The Complex Question of Tattoos During Pregnancy

Every now and then, a pregnant woman may find herself contemplating the idea of getting a tattoo while pregnant. It’s not uncommon to think, “Can I get a tattoo while pregnant?” or “Should I get a tattoo while pregnant?” The desire to get a tattoo while pregnant can stem from various reasons, ranging from the urge to commemorate the journey of pregnancy to simply wanting to add to their collection of body art. However, it’s vital to understand the potential risks and consequences before making a decision.

The Risks of Getting a Tattoo While Pregnant

Pregnancy is a period of significant physiological changes, including hormonal shifts and immune system adjustments. As such, certain activities that were safe before pregnancy can become risky. This applies to tattoos as well. Regardless of whether you’re contemplating getting a small tattoo, a hand tattoo, a wrist tattoo, or even an eyebrow tattoo, the risks remain similar.


The process of getting a tattoo involves puncturing the skin with a needle thousands of times to deposit ink into the dermis, the second layer of skin. This opens up a pathway for potential infections, including bacterial infections and bloodborne diseases like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV. While reputable, licensed tattoo artists adhere to strict hygiene standards to minimize these risks, the possibility of infection cannot be entirely eliminated.

Allergic Reactions

Tattoo inks contain various chemicals and metals, which can trigger allergic reactions. These reactions can occur immediately after getting the tattoo or even years later. Symptoms can range from itchiness and redness to more severe reactions like hives and difficulty breathing. During pregnancy, your immune system undergoes changes, which could potentially increase your susceptibility to allergic reactions.

Impact on the Baby

There’s a common question that arises: “Can getting a tattoo while pregnant affect the baby’s kidneys?” Though there’s no direct evidence suggesting that tattoo ink can harm a fetus’s kidneys, it’s important to remember that the safety of tattoo inks during pregnancy hasn’t been extensively studied. Some research suggests that nanoparticles from tattoo ink can travel through the body, but it’s unclear whether these particles could reach the fetus.

Why You Shouldn’t Get a Tattoo While Pregnant

Given the potential risks, most health professionals advise against getting a tattoo while pregnant. Regardless of the trimester — be it the first, second, or third — the advice generally remains the same. Even a tiny tattoo can lead to complications that could affect both you and your baby.

Additionally, the changes your body undergoes during pregnancy can affect the tattoo itself. Weight gain and skin stretching can distort the tattoo, leading to a less-than-desirable outcome. This is why even henna tattoos, usually considered safer, can be problematic due to the skin’s increased sensitivity during pregnancy.

What Happens If You Get a Tattoo While Pregnant?

There have been cases where women have gotten tattoos while pregnant, either knowingly or unknowingly. If you find yourself thinking, “I got a tattoo while pregnant, what now?” it’s best to consult a healthcare professional. They can assess your situation, check for signs of infection or allergic reaction, and guide you on the necessary steps to take.

The Legal and Social Aspects

In some places, getting a tattoo while pregnant might not just be medically advised against, but also legally restricted. Some tattoo artists and studios refuse to tattoo pregnant women due to the associated risks and potential liability.

On the social front, it’s not uncommon for pregnant women who choose to get tattoos to face judgment. The question of getting a tattoo while pregnant can spark intense debates on forums and social media platforms like Reddit, with opinions often divided.


While getting a tattoo is a personal decision, it’s important to consider the potential risks when pregnant. There’s still a lot we don’t know about the effects of tattooing during pregnancy. Until more research is done, it’s better to err on the side of caution. If you’re pregnant and considering a tattoo, it’s best to wait until after you’ve given birth and finished breastfeeding. This not only minimizes potential risks to your baby but also helps ensure your tattoo looks as good as possible.

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