Tanning During Pregnancy: Is It Safe?

6 min read

Tanning During Pregnancy

It always feels amazing to take a sunbath or tan your body under the warmth of nature or under the tan bed. Sun-kissed skin gives you more confidence and improves your beauty, but is it good to lay under the sun or tan bed while you are expecting a baby? During pregnancy, it is much more important to keep your unborn safe and protected. When we talk about tanning during pregnancy, is it safe at all, or should you keep this on the not-to-do list?

During the amazing period of pregnancy, you must ensure that whatever you do or consume must keep you and your baby healthy. In this article, we are going to talk about all these aspects. We will answer some vital questions like whether you should go for tanning, the risks associated with it, using self-tanners during pregnancy and the tips to use it, tanning methods you must avoid, and the most important part, the precautions you need to take while beach-tanning. Stay with us.

In This Article

Can You Opt For Tanning When Pregnant?

There is no clear scientific evidence about the effects of tanning on pregnant women– whether it is outdoor or indoor. We all know that the main natural source of vitamin D is the sun. Soaking under sunlight is important for the synthesis of calciferol. Vitamin D is vital to prevent many diseases and improve skeletal strength, while calciferol helps boost immunity. Basic exposure to the sun is enough to provide vitamin D for you as well as your unborn baby. There are also many supplements available in the market which can fulfill the vitamin D requirement of the body.

Another aspect of tanning is the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays emitting from the sun rays. The scientific data are not enough to prove the effects of tanning on your skin and body during pregnancy. Due to the hormonal changes, while you are pregnant, your body becomes more sensitive and delicate. There is a chance of sunburn and dark brown patches known as chloasma or “the mask of pregnancy.” Moreover, the risk of dehydration increases if you stay under the sun for a longer time. During pregnancy, hydration is vital since your body uses up a lot of water

Keeping all these things in mind, you can enjoy quick tanning for some warmth but do not prolong sun exposure.

Disadvantages of Tanning During Pregnancy

Tanning may offer a lot of benefits to your health, but when it comes to bronzing your baby bump, you must know the risk factors which can adversely affect your baby-to-be.

1. Folate Depletion

Folate is a vital nutrient, especially during pregnancy. It promotes the healthy growth of the baby and plays a vital role in the prevention of cardiovascular and other diseases. Folate is one of the major building blocks of the child’s body structure. According to one study of NCBI, UV radiation can degrade the folic acid in the blood, which can lead to severe complications in the mother as well as in the baby-to-be.

2. Skin Problems

UV rays are harmful to human skin. During pregnancy, your body becomes more sensitive and so there is a high risk of developing skin issues if you expose yourself to UV rays. As per the study of NCBI, there is a chance of dark brown patches occurring on the body, which is also known as hypomelanosis condition. This occurs in the sun-exposed areas of a pregnant woman, and almost 50-70% of pregnant women can be affected by this.

3. Chances of Sclerosis

UV radiation can affect your unborn in multiple ways, and sclerosis is one of them. As per one study, a higher level of UV rays’ exposure, especially during the first trimester, can lead to multiple sclerosis in the baby once they are born.

4. Dehydration

Exposure to the sun for a longer time increases the chances of dehydration, which is not at all advisable during pregnancy. Body fluids are the key to keeping you and your baby healthy and hydrated. Therefore, you must drink an ample amount of water and health drinks or juice if you want to bronze your body under the sun.

[Read : How To Handle Dehydration During Pregnancy?]

5. Premature Ageing

If you are planning to beautify your skin by using natural tanning or a tanning bed, excessive tanning can cause harm to your skin. As the tanning bed has a higher concentration of UV rays, it breaks down the DNA structure and there is a higher chance of melanoma contraction. All these issues together cause wrinkles and premature ageing of your skin.

Self-Tanners During Pregnancy

Self Tsnners During Pregnancy

If you have a problem with tanning under the sun or tanning bed, it does not mean that you cannot bronze your skin. Several types of self-tanners like gels, sprays, creams, and lotions are available in the market and can help you achieve tanning. The active ingredient, Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), in such self-tanning products generates a brown tan on your skin. Usually, it cannot penetrate the first layer of the skin and hence, the chances of affecting your baby-to-be are less. But as there is no clear evidence of whether these are safe or not during pregnancy. For this reason, you must consult your doctor before using them.

How to Use Self-Tanners During Pregnancy?

Since the ingredients in self-tanners are harmless, you can safely use them. These creams, lotions, and gels stay on the surface of your skin and will not reach your fetus in any way. Though research is limited,since the absorption is limited, you can use self-tanners safely when pregnant.

To use these tanners, wash thoroughly the area where you want to apply the tanner. Let the skin dry and then apply the tanner thoroughly in all sections and give some time to dry it before you get dressed.

Tanning Methods You Must Avoid When Pregnant

Self-tanners can be a suitable alternative to sunbathing or using tanning beds. By using these products, you can avoid the hard effects of UV rays. Among all the several types of self-tanners available in the market, pregnant women must avoid spray tanners and tanning pills. These can directly reach the baby through inhalation and blood, causing harm to the unborn. Also, tanning beds are risky during pregnancy as the concentration of UV rays is higher, which can adversely affect your skin. As different people have different skin types, it’s better you consult your doctor before applying it.

[Read : Is It Safe To Bleach Facial Hair During Pregnancy?]

Precautions to Take For Beach-Tanning During Pregnancy

Staying Hydrated While Tanning

Beach tanning is a common and most popular tanning method used by every beach lover. But while you are pregnant, keep the points below in mind before letting your skin enjoy the sunlight on the beach.

1. Drink Lots of Water

Sunbathing can lead to dehydration, as the humid atmosphere lets you sweat a lot more than normal. Drink a lot of water and healthy drinks to keep yourself hydrated.

2. Avoid Prolonged Sunbathing

Sitting in the sun for a long time can raise your body temperature and that of the fetus as well. Avoid long sunbathes and scorching heat.

3. Take Frequent Breaks

Whenever you feel hot, take a break. This will keep your body temperature within safe limits.

4. Avoid Tanning Beds

It’s better to take natural sunlight for tanning. Most of the tanning beds do not have UVB light, which is necessary for vitamin D production.

Sunbathing and tanning under natural sunlight have a lot of benefits. They boost your mood, provide sufficient vitamin D for your body, are a great immune booster, and can heal a lot of skin diseases. However, excessive exposure to sun rays can cause problems for you and the unborn. You must consider preventive measures to keep yourself and your baby-to-be safe while enjoying the warmth of the sun.

[Read : Hot Flashes During Pregnancy]


1. Is it Ok to Use Self-tanners During Pregnancy?

Self-tanners are a good alternative to direct exposure to sunlight and tanning beds. But the DHA in it may cause problems. Avoid using spray tanners and tanning pills as these can directly harm your unborn.

2. What are the Risks Associated With Tanning in Tanning Beds While Pregnant?

Tanning beds are good options where you do not have the option of going under the sun. But while pregnant, it may be risky. The concentration of UV rays is more in these products, which may cause harm.

3. What are the Benefits of Tanning?

Tanning can provide your body with the necessary vitamin D. Also, sun rays can help to prevent numerous skin-related diseases and boost immunity.

4. Are There Any Side Effects of Tanning During Pregnancy?

Not all tanning methods have side effects. Tanning under natural sunlight may be safe if you take the necessary precautions, while tanning beds can carry more side effects. Always talk to your doctor before opting for tanning during pregnancy.

Read Also: Skin Darkening During Pregnancy

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