Sunbathing, Saunas, Tanning Beds and Creams

Sunbathing during pregnancy is not too different than when you are not pregnant. When sun-tanning, you need to limit your times of exposure: a finite amount of time in direct sunlight (less than 30 minutes) on a daily basis. The use of a high level SPF lotion protection is recommended (25-50 SPF). People burn more easily in the covered areas of your body where there has been little exposure to the sun: feet, ear lobes, bottom areas, and chest.

Tanning beds are overall safer than direct sunlight as much of the damaging UV type B radiation is filtered out in a tanning bed. Again, follow the recommended guidelines as far as length of time of exposure and the settings.

Suntan coloring (spray tans) are probably the safest route for a bronze body. The baby cannot absorb sunlight, tanning bed rays or the tanning colors you apply. For the latest information regarding sunscreen products and the new FDA labels, please go to Appendix B.

Saunas and hot tubs can be used by a pregnant patient. The safely guidelines are adjusted and are applied more strictly. Time of use should be limited: ACOG states that women might "reasonably be advised to remain in saunas for no more than 15 minutes and in hot tubs for no more than 10 minutes" to avoid increasing one's core temperature. Also, one should not submerge your head (unless you want to drown!), arms, shoulders and upper chest in a hot tub. Dehydration and overheating are important concerns: keep a water bottle is handy and drink fluids as much as possible.