Is It Safe To Get A Tattoo During Pregnancy?


Getting a tattoo is a cool idea. But if you are thinking of getting a tattoo during pregnancy, think again! As an expecting mum, you may feel like making this phase memorable by getting inked. A tattoo is a fashion statement nowadays. It might look cool, but it is not completely safe. More so if you are pregnant.

Getting a tattoo might make you vulnerable to dangerous infections like HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C etc.  The ink of the tattoo can enter your blood and cause infection.  Though the risks are less, it is better to take precautions.

What are the risks of getting a tattoo?

tattoo during pregnancy

Some research shows that the ink used in making tattoos can penetrate your skin and reach your blood. Rarely, there have been instances of the tattoo ink being stained with bacteria. The tattooing process might also leave open pores in your skin. This can become a site for contracting bacterial infections that can become a threat to you and your baby.

Tattooing involves needles. No matter how safe and famous the tattoo parlor is, you can never be sure about the safety of the needles used. A non-sterilized needle is primary agent of blood borne infections like HIV, hepatitis B etc. These infections can prove fatal to you. There is also high risk of your baby contracting these infections even in the womb.

There is a concern among doctors about doing epidurals on women with tattoos on their lower back.  The lower back is a popular spot for tattoos among women. Medical professional think that while getting epidural, the needle can push the pigmented tissue of your tattooed skin into the spinal column. This might lead to infections. It is not proven yet that tattoo can affect epidural during delivery but it is better to err on the side of caution.


If you get your tattoo done in areas which stretch during pregnancy then the tattoo will get distorted post delivery. Some areas of your body like abdomen, buttocks, thighs and breast stretch a lot during pregnancy. The tattoo might look symmetrical once done but it will lose the symmetry when your skin stretches the more you advance in your pregnancy.  The stretch marks are also prone in these particular spots of your body. The tattoo will not look the same at all with stretch marks covering it.

Getting inked is an extremely painful process. It is unbearable to many people. If you are pregnant, this pain might turn out to be fatal for you. Any kind of body stress or pain is dangerous during pregnancy. There is also a risk of fainting from this pain. It could also initiate premature labor and put your baby at risk. The risk is even more if you go for a tattoo closer to your delivery.

During pregnancy your skin is more sensitive. The piercing of the needle for tattoo can be a shock to your sensitive skin. This can lead to your water breaking before time. Premature labor is a risk to the well being of your baby. It can cause complications in your baby’s health. Miscarriage is also an option that cannot be entirely ruled out. Getting a tattoo done in your pregnancy is risky in this way.

It is likely that the chemicals in the ink can affect your baby during the first 12 weeks. The chemicals in the dyes get absorbed in your skin while getting a tattoo. Small quantity of these chemicals may not affect an adult body, but it can be dangerous to the fetus. Though it is not proven that the chemicals can affect the baby in the womb, it is not unlikely as well.


  • Ensure that the tattoo parlor you choose is licensed. It is very important not to get your tattoo from any place which is not authorized. A licensed parlor will at least ensure safety and hygiene.
  • Check the instruments used for tattooing. Make sure that they are clean and the needle is sterilized. A non sterilized needle will make you susceptible to deadly diseases like HIV/AIDS.
  • A new needle is a must for safety. Make sure the tattooist is using fresh new needle on your skin. This is very important to avoid infections and other complications in your pregnancy.
  • It is necessary to use sterile water to mix the inks of your tattoo.  The inks should also be unopened. Ensure that your tattooist follow these hygiene rules.
  • Ask your tattooist to wear latex gloves that are disposable while inking you. Hygiene of the tattooist is also important to avoid health problem in future.
  • It is extremely crucial that you sincerely follow the aftercare instructions after getting the tattoo. Not caring about the area of the tattoo can cause skin problems and infections. This might be even more dangerous during pregnancy.
  • Always check with your doctor before going for a tattoo. Your doctor will be able to advice you best on the risks of getting inked during pregnancy and the precautions to follow.


It is natural to wish to make your pregnancy memorable with a tattoo.  Many expecting mamas go for tattoos these days to etch these memories permanently.  Even if you are tempted to get inked, it is better to be wise about this. There are a few risks associated with tattooing during pregnancy. Although it is not a proven fact that tattoos negatively impact your health and your baby. The risks are minimal but cannot be ruled out completely. After all nothing can be more important to you than your baby’s well being. It is therefore better to avoid getting a tattoo done while you are with child. Still if you are very determined to get inked, always consult with your doctor. If there are any complications after getting a tattoo, immediately check with your physician. Things can turn critical if you do not get medical attention in time.