Photo by Benjamin Earwicker

When women who have tattoos on their abdomens get pregnant, the tattooed skin will inevitably stretch with the growth of the baby. But that doesn't mean that the tattoo will have to look stretched or distorted after the baby has been delivered; by taking the proper precautions, you can give your body the best possible chance at being able to maintain your tattoo's shape and appearance. While there is always the possibility for tattoo distortion during pregnancy, these steps can swing the odds in your favor.

Plan your tattoos with future pregnancies in mind before actually getting them done. Consider waiting until after you've had all the children you want to have before getting a tattoo on your stomach or breasts, which typically stretch the most during pregnancy.

Consult a tattoo artist near you when you discover you are pregnant; preferably, choose the artist who did the tattoo or one you know or trust. Talk about possibilities for touching up the tattoo after the baby has been born. This may not be necessary, but it is best to plan ahead for this just in case your tattoo does stretch out. It may be helpful to take photos at this stage to help with any necessary touch-ups.

During pregnancy, stick to a nutritious, customized and prenatal physician-prescribed diet. By giving your body all of the nutrients and vitamins it needs, you can give your skin everything it needs to be at its healthiest. Healthy skin will have better elasticity, which reduces the risk of stretch marks that can severely distort tattoos.

Drink 10 or more eight-ounce glasses of water every day. This will help keep your body well hydrated and your skin well moisturized, which is essential for optimal skin elasticity.

Rub cocoa butter over the tattoo and all stretching skin on a daily basis throughout the rapid growth periods of pregnancy. Though this cannot actually help prevent stretch marks, it does help boost the moisture levels of the skin during your highest risk periods for stretch mark development.

After pregnancy, continue consulting a physician or begin seeing a nutritionist about your diet plan. The focus of your diet should be on two things: continuing to get all of the vitamins and nutrients you need for optimal skin health and gradually returning to your pre-pregnancy weight.

Consider consulting a fitness trainer only after you have fully recovered from childbirth. You may not need any special fitness regimen other than normal, moderate exercise to return to your original weight, but if you find it to be difficult, a personal trainer can customize a progressive fitness plan around your current fitness level and end goals.

Consult your tattoo artist about touch-ups if necessary, but only after stabilizing your weight after childbirth. If you plan on having another child again soon, it would probably be best to wait until after the next baby to have touch-ups made.


Your abdominal tattoos will stretch and distort during pregnancy, but this is normal and unavoidable. You will only be able to assess the level of distortion of your tattoo after you have given birth, recuperated and stabilized your weight near your pre-pregnancy level.


If you lose a great deal of weight after getting a tattoo, regardless of any pregnancies, your tattoo can also become distorted.