If you’re pregnant, you already know there are a lot of rules you’re ~supposed to~ follow, like only drink one cup of coffee a day, don’t drink alcohol, skip hair dye, avoid retinol—and that’s just the start. But what about tattoos? Can you get a tattoo while pregnant? If you’ve ever found yourself combing through the internet for answers, only to end up more confused, I’ve gotchu. I consulted dermatologist Fatima Fahs, MD, and ob-gyns Lauren Demosthenes, MD, and Mary Jane Minkin, MD, for the truth about getting pregnancy tattoos, once and for all.
Can you get a tattoo while pregnant?
There’s no clear-cut answer written in ob-gyn stone somewhere, but experts tend to agree that no, it’s not ideal to get a tattoo while pregnant. “Most dermatology and OB experts advise against getting a tattoo during pregnancy or while breastfeeding,” says Dr. Demosthenes. The main reason why? It’s just too risky. “Pregnancy takes a toll on the body and can decrease the immune system’s full function,” says Dr. Fahs, which means that getting a tattoo while pregnant could pose an “increased risk of infection.” It’s also important to remember that—although rare—getting tattooed puts you at a risk of contracting hepatitis B and HIV (if your practitioner uses unsafe tattooing protocols or sterilization procedures), which is especially not ideal when you’re pregnant.
Aside from the safety risks, there’s also the pain to consider, if this is your first tattoo. The level of pain you’ll feel often depends on the tattoo’s location (ribs, hips, feet, ankles, neck, backs of knees, or insides of elbows tend to be the most painful, especially if the tattoo is large, tattoo artist JoJo Roman previously told Cosmo), but you can expect it to feel like a continual cat scratch or a hot needle scratching across your skin. So if you’re already having a not-so-fun time during your pregnancy, you may not want to add the additional (and risky) pain to your life.
More From Cosmopolitan
Can getting a tattoo during pregnancy cause a miscarriage?
Both Dr. Demosthenes and Dr. Minkin say there isn’t enough data to show whether or not getting a tattoo increases the risk of miscarrying (which is why you should always consult with your own ob-gyn first). Still, both experts agree that getting a tattoo that results in a miscarriage would be “super rare,” says Dr. Demosthenes, though it could be “reasonable to link the two,” if you were to get a serious infection early in your pregnancy from the tattoo.
Can you get a tattoo in early pregnancy?
To be safe, you should avoid getting a tattoo in early pregnancy too (even a tiny tattoo or fine-line tattoo). Though Dr. Fahs doesn’t recommend risking a tattoo at all during pregnancy, she notes it’s especially important to avoid it during the organogenesis stage (the first 12 weeks when the fetus is forming organs). So just because you don’t have a visible baby bump doesn’t mean it’s safe to get a tattoo.
What should I do if I get a tattoo during pregnancy?
If you do decide to get a tattoo while pregnant—and got it cleared by your ob-gyn!—make sure to tell your tattoo artist that you’re pregnant while making the appointment. Many artists may not feel comfortable with the risks, so you don’t want to show up to an appointment just to be told to leave. And remember to consider the placement of your tattoo: “The area of skin you’re tattooing may change with pregnancy,” say Dr. Fahs, noting that a tattoo on your abdomen or hips will stretch a lot during pregnancy and may not look the same or heal in the same shape once you’ve given birth.
Your tattoo after-care starter pack
Woo Skin Essentials After/Care Moisturizer
If you’ve still gone through with the tattoo, despite these warnings (!), make sure to keep the area as clean as possible afterward to avoid infection. Cleanse the tattoo twice a day with a super-gentle cleanser (i.e., no salicylic or glycolic acid) and always layer on a fragrance-free lotion for tattoos, which will help your tattoo heal faster and also prevent the ink from fading as as quickly.
Though scabbing is normal after you get your tattoo, make sure to avoid: (1) scratching or picking at it (again, the entire goal here is preventing an infection); (2) wearing tight clothing over your tattoo until it’s fully healed; and (3) bodies of water—like oceans, lakes, pools, and bathtubs—for two weeks. Once your tattoo is fully healed, usually after 2-3 weeks, remember to always (always) cover it with an SPF 50 sunscreen for tattoos to prevent the ink from fading or changing colors.
And one last important note: If your tattoo suddenly feels warm, drains pus, or feels inordinately painful and tender, consult your doctor immediately, as these are signs of an infection. Call your ob-gyn and/or head to the ER if you’re pregnant; the sooner you catch the infection, the better.
Can you get an epidural with a tattoo on your lower back?
There are no “official” recommendations to avoid an epidural if you have a tattoo on your lower back, says Dr. Fahs, because there is conflicting data on whether or not ink from a tattoo can be transferred to the spinal cord. “Most of the evidence suggests that it is safe to have an epidural with a back tattoo,” says Dr. Demosthenes, but she notes that “some anesthesiologists will not place an epidural through a tattoo on your back—so it might be best to find out your labor and delivery policy ahead of time.”
Because of the lack of research currently available, anesthesiologists tend to rely on their own clinical judgment when deciding if they “feel comfortable placing a needle for an epidural anesthetic through a tattooed area,” says Dr. Minkin. So if you have a lower back tattoo and want an epidural, make sure to talk to your care team early in pregnancy about any concerns prior to your delivery.
How soon after pregnancy can you get a tattoo?
How soon you can get a tattoo after pregnancy depends on your delivery (i.e., whether or not you had complications, a C-section, a vaginal birth, an extended stay at the hospital, etc.), but Dr. Demosthenes says, “the best thing to do is to plan to get your tattoo after you have finished breastfeeding.” Because there’s always a risk for infection and allergic reaction with tattoos—which could affect breastfeeding— you should wait one to two weeks after you’ve finished.
If you’re not breastfeeding, Dr. Minkin advises waiting at least six weeks after delivery to get your tattoo, which is when the major hormonal changes in the body have typically resolved. However, she notes that “weight changes may be ongoing and skin stretching issues may take a while,” so you may want to wait even longer to prevent your tattoo from getting distorted as your body heals.
While there are no specific guidelines around getting a tattoo while pregnant, dermatologists, ob-gyns, and tattoo artists don’t recommend it. Wait until you’ve recovered from birth and finished with breastfeeding, when your hormones have stabilized and your body has had a chance to heal. As you and your baby books/apps/text threads have already told you, there’s so much to worry about while you’re pregnant anyways, so let’s not make an infected tattoo one of ‘em, k?
Meet the experts:
- Fatima Fahs, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist at Hamzavi Dermatology in Canton, MI. She is also the founder of the Dermy Doc Box, a quarterly subscription beauty box filled with dermatologist-approved skincare favorites.
- Lauren Demosthenes, MD, is an ob-gyn at Prisma Health in Greenville, SC. She is also an associate professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville and the senior medical director at Babyscripts, an app for virtual maternity care.
- Mary Jane Minkin, MD, is a board-certified ob-gyn in New Haven, CT specializing in menopause. She is also a clinical professor in the department of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at the Yale University School of Medicine.
- JoJo Roman is a tattoo artist and co-owner of Chronic Ink tattoo studios in Toronto, ON, CA and Vancouver, BC, CA. She is also the founder of Skin Dip Beauty, a CBD tattoo balm. Roman was previously interviewed about what a tattoo feels like.
Why trust Cosmopolitan?
Beth Gillette is the beauty editor at Cosmopolitan with four years of experience researching, writing, and editing skincare stories that range from under-eye bag treatments to blind pimples. She’s an authority in all skincare categories, but is an expert when it comes to tattoo care, thanks to researching tricks for healing her own tattoos quicker. She regularly tests and analyzes skincare products for efficacy, while working with the industry’s top dermatologists and tattoo artists to assess new formulas and brands.
Beth Gillette is the beauty editor at Cosmopolitan, where she covers skincare, makeup, hair, nails, and more across digital and print. She can generally be found in bright eyeshadow furiously typing her latest feature or hemming and hawing about a new product you "have to try." Prior to Cosmopolitan, she wrote and edited beauty content as an Editor at The Everygirl for four years. Follow her on Instagram for makeup selfies and a new hair 'do every few months.
Wait, Can You Get a Tattoo While Pregnant? ›
The main concern with getting a tattoo during pregnancy is the risk of contracting an infection, such as Hepatitis B and HIV. Although the risk is small, it is recommended that you wait to get a tattoo until after your baby is born.Will tattoo shops let you get a tattoo while pregnant? ›
If you want to get a tattoo while pregnant, do your research and find a reputable shop before booking an appointment. Many artists won't tattoo on pregnant women, so be sure to inform the shop and your artist ahead of time to avoid any last-minute issues.Has anyone had a tattoo while pregnant? ›
The short answer is yes, you can get a tattoo while pregnant. But it isn't risk-free, Rachel Nazarian, MD, board-certified dermatologist based in New York, told Health.What are the cons of getting a tattoo while pregnant? ›
During pregnancy, the skin becomes more sensitive than usual. Pricking from needles is something that you should generally avoid. The tattooing process can also send you into early labor due to shock caused to the body.Do tattoos hurt more when pregnant? ›
Your skin can be much more sensitive to touch (and pain) during pregnancy, which could mean that getting a tattoo will be more painful than usual. Keep this in mind when making your decision. Keeping the tattoo clean after the procedure is also important in order to avoid infection.Does tattoo ink cross the placenta? ›
Then body then removes them naturally through the lymphatic system. At this time there is no definitive research to prove that treated ink particle do or do not cross the fetal placental barrier. This could mean the absorption of ink is completely harmless for both mother and baby.Can you dye your hair while pregnant? ›
Good news: getting your hair dyed while pregnant is considered safe, especially in the second and third trimesters. Since most hair dyes have little contact with your scalp, the chance of any chemicals reaching your bloodstream, and therefore your baby, is low.Can you dye your hair when pregnant? ›
The chemicals in permanent and semi-permanent hair dyes are not highly toxic. Most research, although limited, shows it's safe to colour your hair while pregnant.Can you get a tattoo while pregnant and breastfeeding? ›
The Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health advises against pregnant or breastfeeding moms getting tattooed. And while there is no evidence to suggest a newly tattooed mom's breast milk poses a risk to her baby, the possibility of mom contracting an infection is a major area of concern.When should you not get a tattoo? ›
If you have a medical problem such as heart disease, allergies, diabetes, skin problems like eczema or psoriasis, a weak immune system, or a bleeding problem, talk to your doctor before getting a tattoo. Also, if you get keloids (an overgrowth of scar tissue) you probably should not get a tattoo.
Can I get a tattoo 4 weeks postpartum? ›
It is suggested that mothers wait at least until 9-12 months after birth, when the child is no longer dependent solely on breastmilk before getting a tattoo. Reputable tattoo artists will have a waiver for the client to sign that asks about pregnancy and breastfeeding.Can you get pregnant while pregnant? ›
Superfetation is a phenomenon that occurs when a pregnant woman releases an egg, usually a few weeks into her pregnancy, and it's fertilized and implants in the uterus. The result is two separate pregnancies happening at the same time.Can I get a tattoo at 3 months pregnant? ›
The main concern with getting a tattoo during pregnancy is the risk of contracting an infection, such as Hepatitis B and HIV. Although the risk is small, it is recommended that you wait to get a tattoo until after your baby is born.Can I get my nails done while pregnant? ›
Some people wonder if you can get your nails done during pregnancy since polishes and polish removers contain many chemicals. Most experts agree that manicures and pedicures are safe during pregnancy. If you go to a professional salon with good safety standards, you can enjoy some pampering while you're expecting.Can dogs sense that your pregnant? ›
Because a huge part of a dog's brain is devoted to analyzing odors, dogs are able to pick up on different scents resulting from chemical changes, cancer, insulin levels, bombs, drugs, a person's menstrual cycle, and even pregnancy, according to Russ Hartstein, a certified behaviorist and dog trainer in Los Angeles.What tattoos stretch during pregnancy? ›
Women experience changes to their skin during pregnancy. It's inevitable! As your tummy stretches, so may any tattoos that you have around your waist, pelvis or mid-section. Stretch marks occur as your baby grows.What products can you not use while pregnant? ›
- Retin-A, Retinol and Retinyl Palmitate. These vitamin A derivatives and others can lead to dangerous birth defects. ...
- Tazorac and Accutane. ...
- Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic acids. ...
- Essential Oils. ...
- Hydroquinone. ...
- Aluminum chloride. ...
- Formaldehyde. ...
- Chemical Sunscreens.
There aren't any known cases of getting tattoos before pregnancy affecting your baby or your health while pregnant. There has been a study into tattoos and fertility by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), which suggests that some of the ingredients of tattoo ink could impact your reproductive health.Can a hairdresser tell if your pregnant? ›
'Yes, hairdressers can tell when you're pregnant and I'll tell you how,' she said. Samantha needs to be familiar with the client and their usual hair to note the differences that may be caused by pregnancy.Can I get Botox while pregnant? ›
The consensus in recent years was that Botox, for cosmetic purposes, should be avoided in expectant mothers as there is not a medical need for these injections.
Can I drink a Coke while pregnant? ›
Yes. The Food Standards Agency recommends that pregnant women shouldn't take more than 200mg of caffeine a day. A can of Coca‑Cola Classic contains 32mg of caffeine and a can of Diet Coke contains 42mg.Can you get acrylic nails while pregnant? ›
It's safe to get acrylic nails during pregnancy, though you may want to avoid them if your nails are weaker than usual. During pregnancy, you may experience nail changes. Your nails may grow faster and stronger, so it might be really nice to get them done.Can you drink coffee while pregnant? ›
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that pregnant women limit their caffeine consumption to less than 200 mg (about two, six-ounce cups) per day.Can I bleach hair while pregnant? ›
If you want to go for a lighter shade on your head, bleaching is usually the tool of choice. And like hair dye, hair bleaching products are likely safe to use during pregnancy. “Many people bleach their hair during pregnancy, and the bleach does not penetrate your skin,” says Dr. Zanotti.How long does tattoo ink stay in your blood? ›
It's unknown exactly how long it takes for all of the ink particles to be removed from the body, but it is thought to be a process that could take years.Can you drink after getting a tiny tattoo? ›
It's generally recommended that you wait at least 48 hours after your new tattoo before you start drinking alcohol again.Why no tattoos while breastfeeding? ›
Tattoo ink is too large a molecule to make it into breast milk, so your baby has no way of being exposed to it. The risk (to your health and your baby's) comes if you get an infection from the tattooing process.What are three reasons you may choose not to get a tattoo? ›
- Allergic reactions. Tattoo dyes — especially red, green, yellow and blue dyes — can cause allergic skin reactions, such as an itchy rash at the tattoo site. ...
- Skin infections. A skin infection is possible after tattooing.
- Other skin problems. ...
- Bloodborne diseases. ...
- MRI complications.
- I Let My Dog Sleep In My Bed With Me. ...
- How Much For A Sleeve? ...
- Can You Draw Something, And If I Like It, I Book An Appointment? ...
- I Am Just 17, But My Parents Approve. ...
- Can You Hurry Up, Please? ...
- I Had A Few Beers To Man Up. ...
- I Want The Text To Be Super Small, Like A Freckle. ...
- Can I Pay You Next Week?
Most tattooists will not knowingly tattoo a pregnant or breastfeeding mother. It is suggested that mothers wait at least 6 months to a year to give their bodies a chance to recover completely from childbirth before getting a tattoo.
Do you have to pump and dump after tattoo? ›
There are no regulations against breastfeeding with tattoos. The placement of tattoos does not increase any risks when breastfeeding, even if they're on your breasts. The tattoo ink is unlikely to get into your milk supply and the ink is sealed under the first layer of your skin, so the baby cannot contact it.How long after a tattoo can you breastfeed? ›
Consider holding off on that tattoo until your baby is at least 6 months old—preferably a year if you're breastfeeding. Your little one already has a place in your heart, if not yet on your skin.How soon can a girl get pregnant after giving birth? ›
You can get pregnant as little as 3 weeks after the birth of a baby, even if you're breastfeeding and your periods haven't started again. Unless you want to get pregnant again, it's important to use some kind of contraception every time you have sex after giving birth, including the first time.Why can't I sleep on my right side while pregnant? ›
Background. Many physicians advise pregnant women to sleep on their left side. Previous studies have linked back and right-side sleeping with a higher risk of stillbirth, reduced fetal growth, low birth weight, and preeclampsia, a life-threatening high blood pressure disorder that affects the mother.Can you be pregnant with 2 babies of different ages? ›
There have been a few case reports of superfetation in women. Most had been undergoing assisted reproduction techniques, like in vitro fertilization. Superfetation results in two fetuses with different ages and sizes. Despite this, it's possible for both babies to be born fully developed and completely healthy.What happens if you get a tattoo while your 2 months pregnant? ›
The main concern with getting a tattoo during pregnancy is the risk of contracting an infection, such as Hepatitis B and HIV. Although the risk is small, it is recommended that you wait to get a tattoo until after your baby is born.Can you get a tattoo while breastfeeding? ›
The Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health advises against pregnant or breastfeeding moms getting tattooed. And while there is no evidence to suggest a newly tattooed mom's breast milk poses a risk to her baby, the possibility of mom contracting an infection is a major area of concern.