When we spend time outside, our body produces vitamin D from direct sunlight. However, during pregnancy, the skin will be more sensitive and thus, there are also concerns with sunburn during pregnancy.
Most women are more sensitive to the sun when pregnant. As a result, they suffer from severe to mild sunburns during pregnancy. You are in the right place to know everything in detail about pregnancy and sunburn.
Is Sunburn Harmful During Pregnancy?
The following are the dangers of getting a sunburn while pregnant. Please have a look at them and stay safe for a happy pregnancy.
1. The risk with UV rays
The sun’s UV rays break down the folic acid, essential for pregnant women. Folic acid breakdown, especially during the initial months of pregnancy, increases the risk of neural tube defects. If you are in the first trimester of pregnancy, stay away from sunburn as it increases the chances of birth defects.
2. May trigger preterm contractions
When exposed to temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit for ten minutes, an expectant mother can lose a significant amount of fluid. This can lead to dehydration. Dehydration during pregnancy increases the body core temperature that in turn can potentially trigger premature uterine contractions and premature labor or miscarriage.
3. Can worsen melasma
Melasma is the medical term for a common skin problem. Pregnancy hormones already increase the likelihood of developing melasma. Overexposure to the sun raises the risk even more. The sun’s ultraviolet and infrared radiation can aggravate pre-existing melasma.
4. Discoloration of skin
The pigment-producing cells which are responsible for the tan increase during pregnancy. This is the reason pregnant women’s skin gets discolored very soon as they are exposed to UV rays.
Related Reading: 11 Easy Tips Glowing Skin During Pregnancy
5. Develops skin cancer
Sunburn during pregnancy increases the risk of developing skin cancer. Sun exposure can change the skin cell’s DNA. The chances of skin cancer occur on the scalp, face, lips, neck, chest, and the parts of the body that are exposed to the sun for a long time.
Signs Of Sunburn During Pregnancy
The signs of sunburn apparently are the same for all pregnant women. With hormonal changes, skin gets sensitive and quickly turns red with sunburn. The other symptoms include
- Inflammation, feeling tingly
- Change in skin tone
- Tenderness and pain
Related Reading: 8 Common Pregnancy Skin Problems
Few people might feel the heat or warmth of the skin. It is advisable to cover yourself to avoid sunburn on the belly during pregnancy.
Can Sunburn Hurt My Unborn Baby?
The dangers of getting a sunburn while pregnantare relatively more minor as sun rays can only enter skin deep. You might suffer from swelling from sunburn while pregnant, but your baby will be safe (if you stay hydrated) even with the prolonged exposure to the sun. Carry water and liquids which you like to stay hydrated.
4 Tips to Avoid Sunburn During Pregnancy:
Following are some incredible tips to avoid sunburn during pregnancy:
1. Consume lots of water
While you have to stay in the hot sun for a long time, always carry water. Drinking water frequently helps to cool your body while the elevated temperatures start troubling. Try taking a battery fan with you and use it to stay safe from overheating. Staying hydrated is the key when you are exposed to the sun for a long time.
Related Reading: 10 Drinks To Avoid During Pregnancy
2. Protect your bump
Wear one-piece clothes to protect your belly from severe sun exposure. Cover yourself so that your stomach doesn’t get direct sun rays from all angles. The body gets tanned with sun exposure, and so is your pregnancy line. So, take all the precautions when you have to step out and while you are chilling on the beaches.
3. Go for sunscreen lotions, not sprays
Using sunscreen with SPF 30 and more brings utmost protection from sunburn. Carry sunscreen that suits your skin, and you are good to spend some time under the sun. Always test applying the sunscreen for a patch of skin. Pregnant women’s skin gets sensitive, and testing sunscreen beforehand prevents discomfort.
Sunscreen consists of titanium dioxide to filter the UV rays. If you are using sprays, there are high chances of inhaling titanium dioxide. So, lotions are significantly safer compared to sprays. Evenly apply it over the exposed part of skins before going out.
4. Never be lazy for a shower
During pregnancy, if you feel dizzy after getting into the sun for a long time, don’t neglect to go indoors. Taking a cold shower or chilling in a tub helps you to lower your body temperatures. Taking a bath gives you short-term relief, which makes you feel better. As soon as you get back from the beach or outside, add apple cider vinegar to the water you use for bathing.
All these are simple and effective tips to protect yourself from sunburn.
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Factors To Consider While Choosing Sunscreen While Pregnant
Women are more sensitive to the sun when pregnant, so investing in a good sunscreen that does a decent job is necessary. But with an avalanche of products in the market, which sunscreen is the best one to use?
If you are also in the same dilemma as every other pregnant woman. Here are the five best factors that crack your confusion to clarity.
1. Level of sun exposure
One must choose sunscreen depending on the level of sun exposure. If you stay under the sun from 10 am to 4 pm, where UV radiation is high, you should go with sunscreen SPF 30 or higher. While you are in the shade or indoors, choose sunscreen with SPF 15. People who prefer water sports or swimming must choose a sunscreen with SPF 30 and apply it every 40 to 60 minutes.
2. Best to go with active ingredients
Titanium dioxide, avobenzone, zinc oxide are the active ingredients in sunscreen. These ingredients are safe to use often on the skin. Always remember to choose a sunscreen that doesn’t have vitamin A. The presence of vitamin A in sunscreen enhances the rate of skin tumors.
Related Reading: 9 Common Infections During Pregnancy You Should Be Aware Of
3. Check for broad SPF spectrum
While shopping for sunscreen, choose the one with a broad SPF spectrum and SPF range between 30 to 50. The sunscreen with broad-spectrum sunscreen protects your skin from harmful UV radiation. Never be in the impression sunscreens with SPF above 50 protect your skin as they are just expensive and protect equally as those with SPF 30 to SPF 50.
4. Check for your best sunscreen formulation
The different sunscreens that are available in the market are sunscreen sprays, sunscreen lotions, and sunscreen sticks. Each variety brings a different look to every individual. Choose the one that protects your skin and it doesn’t give a patchy look to your face.
5. Safe SPF for daily sun exposure
SPF is the measure to filter the harsh UV rays. Sunscreen with SPF 30 protects 97 percent of UV rays, and SPF15 protects 93 percent of UV rays. As long as you use sunscreen regularly in sun-exposed areas, you will get sunburn relief while pregnant. Always choose the best sunscreen to avoid mild sunburn during pregnancy. By doing so, pregnant women can stay outdoors without getting into the trouble of sunburn.
When To Seek Medical Attention For Sunburn During Pregnancy?
While you are very much bothered by sunburn, do not neglect to consult a doctor. Here are a few symptoms which warn you for immediate health care professional assistance.
All these are the after-effects of sunburn during pregnancy. Get proper medical assistance to avoid the discomfort of sunburn.
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How To Treat Sunburn During Pregnancy?
In order to help heal and soothe stinging skin, you should treat sunburn as soon as you notice it. Avoid further exposure to the sun and seek shelter indoors as soon as possible.
The following are 9 ways to treat sunburn during pregnancy:
1. As already mentioned, a cold bath is one of the best ways to treat sunburn during pregnancy. Soon after getting out of the shower, gently pat yourself dry. Always let some water remain on your skin rather than drying it fully. Then, apply a moisturizer. This will help to trap the water in your skin thereby reducing the dryness in the affected area.
2. Consider using a moisturizer with aloe-vera or soy. These are excellent in soothing sunburned skin.
3. Never try to treat sunburn yourself with products that end in “-caine” (such as benzocaine). These compounds can potentially trigger allergic reactions.
4. Applying honey in the affected area is an excellent home remedy for sunburn during pregnancy. The antimicrobial and moisturizing properties of honey is well known for millennia and hence is an age-old remedy for cuts, scrapes, and burns.
5. Drinking extra water when you are sunburned is mandatory to prevent dehydration.
6. Compounds in green tea may help soothe sunburns when applied topically.
Related Reading: Can I Drink Green Tea During Pregnancy?
7. If you contract skin blisters due to sunburn, give time to the blisters to heal. Skin blisters indicate a second-degree sunburn.
8. Never try to pop the blister. Blisters prevent infection and popping it increases the risk of infection.
9. When sunburnt skin is healing, it needs extra protection. If you must go outdoors, wear tightly woven clothing to cover your exposed skin as much as possible.
Pregnancy hormones cause the skin to become extremely sensitive. As a result, UV rays penetrate the skin more easily. Therefore, pregnant women are more vulnerable to sunburn. They also have a slightly increased risk of developing skin cancer.
Sunburn during pregnancy, on the other hand, is not a concern if you are not exposed to the sun for an extended period of time. To be safe, avoid going out during peak hours of sunlight. When you must go out, cover your body and use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect your skin.
Pregnancy triggers a lot of hormonal changes, and these are responsible for sensitive skin in pregnant women. During pregnancy, skin burns quickly and even for less sun exposure. So, ensure you set the alarm or notice time instead of regretting it later.
Expectant moms should stay out of the sun and avoid tanning beds, especially during the first trimester. Pregnant women are more likely to overheat and have more sensitive skin, making them more susceptible to burning, hives, heat rash, and chloasma (dark splotchy skin).
Exposure to the sun is always a yes for pregnant women for short intervals. Because the body needs the sun to synthesize vitamin D. So, spend some time in the mornings to stay healthy, active, and be in a good mood.
Sunlight is essential for pregnant women and even for new-born. Research shows that the sunlight in-between 10 am to 3 pm is great to get your dose of vitamin D.
Ensure you stay in the sun for a minimum of 10 minutes to reap the benefits like bone strengthening and for baby development.