Having a tattoo and being pregnant, the first question that pops into your head would be, “Is that safe?” Because the last thing you need in your body while sharing it with your baby is an infection. If your tattoo artist follows all the safety protocols, the risk is low but having so little information about skin dyes used for tattooing during pregnancy. It’s possible that the chemicals in the dye may affect the baby’s development during the first 12 weeks.
Risks of getting a tattoo while being pregnant
Getting a tattoo is a big decision; getting it while carrying your baby in your womb makes it a bigger step.
There is not enough research to prove that getting inked during pregnancy will affect your baby and its development.
The main concern about getting a tattoo at this crucial time is that if you get a bloodborne disease because of the needle or the ink used in tattooing, the chances of passing it to your growing baby are high.
Here are some of the risks that you need to know and to look out for if you did get a tattoo or are planning to get one while being pregnant:
Hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV/AIDS are just some of the bloodborne diseases you can get if you get a tattoo.
Pregnant or not, these diseases can be passed along through bodily fluids. Make sure that your tattoo artist is using sterile needles, sealed and disposable.
There is a list of safety guidelines that tattoo shops/artists should follow to get a good reputation in this field and keep their clients safe and satisfied. These are the things that you should check before booking an appointment with a tattoo artist.
2. Toxic tattoo inks
Some tattoo ink contains heavy metals like mercury, arsenic, and lead.
These ingredients are harmful to your developing baby, especially within the first trimester when their main organs develop. Heavy metals can affect your baby’s brain development and could even increase the possibility of miscarriage or stillbirth.
Some tattoo artists will refuse to give a pregnant woman a tattoo because of the unknown risks and avoid a bigger complication.
3. Pregnancy skin
During pregnancy, your skin will constantly change both in color and texture, and it keeps on changing to accommodate the baby inside.
Depending on where you decided to get your tattoo, it may or may not look the same after the pregnancy because of these changes.
Tips if you get a tattoo during pregnancy
If even after knowing all the risks, you still decided to get a tattoo or if you got a tattoo and found out that you are pregnant, here are some helpful tips to make sure that you and your baby will be safe and that the chances of getting an infection will be the least of your concern during the pregnancy period.
1. Do your research
In choosing the tattoo shop, you want to make sure that they have a clean environment and follow safety regulations. Check with your local health department to find out local regulations regarding tattooing.
In choosing your tattoo artist, you might want to take this a little personal and talk to someone you know who got their tattoo and ask for their honest feedback.
In my case, my tattoo artist was recommended by a friend who is very specific with safety protocols and the safety of his clients.
2. Check the ink
Ask your artist what type of tattoo ink they use and if it has heavy metals in the ingredients. If they do have these ingredients, you might want to wait it out after your pregnancy because heavy metals like mercury, arsenic, and lead could affect your baby’s development, especially for the first 12 weeks.
You also want to check if the inks being used have been recalled. You can see information about this on the FDA website.
3. Be transparent
Let your tattoo artist know that you are pregnant and how far in your pregnancy you are, some tattoo artists will refuse to do a tattoo if you are pregnant, but some will just need your signed consent and will push through but not on body parts near your stomach.
4. Sterilization procedures
Confirm with the tattoo shop or artist about their sterilization procedures and how frequently it is being done. You also want to make sure that all the needles are new, sealed, and disposable.
The ink used for your tattoo should also be sealed, and the gloves that the artist will wear in doing your tattoo.
5. Tattoo placement
If you are thinking about getting a tattoo somewhere in your abdominal area or your lower back, you might want to wait a few months after you give birth to your baby.
Doctors may refuse to give you an epidural if your tattoo in your lower back is still healing or looks red, has scaly skin, or is infected.
6. Tattoo care
Do proper care of your tattoo and make sure that it will heal as fast as it can, keep it clean and avoid extreme sun exposure as well as swimming while the tattoo is still healing.
Contact your local healthcare provider to prevent the infection from spreading more for any signs of rash or irritation.
Will an existing tattoo cause problems during pregnancy?
No, the healed tattoo should not cause any problems for you or your baby during pregnancy, but weight gain and stretching of the skin can distort a tattoo, and stretch marks can also damage a tattoo.
Skin is more sensitive during pregnancy, so if the skin around your tattoo feels irritated, talk with your healthcare provider about appropriate treatment.
Can I have a tattoo removed during pregnancy?
No, it is strongly discouraged to have a tattoo removal when you are pregnant because the procedure will use a laser that will break the ink into small pieces, and your body will have to absorb then flush.
It also takes several treatment sessions, which is not advisable if you have a growing baby that shares your body fluids for their life.
If you got a tattoo without knowing that you are pregnant and then realize it afterward, the best thing you could do is take extra good care of your tattoo and make sure that it’s always clean and will heal fast.
The faster it heals, the fewer chances it could catch any infection, the better for you and your growing baby.
If you feel like it is having irritation or is not healing the way it should, contact your local healthcare provider to apply proper care.
We hope you found this article helpful and gave you answers to some of your questions. For the best advice, always talk to your OB-GYN or your local health providers. Feel free to leave us your thought in the comment section below. Stay healthy and happy!