When you’re pregnant, there are plenty of do’s and don’ts. Some women may wonder, can you get a tattoo while pregnant?
A tattoo requires puncturing the skin with needles and injecting ink and dyes into the deep layer of the skin. Since everything that goes into your body can be passed to your unborn baby, many women may be concerned about the risks of getting a tattoo while pregnant. Read on to learn about the potential risks as well as if it’s safe to get a tattoo while pregnant or if you should wait.
Is it safe to get a tattoo while pregnant?
Since tiny needles are being used under your skin when you get a tattoo, the main concern about getting a tattoo while pregnant is the chance of infection. Hepatitis B and HIV are the main concerns. If a dirty needle is used during your tattoo, there is a chance of getting one of these illnesses. The risk of contracting these illnesses is rare but still needs to be considered when you’re talking about getting a tattoo while pregnant. When you are pregnant this risk extends to your unborn child.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, it is possible that the chemicals used in the tattoo dye may affect the baby’s development during the first 12 weeks in the womb. However, the risks remain unknown as well as how getting a tattoo while pregnant may affect the baby further along in the pregnancy.
Because there is little known about the effects of tattoo dye and needles during pregnancy, many doctors advise that you wait until the baby is born to get a tattoo.
If you are still planning on getting tattooed while pregnant despite the general advice to wait, you should follow these rules:
- Make sure the tattoo artist knows you are pregnant
- Inspect all needles to make sure they are new and clean
- Make sure the tattoo artist is licensed (most places have these on the wall, if not, ask to see one)
- Check that the tattoo artist is using an autoclave (unit to clean and sterilize equipment in between uses, or disposable equipment)
Risks and Side Effects of Getting a Tattoo While Pregnant
While you may want to get a tattoo while you’re pregnant to commemorate this special time in your life, there are things to take into consideration before you sign up. Remember tattoos are pretty much permanent (you could always get it removed, but why go through the pain twice?). Think about these things first…
- Changing Skin. During pregnancy everything changes, including your skin. What may look good when you’re four months pregnant can look totally different at nine months pregnant. It may be best to wait until after your pregnancy to see the condition of your skin so that you can place the tattoo in the best spot.
- Epidural Questions. Many women choose to put tattoos on their backs. That’s why many wonder if they will still be able to get an epidural if they have a fresh tattoo in that spot. Some doctors get concerned that the epidural needle could push freshly tattooed skin into the spinal column, possible leading to infection. While there is little medical research to support this concern, it should still be discussed with your doctor.
Are henna tattoos safe during pregnancy?
When you ask can you get a tattoo while pregnant, many women also inquire about henna tattoos. Henna is a temporary dye that is used on the skin to create a design.
For thousands of years, women in the Middle East and other parts of the world have applied henna tattoos to their pregnant bellies during their third trimester. There is a belief that having a henna tattoo will bring a safe delivery and happy baby. Henna tattoos have grown in popularity here in the United States as well.
Henna tattoos are temporary and typically last anywhere from one to three weeks. They are reddish-brown in color and are made from a flowering-plant that typically grows in Africa and Asia. The henna is ground into a paste and applied onto the skin in a design to form the tattoo. Unlike traditional tattoos, nothing is injected into the skin. But, since it is applied onto the skin, it is still being absorbed and can lead to reactions. That concern lead the FDA to issue a warning about the potential dangers of henna.
If you are using henna, it is advised to use reddish-brown henna only and to stay away from black henna. It contains PPD (para- phenylendiamine) which can lead to burns and blisters. The reaction can be severe and can last for months.
Generally speaking henna tattoos are safe during pregnancy. But before you run out to get one, consult your doctor to make sure it’s right for you. Women with the following conditions are typically advised not to get a henna tattoo while pregnant.
- G6DP Deficiency
- Any condition which affects your blood system or immune system
If you are getting a henna tattoo and start feeling faint for any reason or get cramping or severe joint pain be sure to stop immediately and call your doctor.
Are eyebrow tattoos safe during pregnancy?
Some women look for makeup tattoos, such as eyebrow tattoos during pregnancy. This is sometimes referred to as microblading. The problem with these is that many of them involve applying deep ink into the uppermost layers of the skin. This poses the same risks as tattoos applied to other parts of your body.
You also need to take into consideration that the skin around the eye can change just as much as skin on other parts of your body during pregnancy. You may become swollen or the skin may begin to sag.
Since pregnancy can affect blood flow, the color of your skin may change while pregnant. A make-up tattoo may not look natural once the baby is born and may also damage the hair follicles on your eyebrow. As with other tattoos, what looks good at four months pregnant may not necessarily look good at nine months pregnant.
If you’re still interested in getting a tattoo while pregnant be sure to discuss it with your doctor first. When you ask can you get a tattoo while pregnant, your doctor will most likely say no! It’s safer to just wait until the baby is born to avoid any potential dangers.