Sun safety while pregnant
Protecting yourself from the sun while outside, is one of the best ways to ensure skin health. Good skin health, especially when it comes to avoiding sun damage can affect the rest of your health. This in part is because the skin is the largest organ of the body. Everything affects the skin can affect the body. Skin that is damaged by prolonged exposure sun can cause premature aging such as wrinkles and dark spots. During pregnancy, the skin is more prone to discoloration and hyperpigmentation. This can make things such as the “mask of pregnancy”, and linea nigrea appear even darker. However, during pregnancy, prolonged sun exposure can also have other ill effects. These ill effects not only effect you, but you and your baby.
While a woman is pregnant, hormones can make the skin more sensitive to the sun. This can cause her skin to become more prone to damage. So there are more precautions that a pregnant woman should take to protect herself. One is to make sure to wear sunscreen every day. It should be applied before going outside, and every three hours. This is especially true if you are planning to spend a day at the beach or other sun filled activities. A sunscreen strength of SPF 30 and higher is recommended. Wearing clothes that protect skin from over exposure to the sun is also great. Wearing lightweight yet covering clothing can keep you cool and protect your skin from overexposure to the sun. If you are hanging out at the beach or swimming, it is also a good choice to wear a one piece swimsuit or tankini. This helps to protect your pregnant belly from being overexposed to the sun. Accessories such as a good pair of sunglasses and a wide brim hat also help to protect oneself from too much sun exposure.
A pregnant woman should also avoid prolonged sunbathing. Prolonged sunbathing can cause a pregnant woman’s body to overheat. When a pregnant woman’s body gets too hot it can cause damage to the unborn child in the form of birth defects. Prolonged sunbathing can also cause preterm contractions to come about. These preterm contractions are usually a result of the body becoming dehydrated from being in the sun too long. Staying hydrated if you choose to sunbathe can help the body to stay cool as well as prevent contractions from dehydration. Pregnant women should also apply sunscreen more frequently to protect their skin. If getting in the water, at any point, it is good to choose a waterproof sunscreen for superior protection. When sunbathing, a pregnant woman should avoid it between 10 am and 4 pm. This is when sun rays are the strongest and it is best to choose to sunbathe at a different time.
If you have any further concerns about sun safety while pregnant it is a good idea to consult your dermatologist for discussion. Your prenatal care provider can give great tips and suggestions regarding sun safety as well.
- Dan Canfield