Pregnant women are continuously finding new ways to commemorate and celebrate the very special time in their lives when they carry their unborn child. Along with trends such as belly casts, women are starting to consider getting tattoos to celebrate and forever remember those nine special months. However, because of the possible safety issues, some women are hesitant to get a tattoo while they are pregnant. Are the dyes safe? And what are the risks to the unborn baby? There are a few factors to consider. Other women may discover they’re pregnant and already have a tattoo which brings up unique concerns for them and their baby.

There have been very little studies done on the effect of tattoo dye on an unborn fetus but it is recommended that a woman waits until she is twelve weeks along or further before getting a tattoo. Whether this is because the dyes and procedures may be unsafe or because this is the general waiting period for anything in pregnancy is unknown but this is generally the safest time to get a tattoo. Women should also consider getting it before they are 30 weeks and after they have reached 12 weeks. This is simply to allow the tattoo time to heal, which may make it more comfortable for the woman while she’s in labor.

The largest actual known risk to the woman or the baby should someone decide to get a tattoo while they’re pregnant is the risk of infection. This is of course a risk that comes with any tattoo so women are advised to take extra precautions to ensure that the artist knows that they are pregnant, uses only clean and sterile equipment, and that they wear gloves during the procedure.

Some women who already have tattoos before they become pregnant also worry that it will interfere with their pregnancy or labor. This is mostly a concern of women who have tattoos on their lower back and are worried that they will not be able to get an epidural during labor. This is generally not an issue as there have been no studies to prove that it carries added risk but women should contact the place where they intend to give birth and ask what their specific policies are on tattoos and epidurals.