Can You Get a Tattoo While Pregnant?

Can You Get a Tattoo While Pregnant?

Very few studies have been done on tattoos and pregnancies. Getting a tattoo while pregnant may pose a risk to your child, on par with smoking or drinking while pregnant. On the other hand, it may not. Many people have undergone tattoos while pregnant with no observable adverse effects. Here’s a look at the few things we know for certain concerning getting a tattoo while pregnant. Use this knowledge to make an informed decision, and consult your doctor if you have any medical concerns. Can you get a tattoo while pregnant? Read on.


Health Risks

First, all of the health risks of normal tattoos apply tenfold when you’re pregnant. The risk of getting infectious diseases is always there. Diseases which you contract by coming into contact with the blood of others, such as Hepatitis B and HIV/AIDS, can be transferred by dirty tattoo guns. Treating these diseases are nearly impossible while you are pregnant, since certain medications have adverse effects on the womb. If you do want to get a tattoo, be sure to pick an official shop with a good reputation that will take care of you.


Tell them that you are pregnant and want to reduce the risk to your child, and they should go out of their way to remove any contaminants to keep the procedure safe. Any infections you receive due to poor aftercare will also be difficult to treat because not all antibiotics are safe for pregnant women. You can read up about tattoo aftercare to see what you can do to prevent this.


Can You Get a Tattoo While Pregnant? Consider this…

Another risk lies in the chemicals in the ink. Currently, studies in adults with tattoos shows that ink does not travel very far from the tattoo site, but after a few years might travel inward. If you already have a tattoo and you became pregnant afterwards, these inward-traveling particles might affect your child. There is no study done on the way that these chemicals interact with the body or womb, but it is better to be safe than sorry. If you already have a tattoo, avoid irritating the area.


If you plan on getting a tattoo, wait until at least the first 12 weeks go by. The first 12 weeks are the most critical part of your child’s development, so things which are harmless to adults can still greatly affect the child. It is possible for anything put in your body to affect the child up until delivery, so be aware that getting a tattoo can have unseen risks for the child.

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Lower Back Tattoos

You’re probably familiar with the epidural they give you when you give birth. This pain reliever has saved many women some strife. However, there are a few doctors who will refrain from giving an epidural if you received a lower back tattoo recently. The epidural could possibly push the ink in deeper and allow it to spread through the body, or it might be shallow enough to ruin the tattoo as the fluid moves the ink around.


Either way, it’s bad news for the person who gets the epidural, and doctors do not risk it. If you want any kind of pain relief while giving birth, go ahead and skip out on the tattoo until later. If you already have a tattoo on your back, you can ask your delivery doctor ahead of time about what the hospital procedures are for people with back tattoos. It’s possible that you can find a hospital that will administer it anyways, or allow epidurals for people with older tattoos.


All About Your Skin

Lastly, this falls under the common sense category. Pregnancy drastically changes the way your skin feels. In areas like the stomach and breast, your body will swell and your skin will stretch to match up. Getting tattoos in these areas is a bad idea—after your pregnancy is over, the shape of the tattoo will drastically change, shrinking and becoming distorted. Some areas might remain unchanged while the rest of it looks shriveled and deformed. That is not what you want in a tattoo!


On top of stretching, half of women will get dark and splotchy spots on their skin called melasma or chloasma. These normally appear on your forehead and cheeks, but sometimes appear in other areas. These marks are totally normal and are a result of some incredible hormones taking care of your baby’s growth. Getting a tattoo on top of these areas might make those splotches more permanent. Along with that, your body experiences an increase in amount of blood and speed in circulation.


While that bodes well for things like healing tattoos, it also means that the ink has the potential to move away from the area quickly. Your tattoo artist will not enjoy themselves, either—while it might be easier to stretch the skin, that skin is incredibly oily and requires more prep to ensure that the tattoo goes on evenly. Even then, they’ll probably make a bigger mess than usual. In areas where the skin is drastically stretched—such as the stomach—it could be impossible to put on a tattoo at all.

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Aftercare and Final Thoughts

If you do get a tattoo, there are a few additional aftercare procedures you should follow. Be aware of any infection and ask your doctor right away if you see any swelling. Swelling is normal for the first few days of tattoos, so you may have to see your doctor more than once. If you notice any abnormal itching around your tattoo or anywhere around your body, consult your doctor first and then your tattoo artist about what kind of products are safe to use to relieve the itching.


As I stated before, you should consult your doctor for any medical concerns. It is also my personal belief that you should wait until after your pregnancy to get a tattoo. Tattoos are permanent features, so waiting a few months to get one should be a trivial matter. It is safer for both you and your baby. If you decide to get a tattoo while pregnant despite the risks, be sure to tell your tattoo artist so that they can take any precautions in place to make the procedure as safe as possible for you and your baby.



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