You Can Get a Tattoo While Pregnant — but It’s Not Without Risks
Editor's Note:We at POPSUGAR recognize that people of many genders and identities have vaginas and uteruses and experience pregnancy, not just those who are women. For this particular story, we interviewed experts who generally referred to people with vaginas and uteruses who experience pregnancy as women.
Tattoos can be a beautiful reflection of where you are in your life. Many occasions might prompt you to want a tattoo, like your nuptials (we love a wedding-ring tattoo), an anniversary, a big accomplishment, a special trip, or even a pregnancy.
But getting a tattoo comes with its own set of risks, some of which can feel heightened if you're also growing a human being. You may be wondering, "Can I get a tattoo while pregnant?" — and it's a valid concern. That's why we spoke to an expert to answer your potential safety questions, from "Can pregnant women get tattoos?" to "Can you get a tattoo while breastfeeding?"
Before you head to the tattoo parlor with your baby bump in tow, be sure to educate yourself on whether you can get tattoos while pregnant. Because when you get inked with a burgeoning belly, you're tattooing for two.
Can You Get a Tattoo While Pregnant?
Yes, but it's not risk-free. "Little information is available about the safety of skin dyes used for tattooing during pregnancy," according to the American Pregnancy Association (APA). "It is possible that the chemicals in the dye may affect the development of the baby during the first 12 weeks." There isn't yet enough evidence to determine how tattooing can affect the baby during the remainder of the pregnancy.
In addition to concerns for baby, there are also some risks for the parent. "The main concern with tattooing during pregnancy is the risk for contracting an infection such as Hepatitis B or C and HIV," Natasha Spencer, MD, an ob-gyn for Orlando Health Physician Associates, tells POPSUGAR. And since pregnant people are immunocompromised — and getting a tattoo carries with it the risk of infection — the nine months between getting a positive test and delivering your baby are not ideal for ink. "If an infection were to develop afterward, treating with antibiotics can be tricky," Dr. Spencer explains.
Due to all of these potential risks, the APA recommends waiting to get a tattoo until after your baby is born.
Can You Get a Tattoo While Breastfeeding?
The risks of getting a tattoo while breastfeeding are similar to getting a tattoo while pregnant. Transmission of disease and infection are the primary concerns. Dr. Spencer suggests waiting up to a year postpartum to get a tattoo, "especially if you are exclusively breastfeeding." There is a small but potential risk that you could pass the infection to your baby, according to the APA.
Ultimately, a new baby is a great reason to celebrate, and the decision to get a tattoo while pregnant is all yours. While there isn't a ton of evidence-based research on the fetal risks of getting a tattoo while pregnant, infection and disease remain the primary concerns. And most experts recommend that it's probably best to deliver, finish breastfeeding, and then head to the tattoo parlor.