Can You Get A Tattoo While Pregnant?

With pregnancy comes a lot of things to be cautious about, since they can be considered high risk. For example, if you are pregnant, you know to avoid things like alcohol, cigarettes, and cat litter as much as possible. The list of things to be careful with during pregnancy may almost feel endless.


Pregnancy can cause a lot of changes in your body and it can weaken your immune system. Because of this, it is important to consider the outcome of how anything may affect your body and your baby during pregnancy (via Pregnancy Birth & Baby).

Pregnancy requires more attentive and intentional care for the body. Just as you would be cautious about any other risks during pregnancy, getting a tattoo is no different. First and foremost, it is important to speak with your doctor if you are considering doing so. Additionally, there are many factors to consider when weighing the safety or risks of getting a tattoo while pregnant.

Possible long-term damage

If you are thinking about getting a tattoo while pregnant, it's always important to think about any potential side effects. According to WebMD, a lack of research on the topic of getting a tattoo while pregnant makes it more of a gray area.


However, getting a tattoo carries its own risks even outside of pregnancy. These risks can be even more significant when pregnant, because pregnancy not only affects your immune system, but also involves the immune system of a growing baby.

If a tattoo artist were to use a contaminated or dirty needle, you would be at risk of bloodborne infections such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or HIV. Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection that a mother could easily pass to the baby during childbirth. This can cause the baby to have a 90% chance of developing a lifelong infection (via CDC). When left untreated, one in four children will die from hepatitis B, often as a result of liver damage, liver disease, or liver cancer.


An infected mother has a 6% chance of passing hepatitis C, another virus affecting the liver, to the baby. Left untreated, there is also a 15% to 45% of passing HIV, a virus that attacks the immune system, to the baby.

Inks and dyes carry risks

"Most dermatology and OB experts advise against getting a tattoo during pregnancy or while breastfeeding," gynecologist Dr. Lauren Demosthenes tells Cosmopolitan. Because a tattoo is essentially an open wound, you would also face the risk of increased pain or allergic reactions to the ink. This may not be a fun addition to any other difficulties you are already experiencing during pregnancy.


Certain elements in the inks and dyes also carry the risk of causing negative reactions. Some medicines used to treat these reactions — or any infections that may occur — may not be safe for a fetus (via Medical News Today).

WebMD states that some tattoo inks could affect the development of the baby during pregnancy. A report by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in 2016 found that some inks contain heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury, or lead. Other harmful ingredients include nickel, preservatives, and bacteria. This can affect the development of the baby's organs and brain, and in rare cases, could potentially lead to miscarriages or stillbirths.

In addition, the tattoo may not even look the same after the baby is out, depending on where the tattoo is located.


Ultimately, many experts strongly advise against getting a tattoo during pregnancy. After delivery, take some time to recuperate and let your hormones balance out. The best time to get your tattoo would be after you've given your body some time to heal.