Is It Safe to Sunbathe During Pregnancy?
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
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.
Read also: A Guide to Beauty Products During Pregnancy
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.
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, peak exposure to sunlight during the first 3 months of gestation causes complications related to high blood pressure.
However, there are several studies showing that exposure to ultraviolet radiation has positive effects on fetal growth.
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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.It might interest you...
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 KE, Poulton R, Kirk IJ, Silva PA. The effects of pre- and post-natal sunlight exposure on human growth: evidence from the Southern Hemisphere. Early Hum Dev. 2000 Nov;60(1):35-42. doi: 10.1016/s0378-3782(00)00102-x. PMID: 11054582.
- Algert CS, Roberts CL, Shand AW, Morris JM, Ford JB. Seasonal variation in pregnancy hypertension is correlated with sunlight intensity. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Sep;203(3):215.e1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2010.04.020. PMID: 20537304.
- Bolanca I, Bolanca Z, Kuna K, et al. Cloasma: la máscara del embarazo . Coll Antropol . 2008; 32 Suppl 2: 139-141.