Is it safe to get a tattoo while pregnant?

Okay, let’s forget about the whole dirty needle argument here because you shouldn’t be getting tattoos in a dirty tattoo parlour to start with – you can pick up a whole load of nasty like hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV – so let’s just put that aside.

Assuming that you’re in a clean tattoo place, it still looks like it’s not recommended that you get a tattoo when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

There are a couple of reasons. The main reason is that you could have a strange reaction to the ink or pick up an infection after you’ve gotten the tattoo. Your immune system is suppressed during pregnancy and your skin can be sensitive, so the general consensus is to hold off until the baby gets here and you’re finished nursing.

Secondly, nobody wants anything to do with any lawsuits if something goes off the rails and you blame the tattoo.

Okay, cool.

But what if you found out you were pregnant just days after getting that majestic eagle in full flight across your back? Well, it doesn’t look like there is anything to worry about. Just take really good care of it and keep an eye out for infection or weird skin reactions while it heals. Most of the concern comes from getting any unnecessary procedures done when your body is in an immune suppressed state rather than any actual tattoo dangers.

There is some ink safety talk but that seems to be due to the lack of studies done as opposed to any evidence.

As for current tattoos – you know, the one that says “virgin” – don’t worry about it, you’re perfectly fine to be walking around with that while you’re pregnant. Depending on where it is, it might say “wgm” by the time you’re done but I’m sure you can have it turned into an awesome butterfly later so who cares.

Now if your tattoo is on your lower back, there has been some discussion on whether it’s safe to get an epidural in that spot, as the ink may get transferred into your spine. Most sites seem to think you could find a non-inked location to insert the needle but I would suggest bringing that up ahead of time if you think that might be a route you’d want to go – you don’t want to be in the throws of labour with a twitchy anesthesiologist humming and hawing on whether it’s doable or not.

So hold off on the ink if you’re pregnant but don’t worry if it’s already there or if you want to get it once the weeble arrives and/or you’re finished breastfeeding. Although, you may want to wait until your baby is sleeping through the night before you start putting permanent things on your body or you might end up with a tattoo of a dairy cow under the tribal symbol for “tired”.

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