Sunbathing exposes you to ultraviolet rays which are dangerous for everyone, but more so when pregnant. Because of the increased hormone levels sunbathing is even more dangerous than before becoming pregnant.
Being pregnant causes the hormone levels to increase, possibly causing the skin to become more sensitive. The UV rays can burn the skin if exposed for a long period of time. Skin cancer (melanoma) is caused by excessive exposure to the sun’s harmful rays. The more times the skin is burned, the chances of cancer developing increases.
Sunbathing can also drain the body of much needed fluids, causing dehydration and overheating. Denying a pregnant body of fluids, such as water, could cause undue stress possibly leading to pre-term contractions. An overheated body has an increased core temperature, which could cause birth defects.
The ultraviolet rays of the sun may also break down the much-needed folic acid in the body. Folic acid helps to reduce the chances of birth defects.
If the choice has been made that the risks are not great enough to deter one from staying out of the sun, there are precaution that can be taken to try to be as safe as possible.
Sunscreen: Sunscreen of at least SPF 30 can help to prevent burning. Also a good reminder is to reapply every 2 hours for maximum protection.
Hydration: Staying hydrated with plain water will keep the body cool. This will prevent overheating and dehydration.
Hat and Sunglasses: Wearing a large brimmed hat and sunglasses while outdoors will help reduce the exposure to the UV rays. The large hat will provide protection to the face, shoulders and neck area. Sunglasses can help to reduce the damage to the eyes.
Avoid the sun between 10am and 4pm: Between 10am and 4pm, the suns rays are at their strongest. It is best to try to refrain from being exposed for any length of time between these hours.
The suns rays are dangerous, even for the healthiest of pregnant women. Physicians will discourage sunbathing. As a safe alternative self-tanning lotions or sprays are always suggested.