Pregnant women are often looking for the best way to remember this special moment in their lives. From pregnancy photo shots to getting a tattoo, there are endless ways to record your memories. But tattoos and pregnancy may not work well together.
Before making an appointment with your favorite tattooist, make sure you’re well aware of all the risks and hazards you’re exposed.
TATTOOS AND PREGNANCY: ASSOCIATED RISKS
Health experts and tattooists advise against getting a tattoo while pregnant. While it’s difficult finding a professional who’ll be willing to give you a tattoo while you’re expecting a baby if you do find one you should only make an appointment after you fully understand all the risks of this procedure.
The biggest risk is the risk of infection. Hepatitis B and C, HIV, and other transmissible infections can be contracted while getting a tattoo. And when pregnant, the infections can easily pass to the baby.
Although the ink rarely enters your bloodstream, infected ink or infected needles pose important risks. To avoid this, it’s essential to choose a licensed tattoo artist that works in a studio equipped with state-of-the-art equipment.
It’s not yet clear if and how ink affects baby development, but the stress you go through under the procedure can take its toll. In the rare cases in which ink does enter your bloodstream, the pigments can get to your lymph nodes and trigger a defensive body reaction.
This immune response can influence the intrauterine baby development, with subsequent consequences that in some cases can even terminate the pregnancy.
There aren’t many studies that demonstrate a correlation between side effects of epidural anesthesia and tattoos, but most anesthetists refuse giving you an epidural if you have a fresh tattoo in your lower back area.
This because theories suggest the needle could push the pigments into the spinal column where it can trigger immune reactions or infections. And nobody wants to take this risk.
Getting a tattoo while pregnant can lead to premature labor if you are sensitive to pain. Again, this is a reaction triggered by the stress your body goes through. To avoid this, the best thing is to wait to get the tattoo until after giving birth.
Last but not least, you should also consider the beauty of your tattoo. Since getting a tattoo in the first trimester is never recommended, getting it in the second or third trimester, when your skin is all stretched by fluid accumulation in your tissues might lead to a not-so-flattering result.
The artwork might look good at first, but when you’ll get back to your pre-pregnancy body shape, the tattoo could get all distorted.
There is also the risk to ruin your brand-new design with stretch marks that could appear in the middle of your artwork.
TATTOOS AND PREGNANCY: SAFETY PRECAUTIONS
Before getting a tattoo while pregnant, let the tattooist know about your condition. In the case they agree tattooing you, at least they’ll be able to make all necessary preparations to accommodate a pregnant woman.
Apart from this, here are a few safety precautions to consider:
- Make sure the tattooist is a registered practitioner.
- Visit the studio before making an appointment to assess hygiene. The floors and working areas should be clean.
- Make sure the tattooist is wearing disposable gloves while performing the procedure.
- Make sure the studio is equipped with an autoclave or other sterilization equipment.
- All needles should be new and disposable. Never agree to get tattooed with needles that don’t come from a sterile packaging.
- Make sure all inks are new and that they come from a sterile package too.
- Talk to the tattooist and make sure you can contact them in the case of an emergency, should you feel sick after the procedure.
EXISTING TATTOOS AND PREGNANCY
If you already had a tattoo when you got pregnant, there is nothing much to worry about. If the tattoo is on your belly, tights, or breasts, the artwork can stretch and lose its shape during pregnancy. The tattoo can also get damaged by stretch marks.
If the tattoo was made in less than ideal conditions and you never got tested for infections, it’s a good idea to make a blood test for hepatitis, HIV, and other viral infections that can be contracted while getting a tattoo. Other than this, there is nothing to worry about.
HENNA TATTOOS AND PREGNANCY
In many cultures, getting a henna tattoo in the last trimester is considered to bring luck and fortune to the baby. This temporary alternative is a non-invasive procedure that doesn’t harm you or the baby, as long as the henna involved in the procedure is natural.
Natural henna is available in a wide range of earthy tones that go from orange to chocolate brown, but it’s never black.
Black henna is not natural and contains para-phenylenediamine. This substance can cause rashes, dermatitis, and various reactions that are hard to identify and treat. Unsafe for all women, pregnant or not, black henna is to be avoided during pregnancy.
New tattoos and pregnancy aren’t a winning combination. Remembering these special moments with a tattoo is a great idea if you love decorating your skin, but wait for it until the baby is born.