You are experiencing the joys (and the unexpected side effects) of pregnancy and you want a permanent reminder of this beautiful time in your life. You may even want a tattoo to mark this joyous occasion. What is the risk to you, and more importantly, what is the risk to your baby if you decide to get a tattoo while you are pregnant?
The problem that most experts have with pregnant women getting tattooed is that you simply do not know how it could affect your pregnancy. During pregnancy your immune system is suppressed as it adjusts to supporting this new life and the trauma of a tattoo could be enough to cause complications. Not to mention that if this is your first tattoo, you are unaware of the side effects that may occur for your specific situation. You may already be noticing how pregnancy changes your skin and becomes sensitive to new irritants. If your skin becomes irritated from a scented lotion how much more discomfort will you experience from dyes being injected into your dermis?
If you do proceed with getting tattooed during pregnancy, take these extra precautions:
- Find a tattoo shop and artist with referrals. He needs to always open any gloves, dyes, needles and containers in front of you. Ensure that the shop you use has an autoclave for sterilizing any instruments that must be used on more than one client. These rules do not just apply to pregnancy; you should always ensure the safety and cleanliness of a shop before getting tattooed there.
- Refrain from getting tattooed in your first trimester – you and your baby are already undergoing massive changes to both of your bodies. Your best option is to get tattooed during the second trimester, when you are becoming more comfortable with your pregnant body, and your baby has developed muscles and his or her bones are becoming denser.
- Remember to check with your OB-GYN if you plan on getting a lower back tattoo as they may have a hospital policy against administering epidurals to women with tattoos at the injection site. It would be more pleasant to find out your hospital’s policy and refrain from getting a tattoo for a few months than be laboring, hoping for a relief and have your anesthesiologist put a halt on the injection because of your tattoo.
- The process of being tattooed causes surges in adrenaline, occasional hyperventilation, and stress to a person’s blood sugar. Sitting in a tattooists chair for more than an hour can cause your blood sugar to drop and cause dizziness and nausea. Ask if your tattooist will allow you to have snacks and a drink with you while you are being tattooed.
- Choose a location for your tattoo that will not become misshapen or stretched during your pregnancy. Good placements would be on your wrist, back of your neck, and shoulder blades.
- Keep in mind that no tattoo artist wants to lose his livelihood if something goes wrong with your pregnancy, so many will not risk it by tattooing a woman who knows she is pregnant. This is why many tattoo shops require prospective clients to sign a waiver saying that they are not pregnant before the shop will even collect a deposit or schedule an appointment.