No one, when choosing a tattoo or piercing, ever thinks, “Hey, I wonder what will happen to this bad boy’ at 28 weeks?” And that’s why so many of us have great side body pieces and pierced nipples. But now you’re pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, the question that won’t leave your mind is, “Hey, I wonder what will happen to this thing at 28 weeks?”
We’ve all heard some next level story about what happened to someone someone knows. And if that weren’t enough to freak you out, you’ve seen − with your very own eyes − what happened to the inked cherries on your crazy aunt Sue’s Tata’s. They’re more like a couple of heirloom tomatoes now. But what can you realistically expect when you’re expecting with tattoos and piercings?
We’ve debunked some top urban legends to help ease your mind and give you a real picture of what really happens when you’re inked, pierced, and also expecting.
- You can’t get an epidural. This is 100% false and was likely fabricated by mother’s in the 2000s in an attempt to stop their Christina-Aguilera-loving-18-year-old daughters from getting ‘tramp stamps.’ While the fear still runs through millennial veins, that epidural needles can transport ink to the spinal cord, it’s actually unfounded. Epidurals can still be performed on persons with lower back tattoos and no complications have been reported according a 2010 review in the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Journal.
- You can’t breastfeed if you have you have your nipples pierced because you will hose and choke your baby. Okay, this seems a little dramatic. It’s recommended to remove piercing while breastfeeding to help the baby latch on and reduce risks of infection. Once jewelry is removed though, you can fully breastfeed naturally without fear spraying or overwhelming your baby. In fact, women with piercings may have an added breastfeeding advantage of having more milk passages in their nipples making breastfeeding easier for both mom and baby.
- You have to remove navel piercings while pregnant. Nope. Not true. Depending on the type of jewelry you typically wear, you may want to switch it out for something that gives your body room to stretch and grow. But as long as there is room for you body to grow with it, you can comfortably leave in a navel piercing throughout your pregnancy.
- You CAN’T breastfeed if you have tattoos on your breasts because the ink will seep into your breast milk. I mean your crazy aunt with the cherry tattoo breastfed, and your cousin is mostly alright. Aside from this anecdotal evidence that it’s “probably safe” to breastfeed with tattooed tatas, we can also tell you that the placement of a tattoo doesn’t influence its ability to enter your milk supply. There is little research on whether tattoo ink enters the milk or not. However, common practice in tattoo parlours is to not tattoo anyone who may be pregnant to avoid any risk of infection or chemical exposure to delicate developing fetuses. However, old healed tattoos have not been found to present a contamination risk to breast milk.
- You can NOT get a henna tattoo while pregnant. This is also an alternative fact. Natural henna is very safe. In fact, for thousands of years, women in Egypt, India and the Middle East have decorated their bellies during the third trimester to bring luck and safety during childbirth. So long as the henna is natural and not a commercial knock off, it is perfectly safe. *Hot tip: Natural henna will leave a cinnamon, orange brown colour on the skin where commercial knock-offs will leave skin black in colour. Knock-offs contain para-phenylendiamine aka PPD and should be avoided by everyone, pregnant and not, as it can cause severe burns and skin reactions.
So there you have it, 5 common tattoo and pregnancy myths debunked. However, if you have any questions or concerns regarding your tattoos and piercings during and after pregnancy, always talk to your health care provider.
Featured Image: Misti | @mistyfoxbonn