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Can Pregnant Women Get Tattoos

What Is A Safe Alternative To Getting A Tattoo While Pregnant

Can lower back tattoos pose a health risk to pregnant women?

If you have spent time informing yourself about the risks of getting a tattoo while pregnant and have decided not to move forward with a traditional ink tattoo, there are still other ways to decorate your body and celebrate this special time in your life. Henna is a beautiful option to consider for tattooing your body in a temporary way. Henna tattoos can generally last anywhere from one to four weeks. Decorating the belly can be an especially poignant way to mark the third trimester. The one safety precaution to take with a henna tattoo during pregnancy is to make sure the artist is not using black henna. The natural form of henna should be used which typically comes in a color range of orange, red, and brown. Women from Indian and Egyptian culture share that receiving henna tattoos when pregnant can even bring you good luck in childbirth according to legend.

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Can Tattoo Ink Get Into Breast Milk

It is not known whether tattoo ink could leave the compartment of skin where it has been injected and reach breast milk. Research has shown that over time ink from tattoos can travel in the blood stream and be deposited in the lymph nodes or liver67 8 but there isnt any research on breast milk. E-lactancia recommends against tattoos on the nipple as this poses a risk of swallowing tattoo ink which could be toxic and breastfeeding charity La Leche League International says:

Excerpt from

Tattoos and Breastfeeding. LLLI.

It is generally assumed that ink molecules are too large to pass into breastmilk during the tattoo process. Once injected into the skin the ink is trapped, however it is unknown whether the ink can pass into breastmilk as it slowly breaks down in the body months to years later.

If I Do Decide To Get A Tattoo While Pregnant What Should I Do To Make It As Safe As Possible

If you do decide to get a tattoo while pregnant, the first thing you need to do is inform yourself about all of the risks, as well as the safety precautions you can take. When you are ready to move forward, you will want to spend some time picking the tattoo artist that you trust the most. One important question to ask the tattoo artists you are considering is whether their ink contains any heavy metals dont be afraid to let them know that you are pregnant and to ask them to show you proof of their ink ingredients.

Another way to prepare is to make sure that the tattoo parlor is licensed and has good reviews. Consider asking for referrals from customers. You will want to make sure that the tattoo parlor is extremely careful about sanitizing and cleanliness. Tattoo artists should wear gloves and use disposable or sanitized equipment. It is also important to make sure the tattoo artist is using a brand new and sterile cup of ink before s/he begins the process of tattooing.

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What To Know About Getting A Tattoo During Pregnancy

Can Pregnant Women Get Tattoos? The main concern about getting a tattoo during pregnancy is the risk of infection like hepatitis B and HIV. While the risk is low, it is recommended that you wait until your baby is born to get a tattoo.

No information is available on safety skin dyes used during pregnancy for tattooing. The chemicals in color may affect the babys development during the first 12 weeks. The consequences are unclear, though, as are any effects on the baby during the rest of the pregnancy.

Many women may also have learned that they wont be able to get an epidural if they have a tattoo on their back. Very few reports were published on complications that might arise for women who have back tattoos and obtain an epidural.

To date, none of these studies have found any data conclusively indicating that there are risks, so most anesthesiologists have no problem giving a woman with a back tattoo an epidural.

If you want an epidural and your back has a tattoo, the best way to contact the hospital is to find out the tattoos and epidurals policy. However, if you are breastfeeding, you can pass the infection on to your infant, although the risk is small. Ultimately, its your decision, but you might want to wait to get a new tattoo until youre not breastfeeding.

Does Getting A Tattoo While Pregnant Affect The Baby

tattoos for women

There is a chance the tattoo could affect your baby. In one instance, certain diseases can pass from the mother to the baby during pregnancy. According to WebMD, Hepatitis B and C can pass from mother to child during pregnancy. If the fetus contracts hepatitis B, 90% of them will live with a lifelong infection. Unfortunately, 25% of them will die from complications of the infection.

The good news is, according to Insider, disease transmission in the US is pretty low.

We mentioned that tattoo inks with heavy metals could harm the developing fetus but not how. According to WebMD, some heavy metals found in tattoo ink are mercury, arsenic, and lead. WebMD says, Exposure to heavy metals can affect your babys brain development. It can also increase your chances of having a miscarriage or stillbirth.

Finally, there are some medications you may need to take that arent encouraged during pregnancy. For instance, if your tattoo gets infected you may need antibiotics. However, according to Baby Center, some antibiotics arent fully greenlit for pregnancy and may pose a risk to the fetus.

Even medications for skin conditions that may pop up after the tattoo session may cause a problem for the fetus. According to Medical News Today, Corticosteroids can help relieve symptoms of some reactions, but these medicines may not be safe during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

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Impact Of A Tattoo On The Foetus

The ink which is used for making a tattoo can also be harmful. The chemical can affect the babys growth. So, it is risky to use any form of ink, specially during the first trimester because that is the period when the babys body parts are formed, warned Dr Sinha. This holds true for hair colour and any other drugs which can interfere with the babys development and should be avoided.

Can You Get An Epidural If You Have A Tattoo On Your Back

Some OB/GYNs and anesthesiologists have questioned whether its safe to perform epidurals on women with tattoos on their backs , under the theory that the needle could push pigmented tissue into the spinal column and cause some sort of growth or infection. Theres little medical literature on this and to date, any problems with epidurals and back tattoos are rare.

Theres also a theoretical concern related to future cases of skin cancer in the epidural area, but the science behind this isnt solid. Still, if you have a back tattoo, or if youre considering one, its something to talk over with your doctor ahead of time so there are no surprises in the delivery room.

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What Are The Safety Concerns For Mother And Baby


A tattoo creates a substantial shallow wound on the body and therefore strict hygiene precautions are needed to avoid local infections or transmission of blood borne diseases. E-lactancia explains:

Excerpt from

Tattoo. E-lactancia. 2018

Tattooing must meet all known safety and sanitation standards in order to avoid transmission of Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV infections. As a safety measure, blood banks and many human milk banks do not accept donation of biological products until a 4 to 12 months period has elapsed after tattooing.

Articles from the Journal of Midwifery and Womens Health9 and lactation consultant Robyn Roche-Paull10 explain how to minimise risks of infection including:

  • Find an experienced professional tattoo artist. Ask about their training and licensing. Check with your local health department for local laws and regulations.
  • Check that the studio is clean with sterilised equipment including sterilised needles from sealed packaging and that the artist uses single use inks and wears medical gloves to avoid cross contamination.
  • Follow the recommended aftercare procedures carefully to avoid infections at the site of the tattoo.


It is possible to have an allergy to the tattoo ink which may cause persistent swelling, itching and redness at the tattoo site. 11

Medical reasons for not having a tattoo

Excerpt from

Tattoos. Journal of Midwifery and Womens Health. 2019

Tattoos During Pregnancy: First Things First Safety

Tattoos when pregnant. || Is it safe?

Make sure that your tattoo artist follows or was following these guidelines:

  • They are a registered practitioner .
  • They always wear gloves during the procedure.
  • They have an autoclave .
  • 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 for the first 24 hours if you have any problems. .

If you have a tattoo and question the practices of the facility where you had it done, make sure you are tested for Hepatitis, HIV, and Syphilis.

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So What If I Already Have Tattoos On My Abdomen And Body Parts That Change With Pregnancy

Do not panic! You can contact your tattooist for advice on how to take care of your existing tattoos while you are pregnant. Make sure to moisturize your skin regularly proper skin care is a proven way of improving your skins elasticity, strength, and appearance. Most professionals recommend using fragrance-free lotion, petroleum jelly, or coconut oil. The condition of the skin pregnant or not always differs from person to person, so it is recommended you speak to your doctor about your personalized skincare needs. It is extremely important to keep your protective layers of skin healthy not only to preserve your tattoos throughout pregnancy, but also to keep your body safe from infections that will affect both you and your baby.

It Is Advisable To Avoid Tattoo During Pregnancy For The Following Reasons

1. It involves the use of needles that have the potential of transmitting infections like HIV and Hepatitis if safe practices are not followed in the parlors.

2. One can have an allergic reaction to the ink, leading to rashes, inflammation, and scarring.

3. Removing a permanent tattoo can be quite tedious and expensive.

4. There is no clarity of the effect of the ink used on the foetus.

5. In pregnancy the skin will stretch, there is edema and one will put on weight. This will change the appearance of the tattoo. Further post-pregnancy after weight loss the tattoo will change in an appearance again.

Therefore, it is sensible to wait till after delivery and till the baby is weaned so as to avoid any health risk to the baby in case of infection and allergic reaction. The henna made from natural leaves is safe in pregnancy but unfortunately, it is nowadays contaminated by various dyes and chemicals to give darker and longer-lasting results. These chemicals are not safe and therefore best avoided in pregnancy.

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Q: Is It Safe To Get A Tattoo While I’m Pregnant

A: Getting inked has some serious risks that you’re better off avoiding while pregnant. Dirty facilities and needles can spread infections like Hepatitis B and HIV. There have also been no studies done on the effects that tattoo ink may have on your baby’s health and development. But if you’re determined to get a tattoo while you’re pregnant, do follow these tips to be as safe as possible:

– Tell the tattoo artist that you’re pregnant, so he can take extra precautions, like being certain that the tools are clean. – Wait until the second trimester when your baby’s major organs, bones, nerves, and muscles have already developed. – Make sure the tattoo artist is licensed. – Check to see that the tattoo parlor uses sterilized equipment. It should have a machine called an autoclave that cleans tattoo instruments using heat and steam. – The tattoo artist should use new, unopened gloves, bandages, dyes, and needles for each client.

It’s also a good idea to remember that shifting hormones can cause your complexion to change a lot during pregnancy, so the tattoo you get in your sixth month could look very different after you deliver. If you’re planning to have an epidural during labor, avoid getting a tattoo on your lower back too close to your due date. There’s no evidence that back tattoos interfere with epidurals, but some hospitals will not give them to women whose tattoos are new or not totally healed.

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Infections And Contraction Of Diseases

Should You Get a Tattoo While Pregnant? Heres the Facts ...

Although the needle only penetrates 1/16th of an inch into your skin, there are chances that the ink brings bacteria.

Of course, the use of infected needles could cause you serious infections but also infected ink. According to research by Medical News Today, the most serious infections that an infected needle or infected ink can cause are:

  • Cellulitis
  • Viral hepatitis
  • HIV

Furthermore, if the materials and equipment used are not properly sterilized, there is the possibility of contracting diseases such as:

  • Tetanus
  • Hepatitis C
  • MRSA

If you, as a pregnant woman, contract an infection or illness, you will most likely pass it to your baby. In addition, you would have to take medications and antibiotics that are contraindicated for your pregnancy.

The idea is to minimize risks, so avoiding undergoing processes that can cause infections or transmit diseases will be the best for both the fetus and yourself. Needless to say, these are diseases that you want to stay away from as much as possible.

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Your Tattoos Appearance May Be Different

Pregnant womens bodies change considerably during pregnancy as skin stretches and expands, and hormones can affect your skins appearance. Tattoos on the abdomen or hips, for example, might be affected by stretch marks.

Hyperpigmentation can result from changes in hormones, which may make your tattoo look different. In addition, some areas of your skin may darken during pregnancy, including your nipples, arms, and face.

How To Prevent Tattoos From Deforming During Pregnancy

There are several ways to prevent tattoos from getting deformed. you will have to prevent it from happening. Through, it is quite challenging to completely prevent it. However, you can limit the damage to your tattoo as much as possible.

To start with, you will want to moisturize your skin as much as possible. In fact, moisture means elasticity and, therefore, it will help absorb the stretch. While you might still see the difference after giving birth, it will definitely be less than if it wasnt properly moisturized.

Also, it is important to note that, during pregnancy, our body uses our fatty acids to help the babys development and the mother might run low on Omegas. For this reason, go ahead and use Omega supplements to apply to your belly. We recommend getting either the Cocoa Butter Massage Lotion from Palmers or the Belly Butter by Burts Bees.

Research made by the National Institutes of Health found out that adjusting your diet to increase fatty acids by 20% would increase gestation by 5.7 days. For this reason, as a pregnant woman, you should have a fatty acid intake higher than the average.

Moreover, drink lots of water. This way, youll keep your skin hydrated and your tattoo will be more resistant to the pregnancy stretch.

To conclude, while there are high chances that your tattoo gets stretched during pregnancy, it is possible to avoid it by drinking loads and applying belly butter.

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Will Tattoos Stretch During Pregnancy

Of course, your belly grows and you want to keep that dream design of yours intact. As a woman and tattoo lover, when you get pregnant, and if you have a tattoo on your belly, you may wonder if it will stretch. Well, simply put, yes, your tattoo will stretch during pregnancy.

Although tattoos are very fashionable today, getting one inked on your belly is an inadvisable idea, especially if you intend to have children in the future.

This goes without saying that, whether you gain a lot of weight, or, on the contrary, if you lose a lot of weight, the tattoo will shrink. Though, you wont notice a big difference in your weight only changes slightly.

What Should You Do If You Get A Tattoo While Pregnant


Ultimately, the choice is yours whether you get a tattoo while pregnant. If you simply cant wait to get your ink, taking some precautions is advisable. According to the American Pregnancy Association, you should:

  • Ensure ahead of your appointment that youre working with a registered tattoo artist .
  • Make sure your tattoo artist always wears gloves during the procedure and has a sterilizing unit to sterilize their equipment. Be a stickler! Its totally merited in this instance.
  • Look around is the tattoo parlor clean and tidy, including all floors and surfaces? Dont feel bad about walking out if anything you see gives you pause.
  • Confirm with your tattoo artist that all the needles used are new, disposable, and strictly single-use.
  • Inquire about the dressings. Are they sterile? Packed? Unopened?
  • Dont overlook the dyes or ink, either. Those should also be sterile, packed, and unopened before being used on you.
  • Before you even sit in the chair, double-check that the artist will be available for the first 24 hours. If you have issues, you need to be able to touch base!

With all of this said, it merits mentioning again that the standing recommendation is to wait until after youve given birth before you get inked.

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