Perceptions of midwives with visible body art: OK or no way?

Alison Power, Justine Lowe

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle


The Code (Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), 2015) details the professional standards that midwives must uphold whether their practice involves direct care or they are in leadership, education or research roles. In relation to prioritising people, midwives must treat women as individuals and ‘avoid making assumptions and recognise diversity and individual choice’ (NMC, 2015:4). Tattoos and piercings are becoming increasingly popular forms of body art, with Laux et al. (2016) suggesting up to 36% of people under 40 having at least one tattoo. Anecdotal evidence suggests that tattoos, piercings and ‘creative’ hair styles and colours may have elicited negative opinions and stereotyping of an individual’s character and lifestyle choices in the past. Recently, Winter (2017) talked of the clinical impact of tattoos and piercings on pregnancy in relation to possible complications in care; however what if it is the midwife who has the tattoos and connotations? In her blog, Durant (2017) poses this very question and generates an interesting discussion. As cultural norms evolve, tattoos and piercings are becoming mainstream - this article will hear Justine Lowe’s narrative of her journey into midwifery and her reflections on how her tattoos and ‘colourful’ hair are perceived by colleagues and the women in her care.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Midwifery
Issue number3
Early online date28 Feb 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Feb 2018


  • Assumptions
  • non-judgemental practice
  • the Code
  • piercings
  • tattoos


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