Tanning While Pregnant

Ask any pregnant woman who has lost her summer sunshine glow how she's feeling and she's likely to tell you, "Like a beached whale." To be sure, there's nothing like the sun-kissed glow of summer to make a woman feel healthy and pretty. That especially applies to pregnant women who, no matter what you tell them, feel they aren't quite as pretty as you say.

Things to be Concerned About

Of course, there is a lot of concern about being in the sun and also about tanning beds. While we all know it is important to get your vitamin D (best source is the sun), too much exposure can burn your skin and can be dangerous. Tanning beds emit UVA rays which have been linked to melanoma - the only cancer that can cross the placenta - and they can also raise your body temperature to a level that is unsafe for your baby. The fact is that having a body temperature of 102 degrees (which can happen in a tanning bed, hot tub, or sauna) especially during the first trimester, has been linked to spinal malformations in developing babies.

The other consideration with tanning beds is that you are lying on your back for a longer period of time. Depending upon how deep you want to tan, you could be lying there for up to 30 minutes, which means a restricted blood flow to your heart and to your baby. It's just not worth the risk.

Self-Tanners - The Panacea

On the other hand, there have been wonderful changes in spray tanning and self-tanners. When self-tanners first came out it was a 50/50 chance that you'd end up looking like the Florida Citrus Growers mascot or an escapee from Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. Now, with the growing demand for self-tanners that remove the risk of skin cancer, the creams and lotions are a lot better. The ingredients in the new self-tanners are harmless. They stay on the surface of your skin and won't harm you or your baby. The real trick, of course, is to get your legs evenly covered while you're in the third trimester. That's challenging.

Going One Better

Spray tanning is a good alternative to self-tanning creams and lotions. Spray-on or Mystic tanning offers a pregnant woman the opportunity to gain a lovely sun-kissed look without having to wonder if she covered every spot. The tanning booths are large enough to handle any size person and the safe, all-over sprayed on tan looks real. The tan lasts for about a week and wears off slowly. Use nose plugs and you won't inhale anything - meaning there's no risk to you or to your babe.

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