There are many things about pregnancy that are less than favorable. Between not drinking any alcohol and the limited cups of coffee you can consume- along with having to say no to your favorite deli meats and sushi- nine months can seem like an eternity for some women. With so many no-nos when your body is being used as an incubator, one can only assume that tattoos are off limits as well, correct? As it turns out, not necessarily.
The most critical stage of pregnancy is the first trimester because that's when major development takes place. Your baby's eyes, ears, nose, spine, digestive tract, nervous system and heart all begin to form in the first 12 weeks. That's why avoiding any and all toxins and medications that aren't pregnancy safe is crucial because it's very easy to upset the delicate balance of the embryonic stage.
One of the major risks of getting a tattoo whether you're pregnant or not is the potential for contracting Hepatitis B or HIV. If you're infected with either disease while pregnant, it not only puts you at risk, but it can also cause major complications for your unborn baby. Women's Health states that another concern about getting tattoos while pregnant concerns the heavy metals that are used in some types of tattoo inks.
"Some tattoo inks contain heavy metals, such as lead, mercury, and arsenic...The biggest potential risk would be during the first trimester when the fetus is developing most rapidly and forming its organs."
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After the first trimester- which is when fetal development gears more towards growth- tattoos pose less of a risk to a mother and her unborn child. If you're adamant on getting a tattoo during pregnancy, be sure to check with your tattoo artist about what kind of ink they use. You should also make sure that they're practicing proper hygiene- clean hands, gloves, and a sterile working space/equipment.
If you can wait until after your pregnancy to get a tattoo, it's best to do that. It's the safest option for your baby, after all. But getting a tattoo under the right circumstances at the right point in pregnancy isn't necessarily unsafe. It's ultimately a personal decision that only you can make. Just remember to carefully weigh the benefits and the risks to make an informed decision prior to committing.