Back tattoos are extremely popular amongst women these days, especially ones located near the lower back. A 2006 study in the journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that nearly one-quarter of Americans ages 18 to 50 have tattoos. Of those, nearly 20 percent of the women have tattoos on their lower backs.

Lower Back Tattoo

(Lower Back Tattoos Are Popular With Women)

However, an ongoing debate is highlighting issues of safety as back tattoos may stop women having an epidural during childbirth.

The procedure involsed administered an anesthestic to a laboring mother into the epidural space at the base of the spine to numb the lower body. It decreases or eliminates pain, enabling her to save her strength for pushing.

Spine specialist Dr. Scott Jarmain says there has been a lot of misinformation on the Internet. He says a small study done on lower back tattoos didn’t find enough evidence either way. But, he believes women can safely have an epidural with a lower back tattoo if doctors are careful.

Lower Back Tattoo

(A Cute Lower Back Tattoo Design)

There are risks associated with the procedure, especially as it involves the spine and is carried out during the stressful time of childbirth. Dr. Jarmain believes no one should have an epidural if the tattoo is fresh. Healing usually takes about 8-12 weeks. If your tattoo is older modern needles don’t grab the skin and are unlikely to disturb the ink. Dr. Jarmain says doctors will look for a spot with no ink.

“If you have to get a tattoo at your lower back I’d recommend getting one around the upper part of the butt, left or right, and keep it smaller because when the tattoo is so big it leaves the doctor with very little room to put the needle,” he said.

The doctor says unsanitary conditions are the real fear when it comes to tattoos. Dirty needles can spread hepatitis and infection. Check out any tattoo parlor carefully.