnant means having to give up a lot of things, but now piercings aren't one of them thanks to Denee Forbes, creator of Pregnancy Piercings. Pregnancy Piercings are long, flexible, plastic-like belly button rods that keep naval piercings from closing up while women are preggo.

They come in different colors, and can have charms attached to them allowing ladies to beautify their baby bump. According to Forbes, the belly rods are an unexpected treat for those expecting.

She says, "For a lot of women, their piercings are part of their identity. Just because you get pregnant, you shouldn't have to give up the things that are a piece of you."

And the jewlery is inspiring knocked up ladies to let it all hang out. Forbes explains, "Women are super excited to show off their cute, little baby bumps more when they're out."

Parents Connect
Pregnancy Navel Piercing - Accessories make the baby belly

The Reality:

You used to be so proud of your navel piercing, you'd find excuses to show it off. But now that you're bursting at the seams, your navel jewelry - like your pants (your shirts, your shoes...) - is struggling to fit. If another inch of growth could send that belly ring pinging across the room like a popped button, try this on for size.
We Recommend:

Pregnancy Navel Piercing. Navel jewelry has gotten maternity friendly. These medical-grade navel barbells work with your growing belly because they're longer and more flexible than regular belly bling. Plus they come with optional nonmetallic ends that may even get you the go-ahead to wear it into the delivery room. Of course your OB will have the final word, but with an obstetric jewelry option, you might just be able to keep your old pride and joy until your new one arrives!

Baby Belly Bling!

Show off that baby bump! For Moms with a belly button ring, taking it out as they approach the 2nd or 3rd trimester can be quite stressful. Now Mommies can keep wearing their favorite jewelry during their pregnancy because this solution is simple to use while their bellies grow and grow. Pregnancy Piercings™ use long, plastic-like rods to keep the actual piercing from closing up. In a wide array of colors, Pregnancy Piercings™ is the perfect solution for women still wanting to bare their bellies with bling. They use medical grade barbells that adjust to a growing belly because they are more flexible than your regular belly busting bling! Available for purchase at

Pregnancy Magazine
Body Art, Piercings and Pregnancy - Oh My!
Tamekia Reece

A Decade ago when you got that tattoo, you probably didn't think much about what it might be like when you became a mom-to-be - except maybe to assure yourself that you'd be a hip mama with a little ink. But now that you're pregnant, you might have questions about your body art - and that goes for piercings, too because they're often in sensitive areas such as the belly button and nipples. Can Tattoos, piercings, and pregnancy mix. Here are your questions answered.

Does the tattoo on my back mean an epidural is out? Just because you have a designer back doesn't mean you have to go through labor sans epidural. As long as the tattoo is completely healed-no peeling, oozing, or scabbing-you should be safe to get anesthesia in the spine, says Robert Atlas, M.D., chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. Epidurals are given with a special stylet, a think wire that runs through the needle to keep it free of debris, Atlas says. So there are no worries of ink getting in and being dispersed into your body.

Can I breastfeed if my nipples are pierced? The answer is likely yes. "As long as the ducts haven't been interrupted, it is possible to breastfeed if you have a nipple piercing," says Matthew K. Hoffman, MD an ob/gyn and director of education and research at Christiana Care in Newark, DE. However, nipple piercings must be removed for feedings. "There are some concerns that the ball (closure) or the ring itself could become detached ad the infant could potentially swallow it, and the nipple ring also interferes with the baby's ability to latch on," Hoffman says.

Can I do anything to prevent my tattoo from stretching, or to keep in my navel piercing? If you've heard that keeping your tattoo moisturized will avoid or decrease stretching, we're sorry to report the contrary. "A lot of tattoos, especially those on the abdomen, will stretch, and there's really not much you can do about it, " Atlas says. Another thing that may alter your lower abdominal tattoo is if it needs to be cut during a C-section. But once you've delivered and things return to semi-normal, tattoo artists say they are able to "fix" stretched-out or sliced tattoo's or convert them into new designs if necessary. As for belly piercings, there is help. Pregnancy Piercings, an innovative solution created by a pierced mom-to-be, are flexible 2-inch tubes that replace your navel ring and five you room to grow-without worrying that a ring will tear your skin or cause pain ($16,

Do my piercings need to be removed during pregnancy and/or delivery? During pregnancy, piercings usually don't need to be removed unless the pierced area becomes uncomfortable or infected. "The only piercing we ask patients to remove before delivery are tongue piercings," Hoffman says "occasionally moms need to be intubated quickly for anesthesia and the tongue piercing can get in the way," he explains Other than that, all piercings can stay-even down below, if you like. "Typically, you don't have to remove piercings in the vaginal are, but I would recommend it be removed for the delivery so you don't have extra stretching or tearing of the area," Atlas says. C-section patients are and exception; whether your surgery is emergency or scheduled, you may be asked to remove all metal jewelry.

Is it safe to get a tattoo or piercing during pregnancy? Surprisingly, the experts say it is safe. The only real intrusive concerns are hepatitis C and HIV," Hoffman says. "But now that tattoo parlors are regulated and are using clean needles, there really is not a large concern."

She knows Real Moms Guide
Can you leave your piercings in while pregnant?
Stephanie Precourt

As the growing belly expands, some pregnant moms face the decision to keep their belly piercing or to take it out.

During pregnancy, the abdomen will expand until eventually the belly button protrudes. It can become difficult and uncomfortable to leave jewelry in place.

Know your options

If you'd like to leave your piercing in, you could use something like Pregnancy Piercings, belly button rings flexible enough to hold your piercing throughout each stage of pregnancy.

Fit Pregnancy
Bare that belly bling
Kathy Rank Lev

Many pregnant women spend the third trimester searching for their bellybutton (or wishing it weren't jutting out so far). Others go through pregnancy with little change to that particular dimple. So why not show it off-in style?

Most doctors agree its a bad idea to pierce your navel during pregnancy due to the risk of infection. But if you have an existing piercing, Tina Johnson, C.N.M., M.S., director of professional practice and health policy for the American College of Nurse-Midwives, suggests using soft, surgical-plastic "retainers" to comfortably keep it open during gestation. These are thinner and longer than traditional navel rings. Check out the offerings at for inexpensive, flexible flare that leaves room for your growing bump.

512 Kidz
Pregnancy Piercings Review

Modern moms love to flaunt their growing bellies during pregnancy - here's a line of hip, fresh and colorful accessories to decorate growing tummies! Women no longer have to stop wearing their favorite jewelry during their pregnancy because Pregnancy Piercings are simple to use while those bellies grow and grow. Pregnancy Piercings use long, plastic-like rods to keep the actual piercing from closing up.

This funky line of belly bling is a huge hit for moms everyone who want to keep their bellies pierced during the whole pregnancy. They come in tons of designs and fab colors - there's even a special one for twins. Totally sassy (esp. during bikini season) and safe. Check ‘em out at : $15.99 and up.

I was happy to review Pregnancy Piercings as I am a piercing friendly mama, I have a nose piercing. I had never heard of Pregnancy Piercings or a similar product before. What an awesome idea! I received all sorts of goodies in my package. A sterile Pregnancy Piercing sample, complete with mini gauges and a pink colored ender (pictured above), and complimentary magnet and pen. Thanks Pregnancy Piercings!

I am so happy to be able to pass this along to a preggo friend of mine as she has a belly piercing! I think this is an ingenious product. Keep your belly piercing through pregnancy and look cute along the way. The piercing is shipped to you in a sterile package and that is very important. The great thing about the product is that it has bendable plastic to grow along with your belly without discomfort.

Thanks again to Pregnancy Piercing for sending along a sample for me to review. Visit today and pick one up for the hip pregnant mama in your life!

* I received a Pregnancy Piercing sample to facilitate my candid and honest review. No other form of compensation was or will be given. All personal views are my own!

Pregnancy Beauty Safety Tips

Nails: Manis and pedis are fine, but bring your instruments from home (to reduce infection risk), and "apply nail polish in a well-ventilated area so you don't inhale the fumes," suggests Joel Evans, M.D., assistant clinical professor of ob-gyn at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. Say no to foot massages, which can stimulate fetal activity and contractions.

Hair: "There's no major data suggesting that hair coloring increases birth defects or miscarriage," says Joshua A. Copel, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University. But schedule peroxide pick-me-ups after your first trimester. By then, your baby's organs have formed.

Skin: Avoid Retin-A other topical retinoids, and salicylic acid. Creams with glycolic or azelaic acid are fine.

Bejeweled belly? Alas, the journey to momhood may lead to naked naveldom. Docs recommend the removal of belly button piercings by the six-month mark (your stretching stomach may well agree). If you've gotta keep the barbell, get one with a flexible shaft (at