Recent photos of singer Beyonce Knowles have sparked rumors and outrage that the singer may have undergone lip injections while pregnant with her second child. Knowles’ publicist Yvette Noel-Schure has denied the claims, saying Knowles’ plumper pout is thanks to pregnancy hormones and normal pregnancy-related weight gain, but the controversy has left many wondering, is it ever safe to undergo any cosmetic procedures while pregnant?
"The short answer is no," explains Dr. Ryan Mitchell a plastic surgeon in Henderson, Nevada. "For an elective procedure, it is not worth the risk of potentially fatal consequences to performing any kind of plastic surgery or cosmetic procedure on a pregnant patient."
According to Mitchell, the main risk usually lies not in the procedure itself, but in the anesthesia used in cosmetic surgery, and the chemicals used in injectable fillers.
"Anesthesia during the first trimester can be fatal to an unborn baby, and it carries a lot of risk in the second and third trimester as well," said Mitchell.
Furthermore, according to Mitchell, because pregnancy decreases immune system functions, undergoing any type of procedure during pregnancy can often increase the risk of the mother developing a dangerous infection.
"Infections definitely complicate matters, because many antibiotics used to fight infections are not safe to use during pregnancy," said Mitchell. "Even if the infection itself isn’t initially life threatening, it can quickly worsen because it cannot be safely treated."
If this is true, why are pregnant women allowed to have cesarean sections? After all, they require anesthesia.
"By that point in the pregnancy, the baby is no longer at risk," Mitchell said. "Once the baby is delivered, the mother can then take a wider range of antibiotics and painkillers than she could while pregnant."
So, what should you do if you discover you’re pregnant prior to your plastic surgery or cosmetic surgery procedure?
"Patients who become pregnant prior to their surgical or cosmetic procedure should reschedule their procedure until after the birth of their child," said Mitchell. "Your surgeon wants what’s best for you and your baby, and will happily work with you to reschedule."
As for those who don’t know that they are pregnant, or who are willing to take the risk of undergoing a procedure while pregnant, Mitchell says those patients are unlikely to slide under the radar.
"Every hospital or surgery center will test the patient’s blood for pregnancy before performing the procedure. If the test is positive, they will not perform the surgery."
For those patients considering Botox or fillers while pregnant, Mitchell says they are harder to stop because no bloodwork is done prior to those cosmetic services.
"Most places will not test blood prior to injectables, but injectables do not require anesthesia," said Mitchell. "They are generally considered safe, but as there is very little data on their safety during pregnancy, it’s better to be safe than sorry with these products and just wait until after the pregnancy is over. No data doesn’t mean no risk."