Tattoo Pain Vs Childbirth: Which Is More Painful?

Pain is apparently the biggest thing that most people wonder about when they think about getting a tattoo. Imagine the tattoo needle is piercing the skin to etch out a permanent piece of art; it should be painful, shouldn’t it? 

Tattoo pain vs childbirth – which pain is worse? How about other common pains such as period cramps or waxing? Read on to have the most reasonable expectations about what you’ll go through in the parlor. 

Do Tattoos Hurt More Than Birth?

Tattoo pain vs childbirth, which is more painful? While getting tattooed does hurt, there’s no way that tattooing can be put on the same scale as childbirth pain. Childbirth is a whole different ballpark!

Some people had tattoos on their ribs (which is one of the most pain-provoking body parts) before giving birth to their first child and thought it was the most intense, intolerable pain. Yet, after childbirth, they changed their mind, and labor pain topped their list of the most unbearable pain.

labor pain is a whole different ballpark with needle pain

Tattoo pain is often mentioned as the on-the-surface pain. Some associated it with scratches on the cat or sunburn, especially for those tattoos on fatty areas. However, on those parts with less fat, such as ribs, the pain is like having a very sharp needle dragged across a very bad sunburn.

On the other hand, labor pain is often described as “excruciating” or “the most intense”. This is why epidurals and C-sections are common, not only among first-time mothers but also among people who have already given birth before, gone through the pain, and seek a less painful alternative.  

What Is Tattoo Pain Comparable To?

So, what sensations to expect while you’re having your skin tattooed? In general, tattoo pain is bearable for most people. 

The sensations can range from a cat-scratching or sun-burnt feel to annoying pain that you have to bite down your teeth. It also depends on the place on the body that you get inked. You’ll likely feel the most pain if you get a tattoo on the bony parts such as your ribs, shins, spines, and fingers.

Most tattoo pain is tolerable

What Is More Painful Than Giving Birth?

There is one thing most women will agree upon: giving birth is the most painful thing they have ever experienced. However, the truth is that there are a few pains that are equivalent to or even surpass it:

Do Tattoos Hurt More Than Period Cramps?

While pain is subject from one person to another, most women believe period cramps are worse than tattoo pains. This is especially true for those with more severe cramps than others, to the point of getting bedridden. 

These two types of pains are quite different, however. A continually vibrating pain similar to when a cat paw scratches over your skin. It’s more like a surface pain. Period cramps feel like your organs are squeezed and punched.

We would say that a large-scale tattoo will induce more pain than menstrual cramps, while a small or medium-sized one is normally more tolerable than what you often suffer during your period.

What Hurts More Getting Waxed Or Getting A Tattoo?

These two things are comparable, and there is no definite answer as people have different pain thresholds. But, again, you’re going to experience different sorts of sensations. 

Waxing creates recurring quick bursts of pain, whereas tattooing is a persistent kind of cat-scratching pain that spans minutes or hours during the session.

Interestingly, the pain level greatly varies across the body, whether you’re waxing or getting a tattoo. For example, if the needle goes over the bonier area, it would definitely feel worse than waxing over the same spot.


Between tattoo pain vs childbirth – childbirth definitely on the higher level of pain intensity. It’s natural to feel nervous about how much pain you’ll experience when getting tattooed. 

However, studies have shown that your psychological expectations can affect the pain while getting your skin inked. Think reasonably! The tattoo pain is way more tolerable than labor pain and potentially the period cramps. It’s equivalent to or slightly more intense than waxing.

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