Under any circumstances, tattooing is not a procedure to be taken lightly. The introduction of permanent inks into the skin can pose health risks. This is even more so for pregnant women although much research remains to be done on the topic.

The following article will provide you with information on the reasons why the medical community advises against getting a tattoo while pregnant and breastfeeding. This post was prepared in collaboration with Marie Fortier, a nurse specialised in pre- and post- natal care.

🤷‍♀️ Did you know that…

  • 10 to 30% of Westerners have tattoos and the trend is going up?
  • the practice of tattooing is not well regulated? There are no legal norms for ink and pigment use.
  • there is no proven adverse risk towards the foetus/baby with relation to tattoos done BEFORE the pregnancy?


Let’s now talk about the risks posed by tattoos done during pregnancy:

  • Potential toxicity

Since there aren’t any toxicity norms, we are never sure of the exact composition of inks that are used for tattooing. Many of them may contain chemical products or heavy metals that can potentially harm the foetus.

  • Infection risks

The procedure of tattooing involves a break of the skin barrier and infection can occur. Around 1 to 5% of people who get tattooed develop a secondary infection usually caused by normal bacteria on the skin.

In the case of pregnant women, such an infection could be harder to control due to a weakened immune system, especially towards the end of the pregnancy.

There is also the risk of viral infection transmitted by contaminated equipment (hepatitis B & C, HIV).

  • Low blood pressure

As blood pressure is normally lower during pregnancy, the risk of fainting from low blood pressure (especially in the upright position) is increased.

  • Potential reaction with epidural

Lower back tattoos may not be safe during the epidural procedure. The effect of dye products and possible contaminants in the epidural space is not yet known.

  • Tattoos deformation

Gain weight during pregnancy is accompanied by skin stretching (and potentially stretch marks) which can modify the appearance of existing tattoos. They may often return to their previous look with time.

*Also, it is not recommended to have a tattoo removed while pregnant or breastfeeding.

For any question related to your personal situation, you can ask advice from our certified dermatologists at dermago.ca.

This article is adapted from a post written in collaboration with Marie Fortier (FRENCH ONLY).


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