Maintaining a healthy pregnancy is a top priority for every expectant mother. However, there are many factors to consider concerning pregnancy health, including exposure to the sun. While getting some sunlight can benefit pregnant women, you want to practice safe sun exposure if you’re an expecting mom-to-be. If you’re wondering if it’s safe to be in the sun while pregnant, keeping some basic guidelines in mind can help you enjoy the benefits of sun exposure while still being safe.
Benefits of Sun Exposure During Pregnancy
Have you ever noticed how charged you feel after exposing yourself to the sun for just the right amount of time? That’s because proper sun exposure delivers significant health benefits, even for pregnant women.
- Vitamin D: Sunlight is the most important source of vitamin D, which is essential for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin D also helps to regulate the immune system, reduce inflammation, and support healthy brain function.
- Mood Enhancement: Exposure to sunlight triggers the release of serotonin, a hormone that can help to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Your improved mood also contributes to lower stress, which helps promote a healthy pregnancy. (For more on maternal mental health, check out this article.)
- Improved Sleep: Sun exposure can help to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm, leading to better sleep quality and duration.
Risks of Sun Exposure During Pregnancy
When it comes to sunlight, there can be too much of a good thing. Being in the sun while pregnant is safe unless you overdo it. Avoid prolonged sun exposure during peak hours and be aware of some of the risks, including:
- Skin Damage: Prolonged sun exposure can lead to skin damage, such as sunburns and premature aging. This can be particularly harmful to pregnant women, as hormone changes and skin sensitivity can increase the risk of skin damage.
- Overheating: Spending too much time in the sun can cause the body to overheat, leading to dizziness, nausea, and dehydration.
- Dehydration: Sun exposure can cause the body to lose fluids, leading to dehydration. This can be especially dangerous for pregnant women, as dehydration can lead to complications such as preterm labor and low birth weight.
Further Considerations For Being In The Sun While Pregnant
Your body goes through mind-boggling amounts of change during your pregnancy, and practicing safe sun exposure while pregnant requires you to be aware of those changes while they’re happening. While you’re carrying your baby, you may experience fluctuations in skin sensitivity and temperature regulation.
Here are some important considerations to keep in mind to stay safe while enjoying the beauty of the outdoors.
Changes in Skin Sensitivity While Pregnant
Some skin sensitivity issues you may experience during pregnancy include:
- Melasma: Melasma, also known as the “mask of pregnancy,” is a condition that causes brown patches to appear on the skin. Exposure to sunlight can worsen this condition, so taking extra care outdoors is essential.
- Sun Sensitivity: Pregnancy hormones can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight, increasing the risk of sunburns and skin damage.
- Allergies: Pregnancy can also make the skin more susceptible to allergic reactions to sunscreens, so it’s crucial to choose a sunscreen that is gentle and non-irritating.
Your body’s temperature regulation will likely change drastically while you’re pregnant, which means you should pay attention to the following while being in the sun while pregnant:
- Overheating: Pregnant women are more susceptible to overheating, which can be exacerbated by spending too much time in the sun. This can lead to symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, and dehydration.
- Body Temperature: Monitoring body temperature is essential during pregnancy, as high temperatures can be dangerous for both the mother and the baby. Taking breaks in the shade and staying hydrated are essential to prevent overheating.
Medications and Medical Conditions
It’s worth noting that certain medications and medical conditions can increase the risk of sun sensitivity and skin damage. If you are taking any medications or have a medical condition, talk to your doctor before spending time in the sun.
Tips For Being Safe In The Sun While Pregnant
To protect yourself and your incoming bundle of joy, follow these precautions to stay safe in the sun:
- Stay in the shade during peak hours: The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Stay in the shade during these hours to minimize the risk of skin damage and overheating.
- Wear protective clothing: Wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, and hats can help to protect the skin from sun damage.
- Apply sunscreen: Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and be sure to reapply every two hours (or more often if you’re swimming or sweating). Follow these tips to ensure your skin-care routine is safe during pregnancy.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, which can be dangerous for the mother and the baby.
- Take breaks in the shade: If you start to feel overheated or uncomfortable, take a break to cool off.
- Use a sun umbrella: A sun umbrella can provide additional shade and protection from the sun’s rays.
- Choose indoor activities: If it’s too hot outside, consider doing indoor activities to stay cool and avoid excessive sun exposure.
- Avoid tanning beds and hot tubs: Tanning beds and hot tubs can increase the risk of overheating and skin damage.
- Talk to your doctor: If you have any concerns about sun exposure during pregnancy, ask your doctor for advice and guidance.
Keeping Your Baby Healthy After Birth
Your pregnancy is exciting, even when you’re exercising caution while being in the sun while pregnant. Soon you’ll meet your little bundle of joy and want to protect them in every way possible. At CellSave, we provide premium stem cell banking services that give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have access to life-giving resources should you ever need them.
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