How Long Can I Sit In The Sun While Pregnant? 4 Shocking Risks

how long can i sit in the sun while pregnant

Moms-to-be also need to have some fun before the baby’s out. Going to the beach and soaking up the sun have always been an awesome stress-reliever. However, sun exposure is something that everyone should exercise a degree of caution with. 

Pregnant women, especially those with sensitive skin, should take special precautions to avoid too much sun exposure.

In this article, we’ll answer the question, “How long can I sit in the sun while pregnant?”. 

We’ll discuss how much sun exposure is safe, risk factors for diseases like skin cancer, and other helpful information on soaking up the sun while pregnant.

The Nourished Bump - Pregnancy Nutrition Course

The benefits of some sun exposure

Sun exposure, even for pregnant women, can help you to have a happy and healthy pregnancy. 

Like most things in life, it’s all about safety and moderation. 

While there is an elevated skin cancer risk for anyone who gets too much sun exposure, getting your daily dose of sunlight also has some definite benefits.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for all humans, but pregnant women must get enough. 

Professional medical advice across all specialties of medicine will tell you that Vitamin D is essential in maintaining your current health and preventing health complications later in life.

Vitamin D helps you build a strong immune system to fight off disease, illness, and viruses. With the current pandemic and other health issues facing society, maintaining a healthy immune system is more important than ever.

This essential vitamin also helps to prevent conditions like osteoporosis when you are older and childhood diseases such as rickets in your baby. The best source of Vitamin D comes from the sun and a healthy level of sun exposure.

First-trimester sun exposure benefits

The first trimester is when a lot happens to a pregnant woman’s body and the baby’s growth. 

Studies have shown that having a healthy amount of sunlight exposure in the first trimester can help to lower your chances of preterm birth and low birth weight.

Chances of pregnancy loss and miscarriage are also slightly lowered when you spend time in the sun.

It should be stated, however, that exposure to the sun in the second trimester has not shown any notable difference in the risk factors or chances of preterm birth, congenital disabilities, or pregnancy loss.

How long can I sit in the sun while pregnant?

Risk factors for pregnant women and sun exposure

Pregnant women are at higher risk of developing issues and health complications when the amount of exposure to the sun’s UV rays is not moderated. 

As stated before, there are risks for all people who spend time in the sun, but pregnancy carries an elevated level of risk with it.

1. Folic acid breakdown

Folate, or folic acid, is vital, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy. Peer-reviewed studies and high-quality data have ascertained that extended periods of sunlight and UV rays can break down the folate that a woman’s body produces.

This deficiency can cause a woman to have a miscarriage or a child with neural tube defects. Such a condition can cause numerous health issues for a baby. 

This is why it is necessary to limit your time in the sun in the first trimester and always wear sunscreen.

2. Pregnancy mask

This skin discoloration, also known as melasma, can cause issues with melanin production in the body due to hormonal changes in pregnant women. Exposed skin can darken or even get lighter, resulting in what looks a bit like a mask on the face. 

This usually fades over time but can stick around for several months, even after delivery.

3. Dehydration

You must stay hydrated when pregnant, so drink plenty of water, especially in the sun. 

Although you’ll doubtlessly have people constantly advising you on what is best for you during pregnancy, remembering to drink water is often an overlooked piece of advice.

Remember: If you feel thirsty, you’re probably already dehydrated.

4. Skin cancer

If you are pregnant, those long-awaited holidays in the sun or on the beach pose more risk of skin cancer for you than they do for other people. This is because your skin is more sensitive when you are pregnant. 

Pregnancy spots, dark spots on the skin, moles, “beauty marks,” freckles, and other issues with the skin are more prevalent during pregnancy.

Always avoid sunburn if you have to spend the day outdoors.

How long can I sit in the sun while pregnant?

How long can I sit in the sun while pregnant?

Sitting in the sun during pregnancy is something that you may not have considered up to this point. However, now that you know the risks involved, you are probably wondering what you should do when it comes to limiting the sun during pregnancy.

First weeks of pregnancy

Of all the trimesters, the first is the most crucial. Your little one is doing a lot of growing and developing, and your body is going through massive changes. 

Wearing sunscreen is an absolute must when it comes to sun exposure, and you should also be making sure that you drink lots of water and eat foods with only high-quality sources of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

Avoid getting exhausted, and stay out of the sun to protect yourself from sunburn when it is at its brightest.

Second trimester

During this part of pregnancy, you should wear a broad spectrum of physical sunscreen with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in them if you enjoy sitting outdoors and getting a little bit of sun.

Protect your face from spots by wearing a floppy hat or sitting in the shade periodically. If you feel conscious of a lot of sunlight on you, consider moving to partial shade after a while or going indoors to protect your baby and yourself better.

Third trimester

The best time to be in the sunlight is during the last stage of pregnancy is in the early morning or the late afternoon. 

Water retention can lead to issues with your vascular system, especially in your feet and legs, so be sure not to lay back our layout for very long. 

Also, take extra care to consume enough water throughout the day, especially if you are exposed to sunlight.

The Nourished Bump - Pregnancy Nutrition Course

Can I tan while pregnant?

Experts such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say that to maintain proper health, you should limit being in direct sunlight to twenty minutes at a time. You should also stay out of tanning beds throughout your pregnancy.

Tanning beds aren’t good for anyone. You can find helpful report after report outlining the risks of using these beds that emanate UV rays that can damage the skin and lead to cancer and other issues.

Most places that offer tanning services will not allow you to use their facilities during pregnancy. But if you have a tanning bed of your own or aren’t far along enough to be showing, using such a device is dangerous for you and your baby.

It’s simply not worth risking any complications to the safety or health of your baby or yourself. Neural tube defects such as spina bifida have been noted in babies born to women who get too much UV light. Avoiding the risk altogether is the best plan of action.

Final sun safety tips

Always wear a good sunscreen, cover your face with a hat, and limit exposure to the powerful sun rays to twenty minutes at a time. 

You don’t have to skip the beach, but stay under the umbrella when you can, drink lots of water, and take naps and breaks when you feel exhausted.

There will be plenty of time in which you’ll be able to bask in the sun’s rays after the baby is born. Do what you need to do now to protect yourself and your baby for now.

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