Tattoos are one of the most popular ways to express your personality and identity.
If you love getting tattoos, or you are curious about getting a tattoo, and you are pregnant, then you may be wondering about the potential risks of getting a tattoo.
In this guide, we cover all of the risks of getting a tattoo while pregnant, including whether you can get a tattoo safely, along with what this can do to a developing baby. Read on to find out more.
Table of Contents
- Can You Get A Tattoo While Pregnant?
- Potential Risks Of Getting A Tattoo While Pregnant
- Can Getting A Tattoo During Pregnancy Cause Miscarriage?
- Can You Get A Tattoo In The First Trimester?
- Can You Get A Tattoo While Breastfeeding?
- Epidurals And Lower Back Tattoos
- Safety Of Dyes And Inks
- How Soon After Pregnancy Can You Get A Tattoo?
- Final Thoughts
Can You Get A Tattoo While Pregnant?
The short answer is that it can be safe for you to get a tattoo while pregnant, but it is not always advised. This is because the major risk of getting a tattoo is the possibility of contracting an infection.
If the tattoo is not done with the proper sterilization procedures, and the tattoo needle is not clean or sterile, then you could develop a blood, skin infection or an allergic reaction.
This could potentially harm your baby or cause pregnancy complications.
Potential Risks Of Getting A Tattoo While Pregnant
According to the American Pregnancy Association, the main risks of getting a tattoo during pregnancy is the risk of infections like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV.
Infected blood can also impact your baby, so having a tattoo gives you an increased risk of developing some sort of infection that could harm your baby.
While you can get a tattoo safely in a reputable tattoo parlor while pregnant, it is not risk free. So, in most cases, we urge pregnant people to wait to get a new tattoo after the pregnancy when it is safe to do so.
While many artists may work in a sterile tattoo parlor, the simple fact is that the tattoo needle may not be cleansed properly, which could harm your baby. These risks outweigh the pros.
For instance, if infected blood is left on a tattoo needle that has not been cleaned properly, then you could contract Hepatitis B or C, which are serious infections that can impact the liver.
Alternatively, another blood-borne infection is HIV. This can infect you, damage your immune system, and be passed onto your baby.
Another risk is developing skin infections due to the open wound, or suffering from allergic reactions from the ink.
The tattoo pigments and tattoo ink dyes can have ingredients that contain allergens. While the ink will not damage your baby, an allergic reaction could complicate the pregnancy.
Can Getting A Tattoo During Pregnancy Cause Miscarriage?
There is very little to no research around whether getting a tattoo during pregnancy can cause a miscarriage.
However, according to resources from the Centers For Disease Control, there are many infectious agents that could impact reproductive health.
Tattoo artists are at risk of exposure to these agents, so those getting a tattoo are also at risk.
The Centers For Disease Control argues that infections such as these can ’cause more serious illness in pregnant women’, which could complicate your pregnancy.
You have got to remember that getting a fresh tattoo is painful, and puts your body under stress. If you are stressed, then this could cause complications in your pregnancy.
Can You Get A Tattoo In The First Trimester?
The average tattoo needle only reaches about 1/8 of an inch into the skin, but some tattoo inks and dyes may contain metals like mercury, lead, and arsenic.
These metals pose a real risk and threat to your developing baby. During the first trimester and in early pregnancy, the main organs are developing, so you should avoid tattooing or getting a tattoo at this time.
Can You Get A Tattoo While Breastfeeding?
It is best to wait until you have finished breastfeeding. Always speak to your healthcare provider before making a decision, as this is the best person to offer you advice.
Most reputable tattoo artists will not allow clients to get a tattoo while pregnant or breastfeeding. If the client persists, then they may need to sign a waiver as it is not considered ‘risk-free’.
Epidurals And Lower Back Tattoos
There is a myth that if you have a lower back tattoo, you cannot have an epidural. This is not true.
Unless the lower back tattoo appears infected, then you can still have this form of anesthesia during childbirth. Having an existing tattoo in this area does not mean that you cannot have an epidural.
Safety Of Dyes And Inks
According to the American Pregnancy Association, the chemicals in tattoo dyes can impact fetal development. However, there are very little studies to help us understand if tattoo ink and dyes are harmful during pregnancy.
But, some inks may include heavy metals. Exposure to heavy metals can affect your baby’s brain development, and runs the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth.
Therefore, it is best to steer clear of getting a tattoo during pregnancy.
How Soon After Pregnancy Can You Get A Tattoo?
It is advised that mothers and pregnant people do not get a tattoo while pregnant, and that they wait until around 9-12 months after giving birth, or until the baby is no longer dependent on breastmilk before getting a new tattoo.
Always speak to your OB GYN for guidance before making any decisions.
So, can you get a tattoo while pregnant? The answer is complicated.
While you can get a tattoo safely while pregnant, as long as the tattoo artist has a very sterile environment and equipment, there is a risk of you developing an infection or an allergic reaction.
To avoid infection, and to ensure that your baby is safe and healthy, we would recommend that you avoid getting new ink until it is safe to do so after the pregnancy.