There’s a long list of all the things women shouldn’t do while pregnant, which sadly includes some of our favorite things. We know that drinking wine and eating sushi are no-nos, and so is endless amounts of coffee, but what about getting a tattoo? If you’re expecting and want to get some ink, is that okay or off-limits, too?
Well, it turns out, the answer isn’t completely straightforward. There aren’t any hard and fast rules warning that getting a tattoo while pregnant is not allowed, but that doesn’t mean you should book an appointment at the tattoo shop. According to Dr. Holly Cummings, an assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Penn Medicine, “The safest thing would be to wait until after pregnancy to get a tattoo.”
Whether you’re pregnant or not, there’s a risk of spreading hepatitis B or HIV through needles and Dr.Cummings points out that if someone came into contact with one of those infectious diseases while pregnant, it increases risk to the unborn baby and the mom. And she warns that some ink used for tattoos contains heavy metals, including lead, mercury and arsenic. She says the biggest potential risk would be during the first trimester, when the fetus is growing and developing quickly and forming its organs. So while there’s no rule about getting a tattoo while pregnant, experts say it’s best to wait those nine months and then get inked.