Suntanning During Pregnancy

suntanningThe summer is just around the corner, your husband and children are ready to troop the beach wearing their favorite summer gear. But this summer, things are a little bit different. For one, you are wearing a maternity dress instead of a skimpy two-piece bathing suit. The thing is, you really love the sun, the sand, and the sea and want to achieve a nice tan similar to Jessica Alba’s. But you are having second thoughts because you are afraid it might bring damage to your sensitive skin or something wrong might happen to your unborn child.

Dangers in suntanning

The reality is, whether you are pregnant or not, whether you use sunblocks or suntanning lotions, suntanning does not give you any health benefits. Sure, it will give you a great and sexy tan, and some bonuses, too: age spots and wrinkles later in life. And if these conditions do not scare you, try uttering "skin cancer". Specifically, pregnant people who are baking their skins under the heat of the sun have an additional risk: melasma.


Melasma, also referred to as chloasma and "mask of pregnancy", is a skin condition in which dark splotches appear on the face, especially on the nose, upper lip, forehead, and cheeks. You can still get melasma even without exposing your body under direct sunlight, but pigmentations become darker and more prominent when exposed to sun. This skin condition is more likely to afflict brunettes as compared to blondes. Pregnant women and women taking oral contraceptives are also at-risk to developing melasma.

Avoiding melasma

You can avoid melasma by avoiding too much sunlight. You may stay inside the house for maximum protection. But if you are a very active mother-to-be, a woman who needs to go from place to place under the sun, you can use sunblocks to protect your skin from melasma. While this preventive approach may help you, a better measure is to wear a large sunglasses and a hat large enough to shade your face and neck. Melasma may last through your pregnancy. While the pigmentations may fade over time, your skin may never look the same.

Suntanning and the unborn child

Although there are no conclusive studies to say that suntanning can harm the unborn child, many doctors will tell pregnant people that they should avoid activities (such as tanning beds, tanning under direct sunlight, hot tubs, saunas) that raise their body temperature. They claim that pregnant women should monitor their body temperature and should not allow it to go beyond 102-degree Fahrenheit.

Many studies have connected overheats to spinal malformations in newborn babies. In addition, several studies have found a connection between ultraviolet (UV) rays and folic acid deficiencies. Folic acid is important as it helps prevent defects in neural tube and is particularly vital during the first trimester of pregnancy.

If you are afraid to tan under the sun, fearing for your health and your unborn child’s, you may want to try the alternative: using self-tanning solutions. Many experts agree that they are safe to use during pregnancy. However, no study has actually demonstrated that these solutions are also safe for the unborn baby, which is why many experts encourage pregnant people to avoid these products. In general, dermatologists claim that suntanning presents more risks compared, while self-tanning procedures are much safer.