Can I Tan During Pregnancy?

While there is no evidence that a fetus is affected by its mothers' exposure to either the natural sun or indoor tanning equipment, a potential drawback to tanning during pregnancy may be the risk of the woman's body overheating. Pregnant women are cautioned to avoid prolonged sauna and whirlpool exposure due to the possible harm to the fetus from the rise in the woman's core body temperature. Core body temperature is the temperature of the blood as it is pumped from the heart, which normally ranges from 99 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Extended periods of sauna or whirlpool exposures or prolonged vigorous exercise may actually cause this temperature to rise. This rise in body temperature could result in developmental damage or possibly death to the fetus. Providing there is adequate ventilation in the tanning rooms, the length of time of a tanning session would not be long enough to change core body temperature.

The heat produced from indoor and outdoor tanning could also affect breast milk production. If a mother perspired heavily due to heat, irradiation and wind, such as spending a day at the beach, milk output could be lowered until she replenished her fluids.

Of a cosmetic nature, during pregnancy the body's increased estrogen production stimulates melanocytes (skin pigment cells) and this can result in a brown blotchiness on the skin called "chloasma". Known as the "mask of pregnancy", this is a potentially permanent alteration of the skin that will fade in time, but may never disappear completely.

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