Getting a Tattoo While Pregnant: Is It Safe?

Maressa Brown Health Check

tattoo on pregnant woman's bellyPlenty of moms sport body art these days, but a pregnant woman who goes to a tattoo parlor and gets inked is still sure to raise eyebrows. But is being tattooed while expecting actually as risky as we've heard? "Most obstetricians would advise against it," says Marcel M. Favetta, M.D., chairman of obstetrics and gynecology for Geisinger Northeast of the Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania.

Here's why:

"While tattoo dye is limited to the skin layers, the procedure itself puts one at a small risk for a skin infection," explains Favetta. Tattoo equipment that isn't properly sterilized raises risk of transmitting blood-borne infections like hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV.

Other factors may also play a part in heightening risk: The incidence of hepatitis C after tattooing is directly linked with the number of tattoos an individual receives, according to a study published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases. And other research published in Medicine found that people with complex or large tattoos, or white, yellow, orange, or red pigmented tattoos were more likely to have the disease than those with only black.

Still, the concern is there. What's more, being treated with an antibiotic for even a minor infection triggered by a tattoo job also poses a risk to the baby, as the fetus will automatically be exposed to the medication, Favetta explains.

For those reasons, it's best to put inking on hold until after giving birth. Another bonus to waiting it out: You won't have to worry about stretch marks leaving your tattoos distorted or discolored.

Would you consider getting tattooed while pregnant? 

 

Image via Hurricane Mitch/Flickr

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