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Tattooing and Pregnancy
I recently received two questions concerning tattooing and pregnancy here at Bella Body Art. The first concerned tattooing and epidural anesthetic during labor. The second one is about tattooing during nursing. Both are important issues but not ones you often hear discussed.
Tattoos and Epidurals
I was interested in getting my first tattoo, but I heard that if I get one on my lower back an epidural cannot be performed if I have a child later in life. Is this true?
A friend of mine had a baby and she had a tattoo on her lower back and she wanted an epidural and they wouldn't give it to her because they thought the ink would interfere. I don't know much about it myself, but I wanted to learn more about it before I get a tattoo.
I wanted one on my upper back, would this lead to the same problem? I just wanted to know before I got one, so I won't be at a loss later, thanks
I decided to forward that e-mail along to Dr. Charles Moser and get a bona fide medical opinion. He practices Primary Care, General Internal Medicine and Sexual Medicine in San Francisco and is the author of Health Care Without Shame.
Here is Dr. Moser’s reply:
“I know of no absolute contraindication to a lower back tattoo and epidurals. If the tattoo was new, there were still scabs, inflammation, or signs of infection, then the physicians would be correct to refrain from placing an epidural. Clearly you want to avoid getting anything into the spinal column, ink, bacteria, etc. Once a tattoo has healed, this should not be a problem.“
Tattooing and Nursing
I wanted to ask your opinion. I am breast-feeding a one month old and am scheduled to be tattooed. Do you think getting tattooed while breast-feeding will be a problem? I have over 20 tattoos so I don't think it will be an issue but other articles I have read say that you should wait a year to a year and a half after giving birth to get tattooed. Waiting nine months was long enough. I had to cancel a session after I found out I was pregnant. I haven't read anything that makes me think it's dangerous for the baby. The articles state that risk of Hepatitis infection but I know the shop I go to is clean. I have gotten all but two of my tattoos from the same person and shop.
“It's the threat that anything that gets into the mother's body or blood will be passed to the baby via the mother's milk. That is how connected the process of nursing is between mother and baby. A one-month-old child doesn't have a very well-developed immune system, so what isn't a reactive allergen or infectious agent to an adult could be to a newborn. If you apply an antibiotic ointment to the skin on your arm, any active ingredients in that medication would be passed along to the baby via nursing. I wouldn't recommend any new mothers undergoing any body art procedures (tattoos or piercings) until they are done nursing.”
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