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Body Art, Piercings and Pregnancy - Oh My! - Link

Tamekia Reece - 2008-11-01

A Decade ago when you got that tattoo, you probably didn't think much about what it might be like when you became a mom-to-be - except maybe to assure yourself that you'd be a hip mama with a little ink. But now that you're pregnant, you might have questions about your body art - and that goes for piercings, too because they're often in sensitive areas such as the belly button and nipples. Can Tattoos, piercings, and pregnancy mix. Here are your questions answered.

Does the tattoo on my back mean an epidural is out? Just because you have a designer back doesn't mean you have to go through labor sans epidural. As long as the tattoo is completely healed-no peeling, oozing, or scabbing-you should be safe to get anesthesia in the spine, says Robert Atlas, M.D., chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. Epidurals are given with a special stylet, a think wire that runs through the needle to keep it free of debris, Atlas says. So there are no worries of ink getting in and being dispersed into your body.

Can I breastfeed if my nipples are pierced? The answer is likely yes. "As long as the ducts haven't been interrupted, it is possible to breastfeed if you have a nipple piercing," says Matthew K. Hoffman, MD an ob/gyn and director of education and research at Christiana Care in Newark, DE. However, nipple piercings must be removed for feedings. "There are some concerns that the ball (closure) or the ring itself could become detached ad the infant could potentially swallow it, and the nipple ring also interferes with the baby's ability to latch on," Hoffman says.

Can I do anything to prevent my tattoo from stretching, or to keep in my navel piercing? If you've heard that keeping your tattoo moisturized will avoid or decrease stretching, we're sorry to report the contrary. "A lot of tattoos, especially those on the abdomen, will stretch, and there's really not much you can do about it, " Atlas says. Another thing that may alter your lower abdominal tattoo is if it needs to be cut during a C-section. But once you've delivered and things return to semi-normal, tattoo artists say they are able to "fix" stretched-out or sliced tattoo's or convert them into new designs if necessary. As for belly piercings, there is help. Pregnancy Piercings, an innovative solution created by a pierced mom-to-be, are flexible 2-inch tubes that replace your navel ring and five you room to grow-without worrying that a ring will tear your skin or cause pain ($16, pregnancypiercings.com)

Do my piercings need to be removed during pregnancy and/or delivery? During pregnancy, piercings usually don't need to be removed unless the pierced area becomes uncomfortable or infected. "The only piercing we ask patients to remove before delivery are tongue piercings," Hoffman says "occasionally moms need to be intubated quickly for anesthesia and the tongue piercing can get in the way," he explains Other than that, all piercings can stay-even down below, if you like. "Typically, you don't have to remove piercings in the vaginal are, but I would recommend it be removed for the delivery so you don't have extra stretching or tearing of the area," Atlas says. C-section patients are and exception; whether your surgery is emergency or scheduled, you may be asked to remove all metal jewelry.

Is it safe to get a tattoo or piercing during pregnancy? Surprisingly, the experts say it is safe. The only real intrusive concerns are hepatitis C and HIV," Hoffman says. "But now that tattoo parlors are regulated and are using clean needles, there really is not a large concern."