Sun Exposure during Pregnancy – Is It Safe?

Pregnant woman in Sun

Your idea of happiness could revolve around a sunny day that speaks tons of positivity. But when you are pregnant, the scenario could change. With people constantly advising you on what to do and what not, you may feel conscious about every little thing. Your pregnancy and sun exposure are interlinked in a way you would not want to skip knowing. Read on to find out more.

Is Sunlight Beneficial during Pregnancy?

It has always been known that sun exposure is good if you need an adequate dose of Vitamin D. Therefore, sun exposure becomes essential for pregnant women too as it aids in providing bone creation of the fetus. Moreover, a strong immunity for you and the baby also gets assured.

Contrary to the above fact, being pregnant causes your hormonal levels to shoot up. This, in turn, makes your skin more sensitive than ever. Thus, longer exposures to the sun are a total no-no when pregnant.

Risks of Sun Exposure in Pregnancy

The sun sensitivity in pregnancy increases and may be full of risks for you and your baby. So, read on to know what are the potential risks of Sun exposure during pregnancy:

  • Skin Cancer

This is a major concern for women who are pregnant. A study points out to the fact that pregnant women who are exposed to UV rays for extended periods can develop skin cancer. This is due to the sunburns that follow after a prolonged sunbath. As already discussed, pregnant women are prone to skin sensitivity thus there are more chances of sunburn.

  • Melasma

Commonly known as “pregnancy mask”, is a condition that may lead to skin discolouration. When pregnant, hormonal changes can lead to excessive production of melanin. Such a condition can further add up to the sensitivity, making your skin lose colour when exposed to the sun.

  • Dehydration

While you enjoy soaking in the sun, you may forget to gulp down adequate volumes of liquid. This can further lead to dehydration. Though it is a common case irrespective of you being pregnant, the side effects may show up immediately in pregnancy. Dehydration in pregnant women can increase their heart rate and could also reduce the amount of oxygen for the foetus.

  • Folic Acid Breakdown

Certain studies point out the fact that too much sun exposure in pregnant women can lead to a diminution of folate levels. If such a thing happens, it could lead to miscarriages or neural tube defects in babies. Folic acid is necessary especially during the first trimester of pregnancy, and thus it is recommended to lower your sun exposure in this crucial period.

A woman using a sunscreen

Is Sunscreen Safe to Use During Pregnancy?

Sunscreens act as a perfect resort for sunburns and other skin damages. But can pregnant women use it? The answer is, yes, sunscreens can be used by pregnant women. But which sunscreen to use is the question that follows.

Sunscreens are categorized into two types, i.e. physical blockers and chemical blockers. Physical blockers are safe to use as they are a mixture of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide that together aid in reflecting back the harmful UV rays.

On the other hand, chemical blockers are not at all recommended for pregnant women. This is because these blockers contain ingredients that absorb the UV rays rather than reflecting them. And one of such ingredients is oxybenzone that is commonly found in chemical blockers. Oxybenzone has been known to penetrate through the skin and holds the potential to cause allergies, hormonal disturbances, and low birth weight especially in newly born baby girls.

Precautions to Take When Sitting in the Sun While Pregnant

Sunbathing may be your favourite pastime. But when pregnant you need to take certain precautions for your safety as well as your baby’s.

1. Wear Comfortable Clothes and Accessories

Wearing loose and light coloured clothes could be highly beneficial. Colours like white, yellow, sky blue would be great because of its reflective nature. Carrying an umbrella, wearing a pair of sunglasses, and caps with visor could prove to be a boon.

2. Keep Yourself Hydrated

Though water is the best fluid to keep yourself hydrated, juices and energy drinks could be preferred too. No matter where you travel in the sun, always carry your water bottles along to never miss out on the required liquids.

3. Limit Sun Exposure

Avoid sun exposure for more than twenty minutes if you have no sunscreen on you.

4. Opt for Supplements

Consult your doctor for vitamin D supplements if you plan to avoid sun exposure altogether.

5. Know When Should You Go Out

Studies have shown that the best time for sun exposure is noon time and not early morning or evening. This is because your body gets the most Vitamin D during this time with the least risk of getting malignant melanoma.

6. Wear Sunscreen on Cloudy Days

That’s right! The harmful UV radiation that is emitted by the sun is still reaching your skin; only it has been scattered because of the clouds, dust, or even fog.

This was it! Looking at how sun exposure can affect pregnancy, you would know by now to keep your sun subjections minimized. Also, talk to your physician if your skin is too sensitive.

Also Read: Common Skin Changes during Pregnancy