Will Having A Tattoo Affect My Pregnancy?

Pregnant woman with tattoos

Will Existing Tattoos Cause Problems During Pregnancy?

Generally speaking, having a tattoo before you become pregnant should not affect your pregnancy. However, having a pregnancy may very well affect your tattoo! Depending on the location of your tattoo, its shape may stretch during pregnancy. Because your body is changing so dramatically, your tattoo may not return to its original shape even after delivery. The stretched-out tattoos tend to be most common with tattoos on the abdomen, although tattoos on the lower back or the thighs can experience the same types of things. Ankle tattoos might stretch out of shape, too, if your feet do a lot of swelling during your pregnancy. 

Is it Okay to Get a Tattoo While Pregnant?

Pregnancy is not the best time to consider a new tattoo. Many tattoo artists will refuse to give a pregnant woman a tattoo for several reasons. They are concerned for their client’s well-being and don’t want to risk something going wrong. In general, they are probably right to be worried. While the odds are relatively slim that something will go wrong, pregnancy is not the time to be taking those kinds of chances. It is probably safer for you and your baby to wait until after delivery to have that tattoo.

A significant risk of getting tattooed while pregnant is the risk of infection. During pregnancy, your immune system already has to work overtime to protect both you and your baby. If you get an infection during pregnancy, your immune system has to fight the infection for both of you. There is also some risk to your baby if you get an infection during pregnancy.

Some women are concerned about the tattoo ink affecting their pregnancy. While there is no hard research suggesting a danger from the ink, there is no research indicating that it is safe either. Here again, it is probably best to err on the side of caution because there isn’t enough data to tell us conclusively that the ink is safe for a pregnant woman.

The stress of getting a tattoo is another thing to take into consideration. Any stressful event, or any event that your body sees as stressful, can lead to premature labor. While getting a tattoo isn’t necessarily one of the most stressful events that can occur while pregnant, it can certainly add to the stress that a pregnant woman is already feeling and increase her stress to unsafe levels.

The risk of fainting is also a concern if you want to get tattooed while pregnant. It is not uncommon for people who are getting a tattoo to pass out. Certainly, any experience that puts you at risk for falling, such as fainting does, should be avoided during pregnancy.

Things You Need To Know If You Decide to Get A Tattoo While Pregnant

If you decide to get a tattoo during pregnancy, you must use a safe tattoo artist. Make sure the artist thoroughly cleans your skin before they start tattooing. 

It would be best if you went to a professional parlor. The FDA does not regulate tattoo inks, but state and local jurisdictions often regulate tattoo parlors. Most states require tattoo artists be licensed, so make sure you check your state’s department of health or board of cosmetology to ensure that you’re a good candidate before getting inked. You don’t want to end up being your tattoo artist’s experiment. Your and your baby’s health could suffer.  

Ask your tattoo artist questions. Ask what techniques they use to make sure that your new tattoo looks amazing. Find out what sanitary procedures they follow. Does the tattoo artist use new needles and ink for each client? Have they done a quality control inspection lately? 

Tattoos and Epidurals – Something to Keep in Mind

If you plan to get an epidural during labor, you should avoid getting a tattoo on your lower back because it can interfere with your epidural procedure. According to a recent review, inserting a needle through a tattoo may cause the ink to leak out, potentially spreading to the spinal canal and causing permanent nerve damage. 

Can I Have a Tattoo Removed During Pregnancy?

It is best to err on the side of caution and wait until after you have your baby to get a tattoo removed.  

Laser tattoo removal is the most effective way to remove tattoos. The laser breaks down the tattoo’s ink that your body then absorbs and then filters out of your system. If you do this when pregnant, you risk exposing your unborn baby to the ink that your body is absorbing.  

You should also avoid using other methods that involve cream, ointments, or rubs. These tattoo removal products, for the most part, have not been proven safe. Wait until your baby is born and then use laser treatments to remove your tattoos.

Getting a tattoo is a very personal decision. We’ve talked a lot about the benefits and risks of getting a tattoo when pregnant, but it’s also important to think about the impact it can have on your body and your child. If you’re considering getting a tattoo while pregnant, it’s best to talk to a professional about the procedure beforehand. If you’re already pregnant, be sure to talk to your doctor about the potential risks and complications of getting a tattoo. If you want t get a tattoo removed, wait until after you have your baby and make sure you use a reputable tattoo artist and parlor.