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All About Pregnancy

Tattoos and Pregnancy: 5 Things to Know

Your body art can change when you're expecting

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Pregnancy affects your mood, your brain, your waistline, and even your tattoos. Here's what you need to know if you're inked and expecting:

Location matters

Talk to your doctor if you have a lower back tattoo and are hoping to have an epidural. "Anesthesiologists may be hesitant to give an epidural through an area of skin that has been tattooed for fear of the tattoo pigment entering the spinal canal,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, an assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. 

Your tattoo may grow

As your bump grows, so will whatever’s inked on your belly. And if you have a c-section, the doctor may need to cut through it, says Stacey Leigh Rubin, MD, instructor of gynecology and obstetrics at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

You'll need even more moisture

Pregnancy can dry out your skin—and your tattoos, Dr. Zeichner says. Slather on lotion and don't forget the sunblock when you're outside.

Delay any new tattoos

The risk of developing an allergy or infection is too great during pregnancy, thanks to your weakened immune system, says Dr. Zeichner. Save any new ink for after the baby comes and check with your doctor first, especially if you're nursing.

Pregnancy can change your look

Stretch marks can fade your tattoo or distort the image. That said, some moms have embraced their stretch marks by getting colorful, permanent tattoos of the lines after giving birth!