Who doesn’t love basking in the sun and feeling the rays warm your skin? While the sun is an excellent source of Vitamin D, it also poses a lot of risks to our skin and health. Too much exposure to sunlight greatly increases your chances of developing skin cancer later in life. Regardless of whether or not you are expecting, you need to be careful and take some precautions when laying out in the sun. What if you have a fabulous beach vacation scheduled already? You don’t want to miss out on the fun just because you’re pregnant, so here’s everything you need to know about sunbathing while pregnant.
1. Wear Sunblock
Hopefully, you were already slathering yourself in sunscreen when you sunbathed before you were pregnant. Now more than ever, it is imperative that you wear a generous amount of sunblock. Don’t skimp! During pregnancy, your skin is often more sensitive and more likely to burn, so take extra care when preparing for a day outdoors.
When sunbathing while pregnant, make sure you wear a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Look for the term “broad spectrum” on whatever tube you reach for when applying sun block. Consider ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are physical sunscreens rather than chemical. These ingredients are able to physically block the harmful rays from penetrating your skin, similar to wearing a shirt or mask. A great option is our very own Mineral Sunscreen Stick, which is perfect your beach bag. It’s safe for mother and baby!
You should also wear a good, floppy hat to protect your face from the sun when spending the day at the beach. Pack an umbrella or tent as well so that you can take shelter from the sun when you need it. Avoid the most dangerous times of the day, when the sun is directly overhead. Generally it is best to avoid sunbathing from 10am until 2pm. Your risk of sunburn is much higher at these times.
2. Your Skin May Darken
Be aware that your skin will be more likely to darken and discolor now that you are pregnant. This is due to a hormone called melanocyte-stimulating hormone that your body produces more of when you’re pregnant. You may notice dark patches forming on your face, called chloasma or melasma, or even a dark line developing along the middle of your belly, called the linea nigra. Sun exposure can make these irregularities more noticeable. Wearing proper sun block can help prevent it.
3. Stay Hydrated
Prolonged time spent in the sun can lead to dehydration, which is very dangerous for expecting women. Because water is how important nutrients and vitamins get transported the fetus, it is critical to make sure your body is getting enough water. Dehydration also restricts blood flow to the uterus which can pose a risk to your baby’s development and even cause premature contractions. Make sure you drink a tall glass of water before going out in the sun, and if you plan on being outside for a long time, pack a big water bottle in your bag. Drink it throughout the day to stay hydrated.
When sunbathing while pregnant, keeping hydrated is the next most important thing you can do for yourself, after applying sunscreen. If you aren’t sure whether or not you are getting enough fluids, monitor the color of your urine. It should be the color of a very light lemonade. If it is any darker, you are already at risk of dehydration and should chug water immediately.
4. Increase Your Moisturization
The sun dries your skin out, which can leave you feeling uncomfortable. Dry skin also increases your chance for stretch marks! If you are spending a lot of time in the sun, up your moisturization game. Apply a rich lotion before and after sun exposure to combat the damaging and drying effects of the sun. Mustela boasts a bevy of wonderful hydrating products made especially for mothers and babies.
5. Consider Alternatives To Sunbathing While Pregnant
Do you enjoy laying out in the sun to achieve a golden tan? Are you after a bronze glow? Good news, you don’t have to rely on spending hours outside sunbathing. There are safer alternatives to tanning your skin than the old fashioned method of sunning yourself. You can pick up a self-tanning lotion from any drugstore. They are totally safe to use, and you won’t be at risk of developing dark patches either.
Rather than increase your risk of skin cancer and dehydration, consider going the faux-tan route. Afraid of orange palms? Wear gloves and be sure to wash your hands immediately after application. Always exfoliate beforehand too so as to ensure the color is even throughout. If you really don’t like the idea of self-tanning application, you could visit a spray tanning salon. You can have an attendant spray your color on and they will get it just right for you.
Enjoy The Sun, But In Moderation
As with everything in life, the sun is best enjoyed in moderation. You want to be able to have fun playing outdoors with your family or lounging by the pool, without increasing your risks of dehydration, skin cancer, and skin discoloration. Be smart about sunbathing while pregnant. Always apply an ample amount of sunscreen and drink a lot of water to stay hydrated. Make sure to moisturize your skin before and after sun exposure as well. If you still aren’t keen to risk it in the sun but want that tan, stick to self-tanning products. Find what works best for you and your pregnancy.