Pregnancy is a unique time in every expectant mother’s life. With new changes and responsibilities, it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle for both the mother and the developing baby.
One popular topic that has raised eyebrows among pregnant women is tanning. This article will delve into the pros and cons of tanning while pregnant, and guide you make informed decisions about your journey towards a sun-kissed glow.
Can you tan while pregnant?
So you may be wondering if you can actually tan while pregnant. The actual fact is, there hasn’t been any clear evidence that tanning will harm your little one, but you.
Per the updated consensus on tanning in pregnancy, It is agreed that the use of self-tanning lotions, creams and foams are considered safe and harmless. In most cases, you can even get a spray tan so far as you follow the safety precautions.
But regular sunbathing during pregnancy can be risky and thence must be minimized because it can heighten your risk for sunburn, and to the extreme, cancer.
Anytime you plan on getting a sunbath, don’t stay for long (usually not longer than a couple of hours) plus, it shouldn’t be more than thrice a week.
Also, be sure of following all the safety precautions to avoid potential hazards. And before using any tanning product, consult your dermatologist!
Top 10 Pros of tanning while pregnant
I like to start with the pros for a good reason. But take note that while tanning has been associated with some health benefits, the associated risks may far outweigh the potential rewards during pregnancy.
Nevertheless, below is a list of the 10 pros of sun exposure while pregnant.
1. Vitamin D synthesis
Exposure to sunlight helps your body’s production of Vitamin D. And vitamin D is necessary to support your body’s absorption of some vital nutrients like calcium and phosphorus for stronger bones and teeth, not only to you, but your baby as well.
2. Boost mood
When you’re out there in the sunlight, you’re certainly going to have a boosted mood because you’ll literally be hanging around with people, both friends and strangers.
This will increase serotonin production, also known as the feel-good hormone in your brains which has been associated to depression relief.
3. Reduce stress
While you stay out there in the sun spending time with your buddies, you’re sure of reducing stress levels drastically and promoting relaxation during pregnancy.
4. Better Sleep
Sunlight exposure can help regulate your sleep cycle by influencing melatonin production, potentially leading to better sleep quality.
5. Increased Energy
Catching some sun rays can help you feel more energized and combat fatigue commonly experienced during pregnancy.
6. Improved Complexion
Limited sun exposure can help with skin conditions like acne or psoriasis, potentially contributing to clearer skin during pregnancy.
7. Lower blood pressure
The updated study on sun bathing suggested that sunlight exposure will lower your blood pressure levels since it helps in the dilation of blood vessels.
8. Boosts immune system
It has also been shown that vitamin D from the sunlight can support your body’s immune response and functions. And that is very important during pregnancy.
9. Reduced Leg cramps
Vitamin D in sunlight exposure is also necessary to maintain better muscle functioning and reduced leg cramps which is common among pregnant women.
10. Psychological Health
A healthy tan can create a sense of confidence and well-being, helping you feel more content with your changing body during pregnancy
While enjoying these benefits, you should me mindful on the time and frequency of sunbathing. Ensure you take safety precautions like using sunscreen, wearing appropriate clothing, and avoiding peak UV hours.
Top 10 Cons of tanning while pregnant
Just as tanning have some potential benefits, there are several risks to consider. Some of these risks are not unique to pregnant women but have higher likelihood and consequences during pregnancy. They include;
When you’re pregnant, your skin becomes very sensitive to the sun, which increases risks of getting sunburns.
12. Skin Cancer
You may increase your risks of getting a skin cancer if you’re regularly exposing your body to the sun.
13. Premature Aging
You are also likely to develop wrinkles, age spots and fine lines by having excessive exposure to the sun.
Of course, you’ll lose a lot of water after a prolong exposure to the sunlight. This will have impacts on both yourself and your baby.
When you spend too much time in a tanning bed under the sun, you’re going to be overheated which could be so dangerous to your baby. Remember your baby can’t stand such temperatures.
You’re going to be more susceptible to melasma (dark patches on skin) if you keep sunbathing while pregnant.
17. Photosensitive Reactions
Some medications taken during pregnancy may have photosensitive side effects, increasing the risk of negative reactions to sunlight.
18. Folic acid degradation:
It has also been shown that UV rays from the sun destroy folic acid stores in your body. Your baby is consistently taking folic acid from you to boost growth.
In fact, folic acid is also required to prevent neural tube defects in your baby. And so when you stay in the sun for long, you aren’t helping your baby – healthwise.
19. Reduced Sunscreen Effectiveness
Your sunscreen may not work on you because your skin is overly sensitive during pregnancy. As such, you’d have increased risks of getting sunburn and skin damage.
20. Tanning beds and chemical exposures
Have you ever heard of radiation associated diseases like leukaemia? You should note that the tanning beds can have you highly exposed to artificial UV radiation and some other chemicals which can have negative impacts on your health and the baby’s.
You should be cautious and also, talk to your dermatologist or healthcare professional for further concerns you may have about sunbathing during pregnancy.
When should I stop tanning during pregnancy?
It is not necessarily about when to stop tanning during pregnancy, but rather how to tan safely while pregnant.
If you’re looking to tan at this time, then you should consider safer alternatives to the traditional tanning. Rethink your idea regarding sun exposure, as it is generally unhealthy.
Also, the tanning beds are not even recommended for pregnant women because they can pose a bigger risk to your baby.
While research is still ongoing, it is generally necessary to talk to your healthcare professional when you need to tan.
What are some alternatives to tanning?
If you are looking for alternatives to tanning that could still help to achieve a bronzed glow without the harmful health risks, there are several options to consider:
Sunless Tanning Lotion
Spray tanning can give you a fast and even tan without the need for sun or UV light exposure according to Ask Aysa and Healthline.
These are another user-friendly and portable alternative to traditional tanning methods, offering a quick and easy solution.
Sun Protective Clothing
While not an alternative for tanning, wearing sun-protective clothing can guard the skin from harmful UV rays and prevent skin damage and aging.
Bronzers or Body Makeup
These work on the skin’s surface to provide a temporary tan and can be washed off at the end of the day.
It is important to note that, though these methods will help you tan and glow, none offers protection against UV rays and sunburn.
It is always advised that you protect your skin from sun exposure, and you can easily do this by wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
Is tanning lotion safe for pregnant women?
Tanning lotions are generally considered safe during pregnancy. All tanning lotions or self-tanners have an active ingredient called Dihydroxyacetone, also DHA, for short.
This ingredient is a sugar type and its main aim is to regulate and eliminate dead cells on your skin while causing skin to darken temporarily.
Because you only use on the outermost layer of your skin, it doesn’t get into the body, so it doesn’t harm your baby.
Nonetheless, while these products are considered safe, they are not created equally. And so when you need to choose from the several, make sure the product you choose do not contain any additives like synthetic fragrances, parabens or formaldegyde.
These ingredients are harmful and can negatively impact your health and the baby’s.
Additionally, these lotions do not provide protection from the sun’s UV rays, so it’s still necessary to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen when going out.
Also Read: Can You Take An Ice Bath During Pregnancy?
FAQs – Pros and Cons Of Tanning While Pregnant
There is no research to conclude that tanning will cause miscarriage but you should be cautious about sunbathing, which can result in overheating. Be sure to limit the time you stay in the sun.
Tanning won’t harm your baby but sunbathing or using tanning beds would increase exposure to UV rays and cause your body to overheat when you stay in for long. This is basically unhealthy.
To improve your baby’s skin color, be sure to drink plenty fluids to stay hydrated, eat foods rich in Vitamin A (oranges, strawberries, etc.), avoid harmful substances like alcohol or drugs and have enough sleep.
CONCLUSION – Pros and Cons Of Tanning While Pregnant
In conclusion, tanning in pregnancy is a nuanced topic. Moderate exposure to the sun can have some health benefits such as increasing your stores for vitamins D.
On the other hand, frequent exposures to the sun are going to come with some more dangerous health risks like folic acid degradation and skin cancers; and these are a significant concern.
Its an undeniable fact that these concerns are amplified during pregnancy where the health of both yourself and the baby are involved.
It’s advisable to choose alternative tanning methods like sunless tanning lotions or spray tans, which offer good aesthetic results without the associated risks.
While these are safer options for tanning, they do not offer any protection against the sun’s harmful rays, and so it’s still necessary to apply sunscreen when you wear them.
When making any decision in pregnancy, including tanning, put your health and that of your baby’s first. Any decision you arrive at, should factor both immediate desires and their respective long term health.
Be sure to outweigh options and choose one which has pros overly exceeding the cons.
Talk to your obstetrician and your dermatologist when making decisions like tanning that could potentially pose some risks to your health during pregnancy.