Is It Safe to Sunbathe During Pregnancy?

It's possible to sunbathe during pregnancy. However, it's important to take the necessary precautions and understand the risks involved.
Is It Safe to Sunbathe During Pregnancy?
Maria del Carmen Hernandez

Written and verified by the dermatologist Maria del Carmen Hernandez.

Last update: 27 July, 2023

Sunbathing during pregnancy is one of the many concerns women have during this period. The truth is, there’s no prohibition in this regard, but it’s not recommended and all precautions should be taken to do it in a conscious and healthy way.

It’s important to take into account that at this stage, the skin is more sensitive. Therefore, it’s more prone to develop dark spots in certain parts of the body due to hormonal changes.

The risks of sunbathing during pregnancy

Balance should be maintained between the risks of sunbathing and the need to meet the body’s vitamin D requirements. This advice applies even to people who aren’t pregnant.


During the months of pregnancy, changes in hormone levels tend to increase the likelihood of hyperpigmentary changes (chloasma) when exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. These dark spots appear on the forehead, nose, and malar region. For this reason, these manifestations are known as pregnancy mask.

In some cases, after childbirth, the spots tend to disappear on their own or diminish in tone. However, there are complementary aesthetic procedures that contribute to the treatment of hyperpigmentation.


There’s no evidence of a proven way to reverse the signs of ultraviolet damage to the skin. Therefore, prevention is the most recommended. Sun damage is expressed in changes in the DNA of skin cells and also decreases the efficiency of immune cells to detect and fight damage.

Sun exposure tends to increase the body’s core temperature. Therefore, in pregnant women, dehydration is more likely to occur. This could lead to symptoms of preterm labor. The temperature of the fetus increases along with the temperature of the mother’s body. For this reason, it’s best not to remain exposed to the sun for too long

A pregnant woman lying in the sun by the pool.
When a woman’s pregnant, there’s a slight immunosuppression that further increases the chances of suffering from sun-induced conditions.

Skin cancer

Exposure to ultraviolet rays, especially if it causes sunburn, can increase the risk of developing skin cancer, also known as melanoma. In addition, chronic low-grade exposure to the sun’s rays is one of the causes of skin aging.

How to protect your skin for sunbathing during pregnancy

Regardless of whether you’re pregnant or not, you should be careful and take precautions when exposed to the sun. In fact, there are some special precautions to take into account during pregnancy.

The use of sunscreen

The use of sunscreen is one of the most important care measures to prevent damage. It’s best to apply the product every day of the year on the areas of the body that are exposed to the sun. Certain aspects should be prioritized in the choice of sunscreen:

  • Broad spectrum (acts before UVA and UVB rays)
  • Water resistance
  • With an SPF of 50 or more

It’s important to reapply the sunscreen after two hours of sun exposure. In fact, there are mineral variants containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide that are deposited on the skin without being absorbed.

A pregnant woman wearing a wide-brimmed hat, looking out at the ocean.
Wearing a wide-brimmed hat is key to covering the face and protecting it from the sun. Even when in the shade, reflections of the sun’s rays on sand, water, or snow, cause an increase in radiation with consequent damage.

The benefit of wearing hats

The use of wide-brimmed hats is ideal to cover and provide protection to the face. In addition, it’s best to avoid exposure at its strongest moments. Therefore, it’s a good idea to stay out of the sun between 10 am and 3 pm.

Sunbathing during pregnancy and blood pressure

There’s an association between high blood pressure complications during pregnancy and ultraviolet rays. In fact, Exposure to peak sunlight during the first 3 months of gestation is a key factor in causing complications related to high blood pressure.

However, there are several studies showing that exposure to ultraviolet radiation has positive effects on fetal growth.

You may be interested in: High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

Safe sunbathing during pregnancy

There’s no prohibition against enjoying the outdoors and being exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays during pregnancy. However, it’s important to take the necessary precautions and understand the risks involved.

Some of the essential considerations are proper hydration, the use of sunscreen, and limiting exposure to avoid overheating. This way, damage to the skin is minimized.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Waldie, K. E., Poulton, R., Kirk, I. J., Silva, P. A. (2000). The effects of pre- and post-natal sunlight exposure on human growth: evidence from the Southern Hemisphere. Early Hum Dev, 60(1), 35-42. Recuperado de:
  • Algert, C. S., Roberts, C. L., Shand, A. W., Morris, J. M., Ford, J. B. (2010). Seasonal variation in pregnancy hypertension is correlated with sunlight intensity. Am J Obstet Gynecol, 203(3), 215.e1-5. Recuperado de:
  • Bolanca, I., Bolanca, Z., Kuna, K., et al. (2008). Cloasma: la máscara del embarazo. Coll Antropol, 32(S2), 139-141. Recuperado de:

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.