Can You Tan While Pregnant? (Is It Really Safe?)

pregnant woman tanning

Once you’re used to the bronzed glow, it’s hard to let it go. But when you’re pregnant it sometimes leads to the question, can I tan while pregnant?

Yes, you can get tanned when you’re pregnant, but you have to be cautious. While there are many tanning methods available, you should limit yourself to tanning lotion and sprays.

Let us look into all the details about tanning and pregnancy.

Is Sun Tanning During Pregnancy Safe?

While there isn’t any conclusive research about the effects of tanning on your baby, tanning isn’t 100% safe when you’re pregnant. Overexposure to sun rays has adverse effects regardless of pregnancy.

There are both positives and negatives to sun tanning when you’re expecting. We know it sounds confusing because it is.

The upside is that sunlight helps the body synthesize vitamin D. The problem, however, is that overexposure to the UV rays of the sun can cause complications like decreased levels of folate.

Folate is an essential vitamin necessary during early fetal development.

While expecting mothers are encouraged to get some fresh air and sunlight, you shouldn’t go overboard. So, be careful with sunbathing.

Spending too much time in the sun can increase your body temperature to an unhealthy degree. Therefore, experts suggest you put on sunscreen when you’re outside.

Similar to a tanning bed, exposing yourself to the sun can lead to skin problems such as wrinkles and aging to your skin.

So, if you want to get that tanned baby bump beach photo, we say – be cautious.

Sun Tanning Alternatives While Pregnant

Can You Do Sunless Tanning While Pregnant?

Tanning Lotions/Powders

Out of all the ways you can get tanned, using lotions/powders is going to be the safest.

Tanning lotions consist of dihydroxyacetone or DHA. DHA is considered to be a benign skin-coloring agent. Therefore, the chances of damage to your baby are little to none.

In addition, DHA resides on the first layer of the skin. Although some studies indicate that 0.5% of DHA gets into the blood, it’s still nothing to be alarmed about. There is no evidence as to whether this negligible amount of DHA can get into the baby’s circulation after passing through the placenta.

However, some tanning lotions can have harmful ingredients. So, we recommend doing some research before getting one.

Spray Tanning

Spray tans are another alternative to tanning lotions. The primary ingredient used in spray tan is also DHA. Similar to self-tanning lotions, there is no risk of UV exposure or overheating.

However, when it comes to sprays, you run the risk of inhaling DHA particles. Though there are no substantial studies that highlight the effects of DHA when it’s inhaled.

As the side effects of inhaling DHA are still unknown if you want to remain cautious you should avoid it while you are pregnant.

If you want to go ahead with a spray tan, please make sure to cover your face with a cloth or wear a mask. This way, you will not likely inhale the coloring agent. Also don’t forget to check out our article – should you spray tan while breastfeeding?

Can You Use a Tanning Bed While Pregnant?

No. A tanning bed exposes you and your baby to harmful UV. Therefore, using a tanning bed is the last thing you want to do when you’re pregnant. Tanning beds are a health risk in general. And when you bake yourself on a tanning bed while pregnant, it will only result in trouble.

Tanning beds expose you to UV rays, which can lead to skins problems, premature aging, and pregnancy complications.

During your early second trimester or third trimester, a mommy-to-be will come across a common phenomenon known as the “mask of pregnancy,” also referred to as Melasma.

Your skin is extremely sensitive during this time. Using a tanning bed while your skin is already suffering can lead to more problems like rashes or burns for example.

Furthermore, the temperature of the fetus is higher than your body temperature. As a result, the excessive heat of the tanning bed can harm your baby.

Can You Take Tanning Pills While Pregnant?

If you want to remain cautious it’s a good idea to avoid tanning pills like beta carotene while pregnant. It doesn’t matter whether you’re pregnant or not. Tanning pills are not FDA-approved. The color additives used in tanning pills are canthaxanthin. Canthaxanthin, when taken in higher quantities, can affect skin pigmentation.

However, heavy amounts of canthaxanthin can darken your skin and form crystal deposits in your eyes. Even after a person stops taking canthaxanthin, reports suggest that the crystal deposits can last for seven years.

Other side effects include but are not limited to – diarrhea, nausea, welts, cramping, and acute itching.

Related Questions

Can You Tan While Pregnant in The First Trimester?

Besides using tanning lotions, it’s recommended you that do not. Tanning earlier while pregnant can be risky.

Ultraviolet radiation during the first trimester puts your baby at risk. A study conducted in Australia proved that overexposure to UV rays resulted in a higher risk of multiple sclerosis.

Furthermore, the first trimester is when your baby’s cognitive functions develop. So, it’s better to steer clear of UV rays as much as possible.

However, you can sunbathe a bit during your third trimester. But you’d still have to be careful.

How Long Can I Sit in The Sun While Pregnant?

You shouldn’t sit in the sun any longer than 20 minutes. Although sunlight helps your body create vitamin D, it’s still risky. Besides, there are other alternatives to getting vitamin D such as certain foods and supplements.

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