If You Have A Back Tattoo, Can You Have An Epidural?

If you’re a mom-to-be with a gorgeous back piece, you may wonder about your tattoo’s affects on your delivery. For instance, if you have a back tattoo, can you have an epidural? It’s a good idea to consider the potential health risks of getting a shot through your tattoo ahead of time, because the last thing you want to worry about during labor is your ink.

Can the epidural needle really push tattoo ink into your spine, as a piece in the Canadian Journal of Anesthesia posited? (Yikes!) It’s hard to say. Unfortunately, there is not yet a ton of medical research on the safety of administering epidurals through a tattoo. According to the Mayo Clinic, the theoretical concerns, such as developing cancer in the area several years down the road, have not yet been proven or disproven. Thankfully, as further explained by the Mayo Clinic, confirmed reports of complications resulting from back tattoos and epidurals are rare. Being tough enough to get a back piece may not necessarily mean that you have to endure the pain of childbirth without help.

But if you’re worried about potential complications anyway, there may be ways to work around your body art. As explained in Self, some anesthesiologists may try to insert the needle in a space that is not covered by tattoo, just to be on the safe side. As always, feel free to discuss any specific concerns with your physician to make sure you, your baby, and your tattoo get through the birth process in the best way.