Tattoos are modifications to the skin made with temporary or permanent ink. People go for a tattoo as an embodiment of their special people or dates. They are quite common in pregnancy as well, as a way of honoring the expected child but women often ask can you get tattooed while pregnant? The answer lies in the fact that if all the necessary precautions and risks are addressed properly, tattoos have no reported harm during pregnancy.
- You can get a tattoo during pregnancy after considering and eliminating the possible risk factors
- The first trimester is the most critical period hence it is not recommended to get tattooed during this period
- Skin tattoos imply the use of metal-containing inks which are regulated by the FDA
- In order to avoid miscarriage and other fetal infections and abnormalities during preganancy, it is recommended to take final approval from an OBS-Gynae.
Can you get Tattooed while Pregnant?
There are certain risks associated with getting a tattoo on any part of your body but that implies to everybody, whether pregnant or not. However, the developing fetus is also at risk during pregnancy so it is recommended to get a clean chit from your OBS-Gyne before getting tattooed while pregnant.
Tattoos are generally made using special inks made of metals such as lead, arsenic, and mercury. The inks used for the process are regulated by FDA and are according to the recommended standards of safety.
Risks associated with getting Tattooed during Pregnancy
Before making a sound decision, it is essential to go through the risks linked to getting tattooed during pregnancy. Some of these risks are listed here;
Metal Containing Ink Ingredients
The ink used for making a tattoo may be permanent or temporary and contains metals such as mercury, lead, or arsenic. These metals can be carcinogenic and also harm the developing fetus.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also indicates the risk of miscarriage with exposure to lead in pregnant women, especially during the first trimester when the fetus is developing the organs.
These metals can also result in premature or stillbirths when transferred to the fetus through the placenta. However, the inks used for getting a tattoo must be as per the FDA advice, as they contain a safe proportion of metals.
Increased Risk of Infectious Disease
Getting a tattoo increases the risk of getting blood-borne infectious diseases such as Hepatitis B, C, HIV, and AIDS. The use of unhygienic practices such as common needles and unsanitized tools can increase the chances of the disease spreading from one person to the other. The chances of the infection are increased due to compromised immunity in pregnancy.
These diseases are transmitted from the mother to the developing fetus. 90% of newborns with hepatitis B have a lifelong infection.
Skin Changes during Pregnancy
Various skin conditions occur during pregnancy including melasma and temporary skin darkening. Moreover, the skin becomes sensitive to even minor discomforts so getting a tattoo can increase the risk of developing skin rashes and scars.
The body also undergoes various skin changes which involve muscle stretching during delivery. The tattoo’s ink may spread and change its originality hence this risk should be kept in mind before getting a tattoo during pregnancy.
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An epidural injection may be required during delivery to numb the pain caused during labor. A tattooed skin generally become scarred, rashed, and scaled. This increases the risk of skin allergies when an epidural is injected into such areas.
Factors to consider while getting Tattooed during Pregnancy
Some of the noticeable factors or precautions that need special consideration while getting tattooed in pregnant women include;
- Consider the Stage of Pregnancy: It is crucial to consider the pregnancy trimester before making a decision of getting a skin tattoo. The first trimester is the most crucial stage of pregnancy as the fetus is developing its organs. So any exposure to harmful metals can cause deformities in the fetus
Read to know the hidden pregnancy signs and symptoms
- The Medical Condition of the Expected Mother: A complete medical check-up is recommended for the pregnant woman to look for any skin allergies and dermatological issues as they can get worsened due to the scarring and irritation during tattoo formation
- Sterilization Practices: Get the tattoo only from a professional and well-renowned place. Carefully evaluate the hygienic practices of the staff as the use of non-sterilized equipment can increase the risk of infections.
Limited data is available supporting the evidence of any harm to the fetus while getting a tattoo during pregnancy. It is recommended to discuss the whole process with a gynecologist including the type of ink being used to get a tattoo during pregnancy. The best gynecologist can help you make an informed decision based on your pregnancy risks and other factors.
Alternatives to Permanent Tattoos during Pregnancy
Various alternatives are available in the market as a substitute for inked tattoos. They include;
- Temporary Tattoos: They do not contain the metals which impose a major risk on the developing fetus
- Henna Tattoos: They are the safest option that does not possess the above-mentioned risks. Chemical-free, natural henna is easily available in the market that can fulfill the job of a tattoo without causing any health risks to the mother or the fetus.
Aftercare for a Tattoo during Pregnancy
If you have got your tattoo, it is advised to practice the following aftercare to avoid complications;
- Clean the area regularly
- Do not rub the area as it can cause swelling
- Avoid using any irritant creams or cosmetics
- Follow the advice of the tattooer carefully
The best solution to the problem that can you get tattooed while pregnant is to patiently wait until after pregnancy. Although you can get tattooed after a recommendation from your OBS-Gynecologist yet to avoid even minor discomfort, it is a safe option to wait for your delivery.
Pregnancy does not limit the formation of a skin tattoo but it is required to pay considerable attention to the possible risk factors such as infections and skin allergies while getting a tattoo. The ink used for the purpose must be regulated by FDA as any alternation in the ratio of metals can impart fatal effects on the developing fetus and the mother. It is highly recommended to get expert advice from a gynecologist to avoid any complications.
1. Can the pain caused by tattoos harm the baby?
The pain iteself does not impart any risk to the baby however if any blood-borne infection or skin disease has developed, it can be transmitted to the baby through the placenta.
2. Does the tattoo ink affect breast milk?
The tattoo ink is sealed in the first layer of the skin and there is no evidence of the transmission of the ink to the breast milk. Hence, no additional risks are imposed on the feeding child.