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The Honest Pros And Cons Of Tanning While Pregnant

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Hey there, mamas-to-be! 

Let’s dive into the topic of tanning while pregnant. 

Now, I know that many of us love that sun-kissed look or that healthy glow that comes with a tan. 

And you’re already being told not to eat certain foods or do certain things, but does tanning need to be added to the list?

Well, when you’re expecting, there are some important factors to consider before hopping into a tanning bed or basking under the sun.

I’m not here to judge, just to give you the honest pros and cons of tanning while pregnant.

Related: 12 Super Cute Maternity Outfits for Summer 

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The Pros of Tanning While Pregnant

So let’s first talk about the potential benefits of tanning while pregnant. 

While there are definitely risks to consider, it’s important to explore both sides of the coin and make an informed decision. 

So, let’s dive in!

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1. Health benefits

Sunlight exposure can stimulate the production of vitamin D in our bodies. 

This vitamin plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy bones and teeth, as well as supporting our immune system. 

So, a moderate amount of sun exposure during pregnancy can contribute to your overall well-being.

2. A boost in mood

Pregnancy can sometimes bring on those pesky mood swings, right? 

Well, spending some time outdoors and soaking up the sun can help lift your spirits and enhance your mood. 

Who doesn’t love that warm, comforting feeling of the sun on your skin?

3. Natural-looking tan

Let’s be honest, ladies. 

A tan can make us feel like a million bucks! 

It gives us that healthy glow and can even out our skin tone, making us feel more confident in our changing bodies. 

A natural-looking tan can help minimize the appearance of stretch marks and other skin imperfections.

4. Vitamin D production

As mentioned earlier, sunlight is a fantastic source of vitamin D. 

This vitamin plays a crucial role in the development of your baby’s bones and teeth. 

It also supports their immune system and can potentially reduce the risk of certain health problems later in life.

5. Potential mood-boosting effects on the baby:

Some studies suggest that when a pregnant woman experiences positive emotions, it can have a positive impact on her unborn baby. 

So, if spending some time in the sun and getting that tan makes you happy, it might also bring a smile to your little one’s face (metaphorically speaking, of course).

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The Cons of Tanning While Pregnant

Now that we’ve discussed the potential benefits of tanning while pregnant, let’s take a moment to talk about the cons and potential risks involved. 

As we all know, tanning beds and direct sunlight expose us to UV rays, and UV radiation is a big concern for pregnant women.

1. Increased risk of skin damage

Tanning, whether from the sun or a tanning bed, exposes your skin to harmful UV rays. 

During pregnancy, your skin becomes more sensitive, making it more prone to sunburn and damage. 

This can lead to premature aging, fine lines, and an increased risk of developing skin conditions like melasma (also known as the “mask of pregnancy”). 
Keep in mind that while you might be tanning to look good right now, tanning may make you not look so good as you age.

2. Higher risk of skin cancer

For some reason I had no idea that your risk of skin cancer increases when you’re pregnant, but upon my research it makes total sense!

UV radiation is a known contributor to the development of skin cancer and pregnancy already increases your risk of certain types of skin cancer due to hormonal changes.

So exposing yourself to extra UV radiation through tanning can further heighten this risk, which is something we definitely all want to avoid.

3. Dehydration

You’re hot, you’re sweaty, and your body is losing water. 

Spending time in the sun, particularly if you’re tanning outside, can lead to dehydration which can have serious consequences for both you and your baby.

To keep you and your baby safe, be sure you’re replenishing your fluids regularly and try to avoid putting yourself in situations where you could become dehydrated.

4. Potential harm to the unborn baby

UV rays can penetrate the skin and potentially reach the developing fetus. 

There is limited research on the direct effects of UV radiation on a developing baby, but it’s best to err on the side of caution and minimize any potential risks to their health and well-being.

5. Hormonal changes and sensitivity

Similar to the risk of skin cancer we discussed earlier, you may experience other skin changes as a result of being in the sun too much. 

During pregnancy, hormonal fluctuations can cause changes in your skin, making it more sensitive and prone to pigmentation issues. 

Exposing your skin to UV rays can exacerbate these changes, leading to the development of dark spots or worsening existing skin conditions.

6. Difficulty regulating body temperature

Remember how you’re not supposed to sit in a hot tub while pregnant
Well, the same issue can be applied here. 

Pregnant women already have a harder time regulating their body temperature due to increased blood flow and hormonal changes. 

So spending too much time in a tanning bed or under the scorching sun can further disrupt your body’s ability to maintain a stable temperature, potentially causing discomfort and putting stress on your body.

You might start feeling sick or lightheaded. 

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What to Keep In Mind If You Decide to Tan While Pregnant

Now that you’ve got all the facts about the pros and cons of tanning while pregnant, you might be ready to make a decision. 

But before you start planning your tanning sessions, it’s important to note that moderation and taking necessary precautions is super important. 

Too much sun exposure can lead to sunburn, skin damage, and an increased risk of skin cancer. 

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Time it right: Avoid the peak hours of the day when the sun’s rays are the strongest. Instead, aim for early morning or late afternoon when the sun is less intense. Think before 10am after 4pm.
  2. Protect your skin: Use a pregnancy-safe sunscreen with a high SPF to shield your skin from harmful UV rays. Don’t forget to wear protective clothing like wide-brimmed hats, long sleeves, and sunglasses to minimize direct exposure. Beautiful, healthy skin ages well and these skin protecting tools are becoming more common – so don’t worry, there’s cute options!
  3. Stay hydrated: It’s SO important to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, especially when spending time outdoors. Dehydration can be a risk during pregnancy, so keep that water bottle handy!
  4. Seek medical advice: Before soaking up the suns rays, make sure you consult with your healthcare provider. They can provide personalized guidance based on your specific situation and be sure that you’re taking the necessary precautions.

Don’t forget to always prioritize the health and well-being of both you and your baby. 

While a tan can make us feel fabulous, it’s essential to make thoughtful decisions and strike a balance between enjoying the sun’s benefits and protecting ourselves from potential risks.

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Alternatives to Tanning Beds and Laying in the Sun While Pregnant

So what about alternatives to a tanning bed or laying out in the sun while pregnant? 

Spray tans and self tanners have become increasingly popular for all women, not just those that are expecting and can be good alternative as they don’t involve UV radiation. 

However, it’s crucial to do your research and choose pregnancy-safe self-tanners and spray tans. 

Some self-tanning lotions contain active ingredients that might not be suitable for expectant mothers, especially in the first trimester. 

So, always double-check the ingredients and opt for fake tan products specifically designed for pregnant women.

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Are Spray Tans Safe While Pregnant? 

There’s something about a spray tan that just feels….so…chemical-y?

Am I right?

Because of this, many expectant mamas wonder if spray tans are really a safer option during pregnancy. 

Well, the good news is that spray tans generally don’t pose the same risks as direct sun exposure or tanning beds. 

However, there are a few things to consider before booking that appointment. 

What’s a spray tan entail?

Spray tans, also known as sunless tanning or self-tanning, involve applying a fine mist of tanning solution to your skin, giving you a bronzed glow without UV radiation.

The active ingredient in most self-tanners is DHA (dihydroxyacetone), a non-toxic substance derived from sugar cane or sugar beets. 

When applied to the skin, DHA reacts with the amino acids in the outermost layer of your skin, creating a brown pigment that gives you that sun-kissed look.

Is DHA okay?

The good news is that DHA is generally considered safe to use during pregnancy. The American Pregnancy Association states that external application of self-tanning lotions, including those containing DHA, is unlikely to pose a risk to the developing baby.

However, they do recommend waiting until after the first trimester, just to be safe.

When getting a spray tan, be sure to check out a reputable salon or use a product that uses pregnancy-safe self-tanners. 

Opt for a spray tan solution that is specifically formulated for pregnant women, as it may contain milder or natural ingredients that are less likely to cause skin irritations.

Additionally, it’s important to take necessary precautions when getting a spray tan while pregnant. 

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Opt for well-ventilated areas: Make sure the spray tan session takes place in a well-ventilated space to minimize your exposure to any fumes that might be associated with the spray tan solution.
  2. Cover sensitive areas: Use protective measures to cover your eyes, mouth, and nose during the application process to avoid inhaling or ingesting the tanning solution.
  3. Do a patch test: If it’s your first time getting a spray tan or using a new product, it’s always a good idea to perform a patch test on a small area of your skin. This helps ensure that you don’t have any adverse reactions or allergies to the solution.
  4. Consult with your healthcare provider: If you have any specific concerns or doubts, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider. They can provide personalized advice based on your medical history and current pregnancy status.

As always, stay informed, trust your instincts, and make decisions that align with your comfort level. Embrace your pregnancy glow in a way that makes you feel confident and radiant throughout your 9 months. 

Note: Please keep in mind that this information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult with your healthcare provider before making any decisions or using any products during pregnancy.

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​Can I Use A Self Tanner While Pregnant?

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Often times, self tanners can help you achieve a natural-looking tan without the high risk of UV exposure. 

Some self-tanners even contain mineral sunscreens, which provide added protection against harmful UVB and UVA rays. 

When looking for self-tanning products, look for those that use natural ingredients and are pregnancy safe.

When choosing the best self-tanner, consider your skin type and the amount of time you’re willing to invest. 

Mineral-based self-tanners, such as the Earth Self Tanner, are a great option for those with sensitive skin or concerns about potential risks. 

They often use organic ingredients like aloe vera, argan oil, and vitamin E, which nourish your skin while giving you a beautiful, sun-kissed look.

​The Earth Self Tanner also ranks as a level 1 on EWG, which is considered the “best” and “safest” option”

Can I Tan While Pregnant?

While a tan might seem tempting, let’s not forget the potential risks. 

Excessive sun exposure can lead to premature aging, skin damage, and an increased risk of skin cancer. 

As expectant mothers, we need to prioritize the health and well-being of ourselves and our babies. It’s always wise to consult with medical professionals and seek their advice before making any decisions.

Remember, a healthy glow doesn’t have to come from direct exposure to the sun or tanning methods. 

There are plenty of ways to embrace your natural beauty and maintain your skin’s health during pregnancy. 

Protect your skin by wearing protective clothing, using high SPF mineral sunscreens, and seeking shade during peak hours when the sun’s rays are strongest.

Pregnancy is a beautiful journey, but it can also come with its fair share of challenges. 

By avoiding unnecessary risks, taking necessary precautions, and opting for safer alternatives, you can maintain a healthy and radiant appearance without compromising your well-being or that of your little one.

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