Home Sunburn Is Sunburn Bad for Pregnancy: 10 Risks & 7 Protection Tips

Is Sunburn Bad for Pregnancy: 10 Risks & 7 Protection Tips

10 Risks & Effects of Sunburn During Pregnancy [7 Tips]
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Pregnancy makes skin sensitive to UV rays, causing discomfort and potential complications like premature labor or low birth weight. Excessive sun exposure during pregnancy raises the risk of skin cancer for both mother and child. It's crucial to protect against sunburn during this time.

Yes, dehydration is the chief danger of sunburn for pregnant women. Pregnant women dehydrate more quickly in the sun due to increased urination and sweating. It is a severe condition that can contribute to heat stroke.

In this blog post, we will explore how sunburn is bad for pregnancy and the risks of sunburn, the effects on pregnant women, Pregnancy-Safe Sun Protection measures, and how to treat sunburn during pregnancy.

Is Sunburn Bad For Pregnancy: 10 Risks and Effects

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Exposure to the sun during pregnancy may be more harmful than you think. While getting a tan may seem like a good idea, it can put both you and your developing fetus at risk. During pregnancy, there are several risks and effects associated with sunburn.

Increased Risk of Skin Cancer

One risk of sunburn during pregnancy is the increased chance of skin cancer. Spending too much time in the sun without protection puts your skin at risk. Pregnant women are already more prone to skin cancer because of hormonal changes, and sun exposure can heighten this risk.

Dehydration and Overheating

Pregnant women are already more susceptible to dehydration and overheating because of their growing baby. When you add sun exposure to the mix, the risks become even more significant. Sunburn can lead to dehydration and overheating, which is dangerous for both you and your unborn child.

Risk of Premature Birth

Sunburn and excessive sun exposure also increases the risk of premature birth. This is because sunburn causes inflammation, which can trigger contractions. These contractions can lead to early labor and delivery.

Potential Harm to the Developing Fetus

Sunburn during pregnancy can cause potential harm to your developing fetus. Sunburn can damage your skin, and the same can happen to your baby's skin. Placental exposure to UV radiation can also affect the baby's development. In severe cases, it can even cause birth defects.

Heat Exhaustion

Some observe that pregnant women have a higher risk of heat exhaustion, and sunburn can worsen the condition. There is a possibility of nausea, dizziness, and fainting resulting from heat exhaustion.

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Risk of Reduced Immunity

Sunburn weakens your immune system, making it easier for harmful bacteria and viruses to overpower your body's natural defenses. During pregnancy, this puts you and your baby at risk for infections and illnesses.

Skin Damage and Aging Increase

Sunburn can damage the skin, causing premature aging, wrinkles, and fine lines. UV rays cause collagen and elastin to break down as they penetrate deep into the skin. Pregnant women who experience hormonal fluctuations are more vulnerable to skin changes. Avoid peak sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Discomfort and Pain

Sunburn can be incredibly uncomfortable, resulting in skin sensitivity, redness, and swelling. This discomfort and pain can affect the overall quality of life for expectant mothers.

Difficulty Sleeping and Performing Daily Activities

When sunburnt, even routine tasks like sleeping or performing daily activities can become challenging. The heat radiating from the sunburnt skin can cause insomnia, excessive sweating, and further irritation.

Higher Susceptibility to Illnesses and Infections

Sunburn can weaken the immune system, increasing susceptibility to illnesses and infections, such as colds and flu. Pregnant women, in particular, are more prone to infections and need to avoid anything that could compromise their immune system.

Is Sunburn Bad For Pregnancy: 6 Factors that Increase

The 6 factors that increase sunburn risk during pregnancy

Pregnancy increases the risk of sunburn for several reasons. Sunburn is not only painful but can also negatively affect the health of the mother and the developing baby. Here are some factors to remember:

Hormonal Changes and Skin Sensitivity

Pregnancy causes drastic hormonal changes, making your skin more sensitive to the sun. As a result, it is easier to get sunburned, and the sun's rays can cause more significant damage.

Increased Blood Flow and Higher Body Temperature

Pregnancy causes your body to have a higher blood flow and body temperature, making you more susceptible to sunburn. This condition can lead to heat exhaustion, which can be a severe risk for you and your baby.

Medications that Make Your Skin More Sensitive

Certain medications used during pregnancy can make the body more susceptible to sun damage. Some examples of these medications include antibiotics, hormonal birth control pills, and some acne medications.

Use of Photosensitivity Medications

Certain medications can increase photosensitivity, making the skin more likely to sunburn. It is essential to talk to your doctor if you are taking any medication that may increase your sensitivity to the sun.

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Occupation and Recreational Activities

For some pregnant women, their work or recreational activities may require them to be outdoors for extended periods. This prolonged exposure to the sun can heighten the risk of sunburn.

Living in a Sunny Location

Living in an area with abundant sunshine, particularly during peak sun hours, can increase the risk of sunburn. Pregnant women living in such areas must take extra precautions when venturing outside.

7 Best Sun Protection Tips for Pregnant Women

As an expectant mother, it's crucial to shield yourself and your baby from the sun's harmful effects. Excessive sun exposure increases skin cancer risks and sunburn, which is risky during pregnancy. Follow these tips to stay protected:

  • Use Sunscreen with SPF 30 or Higher: Sunscreen is one of the most essential tools to protect yourself from the sun's harmful rays. Ensure your sunscreen has an SPF of at least 30 and apply again after swimming or sweating.
  • Wear Protective Clothing: Hats and long-sleeved shirts for protection against the sun. Keep yourself cool and comfortable by wearing lightweight, breathable fabrics.
  • Stay Indoors During Peak Sun Hours: Sun radiation is strongest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., so avoid being outside if possible. If you must be outside, seek shade.
  • Drink Plenty of Water and Stay Hydrated: Water and hydration are essential to your and your baby's health. Water regulates your body temperature and keeps your skin hydrated, which can help prevent sunburn.
  • Stay in the Shade: Seek shade, ‌especially during peak hours. Sit under an umbrella or bring shade with a beach tent or canopy if you're at the beach.
  • Avoid Direct Sun Exposure: Expectant mothers should not expose themselves directly to the sun, especially during peak hours when UV rays are strongest. Don't forget to wear protective clothing, like wide-brimmed hats and long sleeves, if you must be outside.
  • Avoid tanning beds: Exposure to artificial UV rays increases the risk of skin cancer and harms the skin's health. Tanning beds are not safe even if you are not pregnant, and they pose an even more significant threat during pregnancy.

5 Tips for Treating Sunburn During Pregnancy

The 5 Best Tips For Treating Sunburn During Pregnancy

If you develop sunburn during pregnancy, there are steps you can take to treat it safely and effectively. Here are some sunburn treatment tips for pregnant women:

  • Apply Cool Compresses: Placing a cool, damp cloth on the affected area can help to soothe the skin and reduce inflammation.
  • Use Aloe Vera Gel: Aloe vera has natural swelling-reducing properties and soothes and helps hydrate the skin.
  • Take Cool Baths and Showers: Cool water can help to reduce the heat and discomfort associated with sunburn.
  • Use over-the-counter Pain Relief Medication: If the pain continues, your doctor may recommend a pain reliever that is safe for use during pregnancy.
  • Seek Medical Attention if Necessary: An extremely severe sunburn may need medical attention. This is important if you experience fever, chills, nausea, or vomiting.


Sunburn during pregnancy is not something to take lightly. The potential risks and complications can be severe, and taking precautions to protect yourself and your growing baby is essential. Remember, prevention is the best medicine.

Stay out of the sun during peak hours, wear protective clothing, and apply sunblock regularly, and you'll have a wonderful summer without putting yourself and your baby at risk. So, next time you plan a day at the beach or pool, be sure to take precautions and protect yourself from the harmful effects of sunburn.

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Matt Callard
I am a passionate traveler, as if traveling were my full-time job. I like to change my surroundings and environment, like changing desktop wallpaper. Nature increases the concentration in my writing, which helps brainstorming flow in my blood. I have a cat named Kitana. She is the most desperate about traveling, more than any other cat. How do I know? If I miss any tour in any week, she literally destroys my clothing with her wolverine nails.

I and my cat also participate in extreme activities like surfing, biking, hill tracking, paragliding, boating, etc. She was always there in my accidents, injuries, and stitches. She always sits on my lap when it hurts me most. The funniest part is that she has experienced all my tattoos. She sleeps on my blanket when I go through any painful experience.

My hobbies and lifestyle added many pain and injuries to my life. That is why I have a lot of experience in dealing with different levels of pain and burn. It influenced me to become a pain expert and share primary suggestions to handle any unwanted situations that hurt.


  • Can Getting Sunburned While Pregnant Hurt the Baby?

    Temperature increases can cause birth defects sometimes, mainly if they occur before the embryo implants. It is commonly associated with high fevers, but severe sunburns can cause similar symptoms. Sunburns can contribute to dehydration because they cause fluid loss.

  • How Much Sun Does a Pregnant Woman Need?

    If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, ensure you and your baby get sunlight during the day. Just 10 minutes a day of an exposed arm or leg in the sun between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. will help prevent skin cancer.

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