Tattoos Stretching During Pregnancy: True or False?

I remember the first thing I thought when I found out, my teenage friend "Jen" was pregnant was "Oh my God, her tattoo is going to get so weird." She was fifteen and that was all I could think about because she had just gotten this tattoo of a sun around her belly-button (Hello, 90's!) and fuck, if that thing wasn't going to look like some Dali-esque melting clock post-baby. 

My old friend ended up moving far away that summer so I never got to see firsthand how her body recovered from that pregnancy (let alone her teenage years) but I heard through a friend that her tattoo looked totally normal six-months after giving birth to her daughter. 

Still, ever since I started getting tattoos I was warned of the perils of tattoos on or around the belly area. I was told they would warp, stretch and fade. Of course, because I'm not easily phased by warnings (and because, like, omigawd, Jen totally got away with hers!) I got two. One on my very lower abdomen and one around the left side of my hip/waist.  

In the comments of my last post I was asked whether or not my tattoos stretched at all during pregnancy and the answer (so far) has been no. Neither of my tattoos so much as faded after my last pregnancy and I assume they will be unscathed this time around, too. Because -- well -- there is no way I can be any more enormous than I was with Archer that 9th month. 

I figured the whole "your tattoos with get all jacked after pregnancy" thing was just an old wives' tale, written by the mothers of the world to to scare their daughters out of getting belly/waist/lower front torso tattoos. But then my lovely ladyfriend (and fellow preggo) kittenpie explained that she had postpartum issues with her hip tattoo after her first pregnancy. 

Aha! So it is true! Sometimes.

Tattoo stretching on pregnant women seems to be case by case, however, so I turn to any and all of you with abdominal/hip/waist body-art and ask whether or not your tattoos changed during/after pregnancy and if so, how? 

The minds they do inquire...



Backpacking Dad | 8:58 PM

When I was fat some of the little hairs on my stomache moved way far apart. Now that I'm more normal sized I think they've moved permanently. I'd have to get a teeny tiny ruler to really tell, though.

Not the same thing, is it?

Anonymous | 9:36 PM

My tattoo did not stretch at ALL when I was pregnant. Of course, it is on my bicep. Ahem.

Anonymous | 9:36 PM

My experience was similar to yours. I've got one about half an inch below my navel, about an inch an a half across. It obviously looked bigger when I was a ginormous fatasaur, but it's intact (which is kind of a bummer since I haven't liked it in a long time and wanted an excuse to get it redone). I thought it survived because it's fairly small, or because, as my good friend likes to say, "God protects the dumb" (in this case, I suppose the dumb would be wanna-mamas who get belly tatoos).
I can't say the same for the previously unstretched mark belly skin, though. They're not so bad, but I gained about 28 pounds and thought I might be safe, having foregone most of what I wanted to eat throughout (I had gestational diabetes). Not so. If there is a God, he's certainly not protecting THIS dumb one.

Stimey | 9:44 PM

I have thought about this sort of thing a lot. I don't have any tattoos near my stomach, but one of mine is on my upper arm, a place that has (sigh) gained weight in recent years. The tattoo looks the same as when I got it. How is that possible?

cJessicaPyne | 9:46 PM

I have a huge tattoo on my entire right side (ribs to hip) and it didn't stretch at all.

Heather | 9:53 PM

I don't have any tattoos, but people always ask me if my belly button piercing got stretched out. The answer is: nope! But then, I was only pregnant for 29 weeks, so I don't know what would have happened had she cooked a little longer.

Anonymous | 9:57 PM

I've always meant to ask - what does the waist tat say? It seemed like an invasion of privacy to ask, but since you mentioned it...

Brooke - Little Miss Moi | 10:13 PM

Well, I'm not worried about my tattoo stretching during pregnancy, rather, I'm worried about ME stretching through pregnancy. Puberty wasn't kind to me, and I want to declare my so-far unscathed belly off limits to stretch-marks but I'm not sure it works like that. So I just drown my bump in cream day in, day out.


It says "Only the truth dressed up as fairytale"... which is a variant of an Anais Nin line from her novella "House of Incest" ...

Anonymous | 10:35 PM

I don't know about tattoos, but I had my daughter just over a week ago and my pierced belly button will never be the same...


JLS | 3:32 AM

I have a full moon tattooed on my left lower abdomen. I was pregnant with twins, and, oh my GOD, yes. It stretched. And warped. And is not the same.

But I still love it, because my daughters have recently rediscovered it, and now tell people that they used to live "in mommy's tummy, under the moon".

Unknown | 5:18 AM

I don't have any on my belly but I have two friends (sisters) with a few there and every single belly tat they have is stretched beyond belief now. I also know a girl with quite a few on and around her belly and hers didn't stretch out at all. I think it has everything to do with the elasticity of your skin and maybe also how you carry. I got stretch marks on my hips and thighs but none on my stomach with both pregnancies. Some people are just unlucky I guess.

Anonymous | 5:36 AM

I have a celtic knot around my navel and through both previous pregnancies, and now I know it's going to happen with this one, it stretched out to the point it resembled a King cake.

Miss Britt | 6:42 AM

I have one on my hip bone and it has survived just fine through two pregnancies.

Now the scar from my belly button piercing?

Heh. Not so much.

If you didn't know better, you'd swear both my children crawled out of my belly button leaving that scar.

Anonymous | 6:52 AM

I don't have a tattoo but I remember hearinf a story about a friend that did. In the early 90's she got a tat of Tweety bird on that area between the bottom of her rib cage and the top of her hip bone. She said after having a baby, Tweety looked more like Big Bird.....makes me giggle even today.

Jon | 7:02 AM

All my tats stayed the same through both pregnancies.

Anonymous | 7:05 AM

Mine stretched out during both pregnancies. However, it went right back to normal within weeks after giving birth.

Anonymous | 9:15 AM

i am a loyal blog stalker...first, let me say you are hilarious. love reading your posts. second, i have a tattoo on my lower abdomen and it went right back to normal after 2 births. no fading either.

Nikki | 9:31 AM

I just stumbled onto your blog a few weeks ago. I am loving reading your stories! My tattoo on the right side of my abdomen next to my hip bone looked pretty awesome during my second pregnancy. Half was normal looking, the other have blew up like a balloon. But within a few weeks, it looked totally normal and I never had any problems with fading.

kittenpie | 9:58 AM

I do wonder, though, whether some of the slippage I experienced was due to the age of my tattoo? I got it when I was 17, and I was pregnant with Pumpkinpie at 30/31, so that may be a factor.

Anonymous | 10:01 AM

A friend of mine had Blossom, the Power Puff girl, on her hip. Blossoms head is so stupidly out of proportion now that a baby has come and gone that it looks like a pink smear.

Anonymous | 11:07 AM

I'm 24. I've been thinking of getting a little tattoo on my hip and been doing research like CRAZY!.... I'm so happy to come across this!!

Still have some thinking to do...but thanks!

Trysha | 11:11 AM

I think it's how some preggo women get stretch marks and some don't. (I can give you directions around Phoenix on my belly)

I don't have tattoos on my belly/abdomen, but my belly piercing is so weird now. It did close up, but holy the stretching!! The scars are so far apart you would never know it was from the same ring. Oh, and now I know, it was crooked.

Heather Tull | 11:50 AM

I'm worried about the same thing. I have TinyPrincess' name above my c-section scar with the intent to add future children to the list. Currently 14 wks pg and starting to worry that the first name will look scribbled next to this second name. Also, my hips are widening so much that the script on the back of my hips must be getting wider too. Bleck! Mirrors bad!

Anonymous | 12:12 PM

My hip tattoo was completely unchanged by pregnancy. Incidentally, the area I have the tattoo is one of the few areas where I didn't get stretchmarks. I should've gotten more tattoos!

Anonymous | 12:44 PM

I had a neighbor w/ a rose on her cleavage looked awful after her first was born. I think it must be one of those unexplainable things - some get stretch marks, some don't..some get to keep their cutsie tats and some don't.

Anonymous | 2:53 PM

If your tattoo is professionally done (i.e., not acquired in lockup) it will survive pregnancy just fine.
Worrying about how pregnancy will affect your tats is something 18-year-olds do. The rest of us are concerned with creating a birth plan, sibling rivalry, breast feeding and getting the baby on a schedule.


Wow, Anon 2:53, I absolutely disagree. I think "the rest of us" are concerned with all kinds of things, our bodies being one of them. Dealing with physical changes and having concerns with the change in our physical appearances is something many women do. Of ALL ages.

Anonymous | 3:08 PM

I have two, one's made it through four babies unscathed (on my hip and the one that I would want redone) the other hasn't faired so well (on my lower back on the left side).

Anonymous | 4:23 PM

just like others said i think it would depend on whether or not you got stretch marks. only have a tat around the ankle but as far as stretch marks i had NONE the first pregnancy. i had a sixpack after and wore belly shirts all the time just because i could. then i had numbers 2 and 3. now i will never wear a belly shirt again :(


Anonymous | 4:27 PM

My cousin has a Hello Kitty on her abdomen, and her C section sort of bisected it...

No stretching, but now Hello Kitty looks like Frankenstein.

Anonymous | 6:49 PM

While I don't have any tattoos, I am 100% certain that if I did have any, they would have been stretched to hell after my pregnancies. I had very bad edema in my abdomen (we're talking on top of being pregnant, I also retained water in my belly) and I have stretch marks from my shoulders to my knees. I would guess that those who don't have issues with tattoos probably don't have big issues with stretch marks either. Some of us are luckier than others. Guess I should just be glad I never got a tattoo. :)

Anonymous | 7:48 PM

I have a hip survived beautifully ;)

Anonymous | 9:04 PM

I have one on my lower back. . . don't judge. It was the 90's and I was 18! It survived fine. I also did not get a single stretch mark my first pregnancy, but my second left my stomach looking like a roadmap. I gained much less weight the 2nd time around, so I believe their is no rhyme or reason.

oh and I had a belly piercing that I took out 5 years before I got pregnant. I thought it was mostly closed, until I had a huge gaping hole above my navel in the 7th month. Both times. It was NOT cute.

Anonymous | 9:14 PM

Ok....I wish I had something to share here. But I don't have a tatoo, what I am wondering though is, don't they hurt like hell (getting them that is)???

Anonymous | 10:19 PM

I have one on my lower hip and it looks fine. My belly button is another story... I thought it was closed for five years too and then i became a huge hole. So I think maybe if you have it pierced (again,if it's closed now) then maybe this problem won't happen? Hmm I don't know... Do you have a belly button piercing,girlsgonechild?

Laurie | 9:03 AM

I have a tribal dragon, something the people of Borneo would have (yes, late 90's) that starts below the below button up the stomach. It did stretch a bit and now looks OK except for a few areas that are lighter than the rest.

Anonymous | 11:04 AM

Re: anon 2:53
I agree with Rebecca. Just because I have a child does not mean I have to give up caring about ME. Frankly, I think that's a disservice to you AND your child. Of course my primary concern is my child, but I think I am entitled to care about how I look. Wearing makeup and dressing nicely is showing concern for your appearance and that is not frowned upon in society. Why should this be any different?

Anonymous | 11:45 AM

No tattoos, but if I could count on them looking like a Dali after pregnancy, then I'd go for it.

Instead, the way things look now, they'd have wrinkles. Not so cool.

Anonymous | 9:58 PM

I used to work with a gal who, as a teen, had gotten an ill-advised spider tattooed on her abdomen. She got pregnant at around the age of 19 or so — not sure how big she got, but she got stretch marks. And one of the stretch marks fell EXACTLY along the length of one of the spider's legs. So forever afterwards, she had a spider tattoo with a wonky leg.

Anonymous | 12:40 AM

I've always wondered what happens to pierced belly buttons. Does the hole just get HUGE?

Um ... how's THAT for a double entendre?

So glad to have found you!

S.T. | 7:51 AM

So I guess the lesson here is: Get your belly button piercing after you're finished having children. lol I've thought about getting a belly button piercing, and, yes, I'm finished with childbirthing, but I'm very doubtful at this point that my stomache will ever be in good enough shape again for me to want to draw attention to it.

No tats here, btw.

Anonymous | 10:44 PM

The ankh I have around my belly button was huge while I was pregnant and I got stretch marks across the bottom of it. Now, 3 years later, it is still stretched out all below my belly button, but it hides the stretch marks I guess.:)

vahnee | 9:21 PM

My tat's on the back of my neck, so no stretching there.. but I do have a hood piercing that will be coming out when I'm sure I'm in labor. I'm waiting until as late as possible because I so do NOT want to have to get it re-pierced! :-)

Anonymous | 6:53 PM

I have one small tattoo on my lower hip, and a very large (almost 6 inches long and 3 wide) tattoo on my side between my hip bone and ribs.

I want kids, so this makes me feel a whole hell of a lot better about getting my tattoos before childbirth. It gives me hope that they'll survive.....can you fix them if they don't?

Anonymous | 1:49 AM

I never wanted one..but now I'm thinking I do to cover up stretch marks, does that work? I'm not able to have anymore babies, but would love to fix the stretch marks!

Anonymous | 8:56 PM

One of my co-workers had a strawberry tattoo in her lower pelvic area. 2 years after her pregnancy, the strawberry looked more like an apple.

Anonymous | 10:36 AM

i already have a few tattoos on my body and I REALLY want to get my next one down my right side on my ribs, and i KNOW i plan on having children within the next few years. should i get the tattoo or no? bad idea? good idea? anyone have experiences like this?

Anonymous | 1:08 PM

Hello ladies

Been doing a bit of reading up Ace Blog! Love it!

My mates having a baby and i get to be there with her! Hoorah - a duty i am taking most seriously i assure! But seeing the size of her belly did make me wonder if i should keep the appointment i have booked to get my back tat linked to the front tat and my decision is such...

I am blessed enough to have good skin and have made it to 26 with not a stretch mark on me - unlike my sister who had stretch marks at 16 and a mere size 8! Luck of the draw i guess (but you see she has better hair browner skin and bigger boobs - whose the winner???)

So - i am just going to go for it and hope for the best - look after your skin - it's the biggest organ you've got... decorate it, embellish it, love it. So what if we do get stretch marks. WE get to create and grow another soul.

I think that's much cooler than tattoos - even if you do design them yourself! Hee hee



Anonymous | 6:37 PM

Ive seen tatoos stretch on some pregnant women and some not stretch, it depends on where the tattoo is on the body.

Anonymous | 2:12 AM

A little late for comments, but if anyone sees this:

What about tattoos AFTER pregnancy? I'm so impatient to get mine done (I've been designing it for years), but as the days until my wedding night--and kids soon after I'm sure--get fewer and fewer, I'm wondering if I should wait. Will ink not hold over stretch marks like it doesn't on most scars?

Anonymous | 9:25 AM

I really want to get a lower back tattoo that wraps around my hip bones to almost connect near my pubioc bone...but i also really want to have at least two very soon i hope within the next two years...from what i'm reading it seems like the stomach tats strech but the hip bone tats dont...i dont know what to do

Anonymous | 6:04 PM

I was concerned about getting my tattoo, but after reasing this, i'm even more worried about my belly button peircing thast i already have! Does it stretch that bad?!?

Anonymous | 7:25 PM


ok ladies i'm 24 years ols and yes i would like 1 or 2 kids...i just got a tattoo on my side from my ribs to below my hip and i'm thinking of getting a larger one on my other side....ugh i love tattoos but i am so scared...i hardly have any visible stretchmarks and i don't really think they'll stretch idk....

BUT i never even thought about my belly button peircingS...i have on the top and one on the bottom....I think i'm pretty screwed about that...crap

tattoo might be ok hopefully...ugh scared...what do u think...yes i'm crasy...:)

Anonymous | 8:35 AM

I've been thinking about getting a tattoo on my left ribcage- just a small one but someone told me that it would stretch there once I got pregnant. thoughts?

Anonymous | 6:56 AM

What if you get a tattoo on the side like on ur ribcage and a little under. Like on your love handles? Cuz I am planning on having kids but I really really want one of those? How bad do they stretch?

Anonymous | 1:43 AM

i have just had a big tattoo done over my left hip - on my muffin top right round to below my belly button lol and i love it!
I plan to marry next year and start a family shortly after, so mayb i should have allowed more time for the ink to settle and integrate with my skin
but i hadnt given much thought to how the tattoo would react to pregnancy i just knew i wanted it and i intend 2 enjoy it while i can its mainly for me to see as i never bare my stomach
I'l be upset if it distorts as its beautiful but who else will ever need to see it on a frequent basis ?
Im trying to be positive that if i take care of it - it will be fine and i hope my mothers genetiscs help me out - she was huge whilst pregnant with me but was back in her uk size 8 jeans the day after i arrived!

Anonymous | 6:42 PM

damn. i have 4 belly piercings. im screwed, arent i,

Anonymous | 8:55 PM

Just to ease some fears... I had my belly ring in until I was 7 mos preggo and only took it out b/c everyone kept freaking me out saying it would rip my bellybutton in half. Lol my belly button never popped and my holes are in the same place, same size. No problems :-)

Anonymous | 5:18 PM

ok so heres the thing... ive been dyin to get a small tattoo on my hip, like the hip bone.. but im scared that it will stretch, though i dont have any stretch marks.. im only 16 though but im certain that im not gonna grow any more. does the tattoo like shrink back to its original size after pregnancy?? im not plannin to get pregnant any time soon but you know you gotta think ahead to things like that.. :D ha

Anonymous | 10:03 AM

I came for before and after pictures... do any of you have these? Oh it would be so entertaining...

ash | 9:31 AM

im 18 and i plan on having kids in the future .i hope by that point i wont care how i look but lets face it im a girl ill always somewhat care. i have one tatt on my wrist and i want to get a tattoo on my ribs all the woman in my family end up with unbelievable stretch marks while pregnant so my question isint will it stretch it is if i get this tattoo and it stretches i would still be able to cover it up and make it look nice later right?

Anonymous | 9:25 PM

I'm 18 and I just got a tattoo three days ago. It's a four line quote starting below my left breast and ends about 3 inches above my belly button (not directly above it but an inch or so to the left). I'm kind of freaking out now about how it's going to look if I ever have kids...any thoughts or consoling words?

Anonymous | 9:35 PM

I have a tattoo directly on my rib cage front and center, not to the side or anything. I was also REALLY worried about what would happen to it if I got pregnant later down the road. I talked to my tattoo artist and she said it all has to do with the placement of your tattoo and if you happen to get stretch marks where the tattoo is. Lucky for me she said I'll be in the clear-phew-because its unlikely to get stretch marks there. So ladies maybe just think about the placement of your tattoo because you never know whats going to happen to your body in the future, I got my tattoo on a splurge of eagerness and excitement not even thinking about the fact that it is indeed permanent and what would happen when/if I get pregnant. Hope this helps!

Anonymous | 9:21 PM

I've been debating a lot on whether to get a tattoo when I turn 18 and I don't want it anywhere where it will be visible if I have clothes on (even a bikini or underwear), so it seems like low on the hip is my only option. Before you judge me, I am NOT planning on having kids anytime soon, but I definitely want to later in life. Do you think there's a way to sort of predict whether or not a tattoo would stretch? Like by history of stretch marks? I have a lot on my legs and the sides of my hips... If getting a hip tattoo just isn't a good idea for someone who wants to have kids, does anyone have an idea for a different tattoo location? One that would be easy to keep covered up? Thanks! -Manda

Anonymous | 9:26 AM

Alright, so i just read through every post on this wall lol and from what i can tell it seems the rib tattoos survive! :D i am 16 and im getting my first tattoo in 6 days now, it will be coming up on the back side of my ribs of about 12 inches, and then will be coming up through the middle of my ribs and under my right breast! sooooo excited, put years of thought into it and is dedicated to my God <3 now before you judge, i'm not planning on becoming a mom for at least another 10-20 years lol but of course when you put alot of thought into these things, that always comes up as a factor, now from what i can tell my family has bad genes. both grandmothers and my mom were stick thin like me and post-pregnancy gained weight like crazy and obtained multiple stretchmarks. But from all your posts, they have given me much hope that my tattoo will survive and that even if it doesnt, i had it done for me, it will live a long beautiful life, and i would have created a beautiful soul :) THANK YOU!!! -Maria

Anonymous | 10:24 AM

Im thinking of getting a tattoo on and under my breast, so that it will be completely covered by my bra. I want to get a quote so that the words follow the circular shape of my breast. Does anyone have a tattoo there or know of anyone who does? I'm concerned that it will get stretched, distorted, and look ugly when I get pregnant in the future?

Anonymous | 10:26 AM

Im thinking of getting a tattoo on and under my breast, so that it will be completely covered by my bra. I want to get a quote so that the words follow the circular shape of my breast. Does anyone have a tattoo there or know of anyone who does? I'm concerned that it will get stretched, distorted, and look ugly when I get pregnant in the future?

Anonymous | 12:08 PM

i have lots of tatts, but the one that i was most worried about with my pregnancy were my wings on my very lower abdomen...they did fine..i was lucky enough to only gain 20 lbs pregnant so that prob helped, but even so they looked fine and still do...

Laura A | 2:40 PM

i'm thinking about getting a tattoo that says "stay beautiful, keep it ugly" on my lower stomach, but i'm also afraid of stretching. after reading some of these comments, i'm thinking i will go through with it... & hope for the best! -Laura A

Anonymous | 6:11 AM

I got huge with my DD and I had 3 black stars on my hip. The star in the middle (which was the biggest with just an outline no color) got a stech mark so 9 and a half months later after giving birth my star is all deformed and that was the only "crater" strechmark I got. so now Im stuck with this tacky looking star!

Anonymous | 9:47 PM

I desperately want a tattoo on my side that says love using the wheelchair heart as the o. I'm a special Ed teacher and planning on having kids a few years after mmy wedding next year, but after reading this I've got the courage to do it. Even if it gets stretched, the whole meaning behind it says to love yourself and everyone else regardless of challenges and inconveniences handed to you by God. If it stretches as a result of me bringing a child into the world, oh well. And to the jack*** who thinks its conceited to give this thought, may you someday find peace within yourself so that you can find peace within others as well.

Anonymous | 1:36 AM

Hey im just now coming across your blog but i sooo need to know ... i want to get a rose with the stem and leaves on my complete left side and stars on the other ... i definently want kids in the future .. would you recommend not getting any tatts actually ON my stomach but the ones i want should be okay right? Or no tattoos at all? ?

Anonymous | 7:49 AM

I've heard your body can handle 20 pounds of stretching before a tattoo becomes warped, which could be part of the issue. a lot of women can gain somewhere above or below that amount on the torso.