Q: The tattoo that was on my hipbone before I got pregnant is expanding. Is there anything I can do to make sure that when my belly returns to normal, my tattoo doesn't stay at twice its original size?
A: First, do not get a tattoo while you're pregnant (on your belly or anywhere else). "There's a risk of infection or an allergic reaction to the ink," says Kenneth Beer, M.D., a clinical instructor in dermatology at the University of Miami. If you already have a tattoo, don't think about getting it removed until after your pregnancy--undergoing laser removal when you are pregnant is unsafe.
That said, once your tattoo is in place, there is little you can do to govern how it responds, Beer says. "It is part of the underlying skin that is its canvas and thus subject to the same expansion and shrinking." Most of the time it goes back to about the same size and shape it was prior to pregnancy, but it may have new stripes (stretch marks) or elongated dimensions. Moisturizing will help keep your expanding belly comfortable. Try: Earth Mama Angel Baby Body Butter, $28, with 86 percent certified-organic ingredients.