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Indoor Tanning and Pregnancy

Even though you are sporting that special pregnancy glow now, you desire that glorious glow the sun's rays give you. You may have to wait until after the baby is born to get that overall great looking tan again. Pregnancy and tanning don't necessarily mix very well.

We've all known for years that tanning from the sun can cause skin cancer. While pregnant you want to stay as healthy as possible so that you have a healthy baby.

While there are no studies currently that say tanning by the sun's rays outside and using a tanning bed are harmful to an unborn baby, it is best to stay safe to have a healthy baby. There are not enough tests done to prove that indoor tanning or tanning outside is completely safe for an unborn child.

Although some doctors are in agreement that the UVA and UVB rays emitted by the bulbs in tanning beds can be as dangerous as the rays of the sun to human skin tissues, those rays do not penetrate far enough into the body to harm a fetus.

However, some mid-wives, obstetricians and gynecologists do have some concerns about pregnancy and tanning beds. During the first trimester of pregnancy, these health experts do not advise pregnant women to indulge in any activity that might raise their body temperature such as hot tubs, saunas and tanning beds.

The overheating of the mother's body (also called hyperthermia) is associated with some spinal malformations. It should also be noted that typically hyperthermia develops after the mother's body is exposed to temperatures of 102 Fahrenheit or more for several hours.

Fortunately, government regulatory standards in the United States typically limit the maximum temperature for commercial tanning devices to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, there does not seem to be any reported incidents of hypothermia related to pregnancy and tanning beds.

Still,when it comes to pregnancy and tanning beds, there has been a suggested link between ultraviolet rays and folic acid deficiency. Folic acid is responsible for preventing neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

Some health experts also maintain that the skin of a pregnant mother is more sensitive to ultraviolet rays and may be at a greater risk of acquiring unexpected sunburn. Another problem with trying to get a great tan during pregnancy is that the sun can cause melosma or make it worse. Commonly referred to as the mask of pregnancy, melosma can develop anytime during pregnancy, but can be brought on by the sun, and sometimes made worse. Melosma appears on the face, particularly on the cheeks, the forehead the upper lip and the nose. The mask of pregnancy can become more prominent and darker when exposed to the sun

If you do decide to get an indoor tan, doctors also recommend staying as cool as possible and drinking plenty of fluids to avoid light-headedness and dehydration.

Most salon owners are aware that tanning bed technology is relatively new and that very few studies have been done on the effects of tanning beds and pregnancy. This is also why most reputable salons require a note from a doctor before offering a tanning session to pregnant individuals.






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