"I got my tattoo when I was 2 weeks pregnant and didn't have a clue I was! It's on my lower back and I was very worried about it getting distorted since it was new and being in a stretchy spot. I gained 50 pounds and luckily it's still perfect!" -Jess
If your tattoo is in the small of your back, it should not prevent you from getting an epidural. The ink from the tattoo is a permanent part of the dermis of the skin. The epidural needle passes through the epidermis, dermis and into an area near your spinal cord quite easily. You might want to consult with your doctor and anesthesiologist to see what they recommend if you have concerns.
It is not advisable to have any body decoration procedure that would involve breaking the skin while you are pregnant. This includes procedures like piercing, tattooing or scarification. Most studios have made it a policy not to perform tattoos or piercings on anyone pregnant or breastfeeding. When you get a tattoo or piercing, you face a small chance of an allergic reaction or an infection. It just isn't worth the risk when you can just wait a few extra months and then get the tattoo or piercing you desire.
Any invasive procedure normally involves a small risk of infection. If you are pregnant, this might adversely affect your baby. You also risk contracting a blood borne disease if the needles used are not properly sterilized or are contaminated in some way. Your body is changing and you have enough to worry about without the added worry of caring for a new piercing. It is better to have a piercing completely healed before becoming pregnant; otherwise it might not heal properly until after your baby is born.
"I wouldn't recommend getting a tattoo while pregnant. All causes of infection are to be avoided during pregnancy, as your immune system does not work the way it normally does. Even minor infections should be treated promptly during pregnancy. Anything that could even potentially result in an infection in the blood is particularly to be avoided, so that would include getting a tattoo. Fortunately, pregnancy does not last very long, and waiting a few weeks or months is a very small price to pay to protect your child's health." -Cynthia Flynn, CNM
Being pregnant doesn't spell the end of your tattoos and piercings. If you take good care of your piercings during your pregnancy you will still have them afterward. Take precautions during labor and delivery to safeguard yourself and your baby -- you'd hate having your hood or clitoris tearing because the piercing got caught somewhere!
Similarly, when you want to get a tattoo, have it done in a place that won't stretch or have a simple design done. That way, the tattoo should remain relatively unharmed by stretch marks.
Above all, have procedures done before planning a pregnancy, or afterward. The risk of contracting an infection, which could possibly affect your baby, is not worth satisfying your desire to have a tattoo or piercing immediately.
If you have concerns or questions about tattoos or piercings, it's always best to talk to your doctor, healthcare provider or midwife.
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