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Can You Get A Tattoo While Pregnant? Let’s Talk About It!

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can you get a tattoo while pregnant

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Hey there, parent-to-be! Congratulations on this exciting journey into parenthood. As you’re expecting, you might be wondering about all the do’s and don’ts during pregnancy. One question that comes up a lot is, “Can you get a tattoo while pregnant?” It’s a bit of a tricky topic, so let’s dive in and explore the ins and outs of getting inked while carrying your little bundle of joy.

The Tattoo Guidelines - Safety First!

Alright, let’s start with the basics. If you’re even considering getting a tattoo while pregnant, there are some essential guidelines to follow.

  • Make sure the tattoo artist you choose is a registered practitioner (if that’s required in your state).
  • Check if they always wear gloves during the procedure, use sterilized equipment (they should have an autoclave for that), and maintain a clean working environment.
  • Disposable needles are a must. No sharing or reusing!
  • The dressings should be sterile, packed, and unopened, just like the ink or dyes they’ll use for your tattoo.
  • And, find out if the artist will be available to help in case you encounter any issues during the first 24 hours or in the following days and months.

The Risks Involved - It's Not All Rainbows and Unicorns

Now, let’s talk about the risks of whether you can get a tattoo while pregnant because we need to be real about this. Getting a tattoo can be risky even when you’re not pregnant, but during pregnancy, some of these risks can become serious complications.

1. Infection

Ah, the dreaded infection! It’s the main concern here. If the tattoo artist doesn’t follow proper hygiene practices and uses contaminated needles, you could end up with nasty bloodborne infections like hepatitis B, C, or even HIV. These infections can be passed on to your baby during birth and can lead to lifelong health issues.

If a mom has hepatitis B, she could pass it on to her baby during birth. And get this, 90% of these babies end up with a lifelong infection according to CDC, and one out of four might even face serious health complications from the infection if left untreated.

If a mom has hepatitis C, there’s a 6% chance she’ll pass it to her child. And for HIV, without treatment, the risk of transmission to the baby can be anywhere from 15% to 45%.

So, it’s essential to consider the risks before making any decisions.

2. Toxic Tattoo Inks

Believe it or not, some tattoo inks contain heavy metals like mercury, arsenic, and lead. Not something you want near your precious baby! These toxic ingredients can be harmful, especially during the crucial first trimester when your baby’s organs are forming.

3. Skin Changes

Pregnancy brings all kinds of changes to your body, and your skin is no exception. Depending on where you get your tattoo, it might not look the same after you’ve given birth and your body has healed. Melasma and increased skin sensitivity are common during pregnancy, which can affect how your tattoo looks and how your skin reacts to being tattooed.

4. Inability to Receive Epidurals

You might have heard that having a lower back tattoo can interfere with getting an epidural during labor. Well, it’s not entirely proven, but in some cases, it might cause problems. If your tattooed area appears red, scaly, infected, or still healing, your doctor may not administer an epidural.

Think It Through

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Can You Get a Tattoo While Pregnant

Okay, let’s pause and reflect on all of this. The main concern with getting a tattoo while pregnant is the risk of infection, especially bloodborne infections like hepatitis B and HIV. The risk isn’t huge, but it’s there, so it’s often recommended to wait until after your baby is born because they could affect your baby’s development in the first 12 weeks.

There isn’t much research on the safety of tattoo dyes during pregnancy, so the effects on your baby’s development remain unknown. Some women also worry about back tattoos and epidurals, but there’s little concrete evidence to support that concern. However, most anesthesiologists are okay with giving epidurals to women with back tattoos.

On the bright side, you’re the boss of your body, and it’s your decision to make. If you’re keen on getting inked, consider waiting until after your baby is born or even after breastfeeding to reduce any potential complications.

Things To Consider

The Big Picture of Whether You Can Get a Tattoo While Pregnant

Alright, let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Before getting any tattoo, regardless of pregnancy, there are some important factors to consider:

  1. Permanence – Tattoos are forever, and while there are tattoo removal options, we’re not entirely sure of their long-term effects on the body.
  2. Shape and Location – Pregnancy can change your body shape, and stretch marks might affect the appearance of your tattoo in the future.
  3. Epidural During Labor – If you need an epidural for pain relief during delivery, it’s unclear whether a lower back tattoo could pose any risks.
  4. Underlying Conditions – If you have any health conditions that affect your immune system or healing ability, check with your doctor before getting a tattoo.

A Sidenote: What About Henna?

You can get a tattoo while pregnant if it’s henna because it’s a tradition to get a henna tattoo on the belly during the third trimester in some cultures. Henna is a natural dye but beware of black henna, which may contain harmful chemicals. Stick to regular henna, and avoid the black stuff, just to be safe.

The Bottom Line - Talk to Your Doctor!

In the end, the decision is yours, but we want you to be safe and informed. While there isn’t enough evidence to conclusively say whether you can get a tattoo while pregnant without any risks, there are steps you can take to minimize the same. Talking to your doctor is essential. They can provide personalized advice based on your health and pregnancy status.

Ultimately, waiting until after your baby is born and you’re done breastfeeding can be the wisest choice. This ensures that any potential tattoo complications won’t affect your child. Remember, you’ve got a beautiful journey ahead, and your body is doing something truly miraculous. Happy pregnancy!

FAQs: Can You Get A Tattoo While Pregnant

1. Will a tattoo artist tattoo a pregnant woman?

Do your research on the risks, consult an OB-GYN, find a trustworthy artist if you get the approval, and let them know about your pregnancy in advance to avoid any surprises! Some artists might have policies against tattooing pregnant women, so it's best to be upfront about it.

2. What if I got a tattoo and didn't know I was pregnant?

No need to panic! The chances of infection are low, but to ease your mind, just talk to a doctor. However, don't get inked if you're aware you're pregnant.

3. When can I get a tattoo after giving birth?

If you're thinking about whether you can get a tattoo while pregnant, we’d say it's best to wait until your baby is 9-12 months old and not solely dependent on breastmilk. Also, good tattoo artists will ask you to fill out a waiver about pregnancy and breastfeeding. Stay safe and enjoy the ink!

4. Is it okay to get a tattoo while trying to conceive?

Our suggestion is to skip the tattoos if you're trying to get pregnant, during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding. It's all about avoiding risks to you and your baby, like disease transmission and infections.

5. Do tattoos return to normal after pregnancy?

While you're pregnant, your belly and breasts grow, and your skin stretches to make room for the baby and extra fluids. So, keep in mind that these changes can affect your tattoos, and they might not go back to how they were before after pregnancy.

6. Can tattoo ink affect fertility?

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) did a study on tattoos and fertility, and it found that certain tattoo ink ingredients might mess with your reproductive health. But here's the kicker: there's no solid proof that tattoos really mess with your fertility.

7. Does tattoo removal hurt pregnancy?

So far, there haven't been any reports of harm to moms or babies from this. If you need to, just stop the tattoo removal for now. You can finish it at Ink-B-Gone later, and don't worry, taking a break won't make it less effective—it'll just take a bit longer.


On behalf of the editorial team at Parenthoodbliss, we follow strict reporting guidelines and only use credible sources, along with peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and highly respected health organizations. To learn about how we maintain content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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