Can You Get A Tattoo While Pregnant? According to Experts

Can pregnant women get tattoos? This is a question that often arouses curiosity and debate among expectant mothers. Deciding to get a tattoo during pregnancy involves considering many different factors, including potential risks and safety precautions. As the popularity of tattoos continues to increase, it is even more important and necessary to pay attention to the issue of whether it is safe for pregnant women to get tattoos. 

In this post, we’ll delve into the complexities of getting a tattoo while pregnant, exploring medical perspectives, potential risks, and the importance of making informed choices during this special and meaningful period in a woman’s life.

What happens if you get a tattoo while you’re pregnant?

Initially, it can be affirmed that women who are pregnant have the option to receive tattoos. However, akin to other activities during pregnancy, one must take into account additional potential risks. Pregnant individuals desiring tattoos should engage in a conversation with their healthcare provider to understand potential implications. Ultimately, the decision of whether to undergo tattooing during pregnancy is a personal choice.

Here are the potential risks associated with getting tattoos during pregnancy.

Possible Infection

The primary concern revolves around the potential risk to the fetus of possible infection during the tattooing process or in the following weeks as the skin undergoes the healing process. According to Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, president, and co-founder of Modern Dermatology in Westport, Connecticut: If a tattoo artist uses unsterile or contaminated needles, the woman faces the possibility of exposure to infection for herself and her body. Possible consequences include hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. These infections can be transmitted from the pregnant woman to the fetus, causing serious and potentially lifelong consequences.

Additionally, a compromised immune system during pregnancy increases the risk of infection. Dr. Purdie points out, “Pregnant people’s immune systems are relatively weaker than when they are not pregnant.” This can elevate the likelihood of skin infection at the tattoo site and may lead to delayed wound healing. The severity of these risks emphasizes the importance of careful consideration and prudent decision-making for pregnant women contemplating tattoos.

MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus)

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a potentially fatal bacterial infection resistant to many antibiotics, transmitted from person to person. According to the CDC, there have been reports of MRSA being spread via tattoos by unlicensed tattooists.

MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) poses particular concerns for pregnant women due to potential complications that may arise during this critical period. If a pregnant woman contracts MRSA, the consequences can include heightened risks of severe skin infections, pneumonia, and urinary tract infections. Moreover, MRSA infections during pregnancy may increase the likelihood of preterm birth and low birth weight, which can have lasting effects on the health and development of the newborn. Additionally, the limited treatment options for MRSA, given its resistance to certain antibiotics, can pose challenges in managing infections during pregnancy. Therefore, prompt identification, careful monitoring, and effective treatment are essential to mitigate the consequences of MRSA for both the expectant mother and the well-being of the unborn child.

Allergic reaction

Pregnancy increases skin sensitivity and susceptibility to irritation, potentially intensifying the risk of adverse reactions to tattoo ink and amplifying discomfort during the tattooing process.

Additionally, considering the anticipated skin changes associated with pregnancy in the subsequent weeks and months, the tattoo’s appearance may vary. Factors such as weight fluctuations and changes in skin tightness during pregnancy, with stretching, and post-childbirth, with sagging, can impact the overall aesthetics of the tattoo. 

Exposure to harmful substances

Hazardous tattoo inks pose a risk to maternal and fetal health. Despite the fact that the typical tattoo needle penetrates only ⅛ of an inch into the skin, certain tattoo inks harbor harmful heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic, and lead. These substances can be especially perilous for a developing fetus, especially during the initial trimester when vital organs are forming. Exposure to heavy metals can detrimentally impact the baby’s brain development and elevate the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth.

Can getting a tattoo during pregnancy cause a miscarriage?

The safety of getting a tattoo during pregnancy is a matter of concern, but there is limited research on the specific risk of miscarriage associated with tattooing during pregnancy. The main worry revolves around the potential risk of infection, which could have adverse effects on both the pregnant person and the developing fetus.

While there is no direct evidence linking tattooing to miscarriage, it is generally advisable for pregnant individuals to exercise caution and prioritize their health and the well-being of the fetus. If someone is considering getting a tattoo during pregnancy, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide personalized advice based on the individual’s health status and the specific circumstances of the pregnancy.

Preparing for Getting a Tattoo During Pregnancy: What Steps Should You Take?

If, for some reason, your healthcare provider determines that it may be safe for you to get a tattoo during pregnancy, here are some general steps to consider:

Choose a Reputable Tattoo Studio

Research and choose a reputable and professional tattoo studio. Make sure they follow strict hygiene and safety protocols, including the use of sterilized equipment and disposable needles.

Discuss Your Pregnancy with the Tattoo Artist

It’s essential to have an open and honest conversation with the tattoo artist about your pregnancy. They can offer valuable insights, such as recommending a comfortable position during the session or adjusting the tattooing process to ensure your safety and the well-being of your baby.

Wait Until the Second Trimester

During the second trimester, the risk of potential complications is reduced, making it a more advisable time frame for those who choose to undergo the tattooing process during pregnancy.

Ensure Adequate Rest

Adequate rest before your tattoo appointment is crucial, as the process can be physically taxing. Taking breaks, if necessary, ensures you remain comfortable and helps optimize your overall experience during the session.

Hydrate and Eat Beforehand

Staying well-hydrated and having a nutritious meal before your tattoo appointment not only supports your energy levels but also aids in the body’s ability to cope with the potential stress associated with the tattooing process, contributing to a more comfortable experience. Proper nourishment and hydration can positively impact the overall well-being of both you and your developing baby.

Choose a Small and Simple Design

You should choose a smaller and simpler tattoo design during pregnancy as it can help minimize the time spent in the tattoo chair. This reduces physical stress on the body and the likelihood of prolonged discomfort. Additionally, shorter tattoo duration reduces exposure to the tattooing process, which may benefit both the mother-to-be and the developing fetus.

Listen to Your Body

Listening to your body is best during the tattooing process while pregnant. If you sense any discomfort, promptly communicate with the tattoo artist, and don’t hesitate to take breaks as needed. Prioritizing your well-being ensures a safer experience and allows for adjustments that cater to your comfort during this unique situation.

Can you get a tattoo while breastfeeding?

Limited research is available on the implications of getting a tattoo while breastfeeding. There is currently no conclusive evidence suggesting that the pigments used in tattoos have an impact on either milk production or the health of the baby.

Although no definitive conclusions have been drawn, many healthcare professionals exercise caution and recommend postponing tattooing until after the breastfeeding period. The concern lies in the potential for infections resulting from the tattooing process, which could be transmitted to the newborn. While breastfeeding does not transmit Hepatitis B, it’s essential to note that HIV is a condition that can be spread through breastfeeding.

What to Use For Tattoo Aftercare

Following the completion of a tattoo, it is essential to allow for adequate resting time and engage in a skin recovery cycle using safe and gentle products.

Fragrance-free: This will help to keep your tattoo moisturized and prevent it from drying out and cracking.

Pure Aloe Vera Gel: Aloe vera gel is a natural anti-inflammatory that can help to soothe the skin and reduce redness.

Vitamin E-Oil Puritan’s Pride: Vitamin E oil is another natural anti-inflammatory that can help to heal the skin.

Dickinson’s Witch Hazel Cleansing Astringent: Witch hazel is a natural astringent that can help to reduce swelling and itching.

Macro Organic Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer that can help to keep the skin hydrated.

FAQ

1. How long after having a baby can I get a tattoo?

It is recommended for mothers to consider getting a tattoo only after 9-12 months postpartum, once the child has transitioned beyond exclusive dependence on breastmilk. Trustworthy tattoo artists typically provide a waiver for clients to sign, which inquires about pregnancy and breastfeeding status.

2. Is it safe to get a tattoo while unknowingly pregnant?

If you got a tattoo before discovering your pregnancy, consult your healthcare provider for personalized advice based on your health and pregnancy stage. 

3. Can tattoo ink get into your bloodstream?

After being inserted into the dermis, not all tattoo ink remains in place, according to research. Some ink particles can migrate through the lymphatic system and bloodstream, reaching the lymph nodes. Studies conducted on mice indicate that certain ink particles might also be found in the liver.

4. Is henna safe for pregnant ladies?

Henna tattoos, or mehndi, are generally safe when applied to the skin. Made from the leaves of the henna plant, this traditional body art has been used for centuries in cultural and celebratory practices.

5. What are the most painful places to get a tattoo?

Tattooing tends to be more painful in areas with fewer muscles. These regions encompass noticeable areas like the head, chest, rib cage, stomach, nipples, face, ears, neck, groin, and armpits.

Conclusion

Getting a tattoo while pregnant is an option, it’s essential to address the question of whether it’s advisable during pregnancy. While it is feasible to undergo this process, remember to approach it with caution. Seeking advice from your doctor regarding the potential of getting a tattoo is highly important, and the ultimate decision rests with you. Pregnancy signifies the most sacred and meaningful period in a woman’s life. Beyond a mere passion for art, the primary focus should always be on prioritizing the health of both you and your children.