For the most part, pregnancy is not the time to get body modifications. Anything that you do during pregnancy can affect your baby, whether it is alcohol passing through the placenta to an infection that comes with a small cut or scrape. In terms of tattoos, there are some specific risks involved in getting a tattoo while pregnant.
The first and most obvious risk of getting tattooed while pregnant is the risk of infection. During pregnancy, your immune system already has to work overtime to protect both you and your baby. If you get an infection during pregnancy, your immune system has to fight the infection for both of you. There is also some risk to your baby if you do get an infection during pregnancy, depending on the type of infection and the severity of the infection.
Some women are concerned about the effects of the tattoo ink on their pregnancy. While there is no hard research that suggests a danger from the ink, there is not any research that suggests that it is safe, either. Here again, it is probably best to err on the side of caution, because there just isn’t enough data to tell us conclusively that the ink is safe for a pregnant woman.
Another possible negative effect of getting tattooed while pregnant is the risk of stress. Any stressful event, or any event that your body sees as stressful, can lead to premature labor. While getting a tattoo isn’t necessarily one of the most stressful events that can take place while pregnant, it can certainly add to the stress that a pregnant woman is already feeling, and increase her stress to unsafe levels.
The risk of fainting is also a concern if you want to get tattooed while pregnant. It is not uncommon for people who are getting a tattoo to pass out. Certainly any experience that puts you at risk for falling, such as fainting does, should be avoided during pregnancy.
Many tattoo artists will refuse to give a pregnant woman a tattoo for the above reasons. They are concerned for their client’s well-being, and don’t want to risk something going wrong. In general, they are probably right to be concerned. While odds are relatively slim that something will go horribly wrong, pregnancy is not the time to be taking those kinds of chances. It is probably safer for both you and your baby to wait until after delivery to have that tattoo.