Ammo in my anti-tattoo arsenal

I’m listening to the Windsor, Ontario radio station a few minutes ago, and I hear a report that women who have back tattoos may be denied an epidural during childbirth, due to concerns about the tattoo inks entering the body.

I’ve been trying to convince my daughter for years not to get a tattoo, and this might just do it! I made her promise not to get any tattoos until she is 25 ("But Mom, I won’t want one then!!! “Exactly, dear daughter, so why get something that’s forever if you’re not going to want it in a few years?”). She is 24, and keeps threatening…but she’s also a pain wimp, and wants to have babies, so maybe we can put this off until she’s, oh, 50?

Despite the fact that it’s undetermined ( this still smacks of an urban legend to me. I know a LOT of women who have had tattoos and epidurals, and neither them nor their babies have had any ill effects (my mother and several of my close friends, cousins, aunts, and family friends).

I can understand you wanting her to not get a tattoo that she’ll regret in a few years, but what if it was something that meant something to her (like a rose with “MOM” in it or something)? Are you against youthful foolishness or tattoos in general?

Just wondering.


Here’s what Snopes has to say.

It sounds to me like a bunch of Canadian doctors are saying “Well, we don’t have any **actual ** evidence of this **ever ** causing a problem, but gosh, we have a vague worry.” American doctors don’t seem worried at all.

If she wants one bad enough, she’ll get one. I didn’t get mine til I was 30 (a birthday present to myself), not because I never wanted one, but because it took me that long to find the one. I think your reasoning about waiting is sound; too many people end up with tattoos that they no longer want by the time they’re 25 because they thought “aww, a tweetie bird would be so special!” and forgot that this art will be with them the rest of their lives.

This sounds asinine, honestly. It’s not as though there’s a reservoir of liquid ink floating around under the skin.
I fully agree with her waiting to get a tattoo, and if she won’t want one when she’s in her twenties, then what the fuck does she want a tattoo for? It’s a permanent piece of art. If she won’t want one in ten years, how’s she going to feel about it in sixty years? I actually did wait nearly ten years to get my tattoo done, partly to see how the idea aged with me, and partly because it took me that long to find the right artist, and I’m happy I did wait. I still want it, and the more work I get done, the more “right” it feels on my skin.

And furthermore, I don’t want a stupid epidural, anyway :wink:

Or rather, if she won’t want one next year

As an OB/GYN RN, I know several anesthesiologists who will *not * place an epidural through tattooed skin. A certain doctor I know just will not place one through a tattoo, but he’ll try to go higher or lower if he can, but won’t place one through. He says the ink in the skin cells can cause irritation if they migrate to the epidural space.

I’ve seen many operations where incising through a tat was necessary. I’ve never heard of any adverse outcomes as a result of cutting through a tattoo. Maybe there are some special concerns about injecting through one into the epidural space.


I’ll have to ask the CRNAs and anaesthesiologists about it tomorrow.

While I agree with the waiting thing, I don’t agree with the reasoning. If she won’t want one in 10 years, that alone is reason enough not to get one. I was over 30 when I got my first, and the only reason I waited that long was because I knew if my mother had known about it she would have removed it. Probably with steel wool and no pain killer.

Maureen, might I ask what you finally decided on, and why it has significance to you? Your comment interests me, because I am definitley not the type to whimsically do something to my body so permanent, but I have always had a romantic notion of a tatoo of just the right image in just the right spot, without it being too ostentatious. I certainly haven’t found “the” one either though.

My wife the Subway Prophetess has a Chinese-style dragon tattoo on her lower back, complete with wispy nose-whiskers and snakelike tail.

When we recently delivered our second Subway Alcolyte, my wife had an epidural and the needle went straight through where the tattoo dragon’s heart would be. It was also one of the most painful experiences she went through; they had to jab her three times.

So when Alcolyte II popped out, she had an incredibly well-formed birthmark on her lower back. A couple weeks later, it still has sharply-defined edges. The pediatrician looked at it and said it actually looks like ink under the skin. It took a lot of talking to convince him to not call the Child Protection Services on us.

The weird thing is, this birthmark on my baby, it looks a lot like a Viking-style dragon tattoo, right down to the Celtic weave pattern bordering it.

That that just like totally weird, or what?

Just kidding.

I knew a guy (my friend’s boyfriend, and yes I saw the tattoo) that had a tattoo on his back. He wanted the word “soldier” tattooed and when it was done it said “solider”. No one should spend the rest of their lives with an incorrectly spelled word on their back.

I’m kind of surprised that you think a 24 year old woman should still have to ask your permission to do anything and I’m *really * surprised that she apparently does too. I don’t mean that as harshly as it came out; clearly this is the kind of relationship you have and it works for you. I remember my own dear mom’s reaction to my first tattoo (or the first one she saw on me, anyway). It was not pretty( her reaction, not the ink).

Anyway, to the question of regretting your ink later in life, I think if one has any doubt whatsoever, then it’s a “no”. We’ve all fallen prey to one fad or another, but I really cringe for the people that followed this one. I love my ink and will never regret it, but I have the sick feeling that a large percentage of the people that got caught up in the trend of the moment are going to kick themselves.

As for the epidural business, it sounds like utter nonsense, but I’m not a doctor so what do I know.

This made me giggle :stuck_out_tongue: My friend who did my tattoos has chest and back pieces, arm bands and ink halfway down his thighs. This is a big, burly, surly Brooklynite who, when he visits his mommy in Brooklyn, has to wear long sleeves and long pants (even in the summer)lest she slap him upside the head.

The funniest part is that “SOLIDER” might actually be a cool tat (if you like tats, which I assuredly do not). Message: “I am more solid than you/others/I used to be.”

Hope it wasn’t part of a motto, like “There’s something about a solider” or “No limit solider!” Then he would be pretty well fcuked.

I know a guy who had a chinese character that he wanted tattoo’s, and he took it in to the artist. She did the tat, and it looks great. Only problem, he got home and someone pointed out that it was upside down!

The situation turned out well, he went back to the artist, and she drew up and inked a design that made it look like the first tat was a reflection of the the character in a pool of water. In the end, he ended up with a larger tat than he wanted, but it was an awesome arm piece.

If this were a sitcom, I can see this going badly.

Guy: “Hey, I just now realized that It’s left-right reversed!”
Tatoo Artist: “Ok, no problem. Give me your other arm.”

You’ve got mail. :slight_smile: