Getting Tattoos When Pregnant – Is it Safe?

FAQ

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It seems as if these days the list of things you aren’t allowed to do when you are pregnant is infinitely longer than the list of things you are allowed to do. It can be difficult to balance the line between what is actually okay and what you are better off waiting to do.

You may like the idea that a tattoo allows you to get a permanent addition made to your body. You might be trying to hang on to this special time in your life by getting a tattoo. After all, pregnancy isn’t forever, but a tattoo is. It may seem like a great idea, but you and your baby’s safety is more important.

Reasons to Avoid the Pregnancy Tattoo

Of course, you can get the tattoo if you choose, but many doctors advise against it for a variety of reasons.

1. Tattoos can cause infection: A tattoo needle that is improperly prepared can lead to potential Hepatitis B, C, or even HIV. The dangerous thing with these infections is that they can affect YOU and YOUR BABY. It is possible that you could become infected and not even know it, then when you give birth it could spread to your baby.

2. Other infection: Aside from the more serious infections like Hepatitis and HIV, it is possible that the area you receive the tattoo in can become infected. If this happens the following symptoms could occur:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Pus or red lesions near tattoo
  • Foul smelling discharge in tattoo area
  • Areas with hard and raised tissue
  • New dark lines developing in tattooed area
Note: If any of these occur it is important to reach out to your doctor.

3. Affect your ability to get an epidural: If you already have a tattoo you don’t have to worry about this, but if you get a tattoo towards the end of your pregnancy you may have reason to worry. Tattoos that are located in the lower portion of your back can prevent epidurals from being administered if they aren’t fully healed, are red and swollen, ooze fluid, or are infected. You may think that if you get it earlier on then it will be good to go, but you never know if an infection will occur or how long it will last. You also never know when labor may begin.

4. Appearance may change: Your body undergoes many different changes when you are pregnant and most of these changes go back to normal shortly after you deliver your baby. The high levels of hormones are the contributing factor to thank for these changes, and they can also affect your skin. It is possible that your skin has stretched in areas that you wouldn’t even think possible. This means that once your body returns to its pre-baby shape, your tattoo may not look exactly like it did when you were pregnant.

If you Plan to Get a Tattoo When Pregnant


Inevitably the decision is up to you, but it is important that you take extra precautions when going to get your new ink.

  • They are a registered practitioner (if your state registers tattoo artists).
  • They always wear gloves during the procedure.
  • They have an autoclave (sterilizing unit to sterilize equipment).
  • The floors and surfaces are all clean.
  • All the needles used are new, disposable, and made for single use only.
  • The dressings are sterile, packed, and unopened.
  • The dyes or ink used for the tattoo are also sterile packed and unopened.
  • The artist is available the first 24 hours if you have any problems. (Find out the availability of the artist if you have any problems in the days and months ahead).

The Bottom Line

You can get that tattoo if you wish, but you should thoroughly consider it. You can always try and come up with other ways to help capture this precious time in your life that won’t affect you or your baby. The good news is that pregnancy isn’t forever, so once you have that baby go and get that tattoo, get 5 if you want. Getting the tattoo and not waiting the 9 months until you give birth isn’t worth the potential damage that could occur.