Last updated on May 10th, 2023 at 10:34 am
This article explains how pregnant women can enjoy the sun safely. It covers the risks and benefits of sunbathing while pregnant and provides tips on safely soaking up the sun.
Sunbathing while pregnant can be a great way to relax and enjoy the outdoors. However, it comes with some risks, particularly if you exaggerate it.
Fortunately, you don’t have to hide from the sun throughout the whole pregnancy. What’s more, sunlight is necessary for vitamin D formation, which is very important in the baby’s development.
So, do not give up the sun. However, respect its power and do not forget to follow safe sunbathing practices during pregnancy.
Is Sunbathing during Pregnancy Safe?
It can be, but only if you don’t overdo it and take all the necessary precautions listed below!
Here are a few steps you can take:
1. Use Sunscreen:
When we think of safe sunbathing, using sunscreen is one of the first things that comes to our minds. Yes, you should use it! But remember that not all sunscreens are safe during pregnancy.
Make sure you choose a mineral sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30. Mineral sunscreens are safe for pregnant women and free from chemicals that could affect the baby in the womb. You can find examples of quality sunscreens in our list of the best pregnancy-safe sunscreens.
The next important thing is its proper use. That includes reapplying the sunscreen every two hours or after swimming or sweating. Also, don’t skimp on it; apply it liberally on all exposed skin, including your face, arms, legs, and belly.
2. Time Your Sunbathing:
Please, don’t sunbathe in the middle of the day, pregnant or not.
The safest time to sunbathe is early morning or late afternoon when the sun is less intense and temperatures are lower. That is usually before 10 a.m. and past 4 p.m.
3. Wear Protective Clothing:
Did you know that skin tan is our skin’s attempt to protect us from harmful UV radiation? Your skin is already more sensitive during pregnancy, therefore, do not burden it with excessive sunbathing. You don’t need that extra tan. You are already glowing due to your pregnancy.
But that doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy yourself on the beach in your favorite swimsuits. Just be careful, and try to combine. It’s best to alternate between a swimsuit and lightweight clothing for optimal comfort and sun protection.
When I was pregnant, I wore a sun hat and sunglasses as much as I could during the summer. The eyes and face are the most exposed body parts, not just during sunbathing but every time we step outside, so protecting them is a good idea.
4. Stay Hydrated:
Your body temperature is higher during pregnancy, making you even more susceptible to dehydration than usual. Thus staying hydrated by drinking enough water is extremely important.
Dehydration can cause dizziness, nausea, and fatigue and lead to severe complications during pregnancy. Some of them are increased risk of urinary tract infections, preterm labor, low amniotic fluid levels, congenital disabilities, etc.
5. Listen to Your Body:
Do not exaggerate. If you feel uncomfortable, dizzy, or too hot, it’s time to take a break from the sun. Move to a shaded or air-conditioned area, drink water, and cool down.
Benefits and Risks of Sunbathing During Pregnancy
Sunbathing during pregnancy can have both benefits and risks.
Potential benefits of sunbathing while pregnant:
- Exposure to the sun will help your body produce vitamin D. This is actually the only natural way of Vitamin D production. Vitamin D is essential for a proper baby’s bone development. It also contributes to a healthy immune system and helps prevent complications (preeclampsia and gestational diabetes) during pregnancy.
- Most people feel better in the sun. Spending time outdoors can improve your mood and reduce stress, benefiting you and your baby.
- Moderate sun exposure has been shown to positively affect sleep patterns, which can be especially beneficial for pregnant women who may struggle with insomnia or disrupted sleep.
- According to this study, sun exposure during pregnancy may help reduce children’s risk of food allergies and asthma. Of course, on the assumption that you sunbathe safely and do not overdo it.
Potential risks of sunbathing while pregnant:
- Excessive sun exposure increases the risk of skin damage, including sunburn and skin cancer. The risk is even higher if you are not using sunscreen, which must be safe for use during pregnancy.
- Pregnant women are more susceptible to overheating. Thus spending too much time in the sun can increase the risk of dehydration and heat exhaustion.
- Doctors have noticed that more miscarriages occur during the summer months. After research, they’ve concluded there are correlations between increased exposure to high temperatures and miscarriage.
- Pregnant women are more susceptible to skin pigmentation. Thus sun exposure can cause melasma or the so-called “pregnancy mask” on your face. If you notice dark, irregular patches of skin on your face, your skin reacts more strongly to UV rays. If you sunbathe or use a sunbed, the dark patches are likely to worsen.
Do’s and Don’ts of Sunbathing while Pregnant
If you plan to sunbathe during pregnancy, remember the steps you must take and what is better to avoid.
- Wear sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and reapply every two hours.
- Use only pregnancy-safe sunscreens.
- Wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Be in the sun only before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m.
- Take breaks in the shade to avoid overheating.
- Listen to your body and stop if you feel uncomfortable or dizzy.
- Be in the sun extremely long.
- Sunbathe during peak hours of sunlight (usually 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
- Use tanning beds or lamps, which can harm you and your baby.
- Forget to check with your healthcare provider, especially if you have a history of skin cancer or other health concerns.
RELATED: 9 Summer Pregnancy Tips
Sunbathing while pregnant can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors and soak up some vitamin D. However, do it safely and follow all the recommendations.