Are sunbeds safe in pregnancy?

Why it's best to avoid tanning on sunbeds when you're expecting a baby - expert advice and mums' experiences

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In a nutshell

No, it’s not recommended to use a sunbed when pregnant.

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The expert view

The first thing to get straight is that this is about health advice for you, not your baby. Using a sunbed will not damage your unborn baby. The reason you’re advised to avoid using a sunbed is to protect you and your skin. 

The reason is that sunbeds give out ultraviolet (UV) rays, which is the same type of harmful radiation that’s found in sunlight.

But there’s a special reason to be wary during pregnancy. Many women find their skin is more sensitive during pregnancy, this means your skin may be more likely to burn in the sun or if you use a sunbed.

Emma Lees-Laing, midwife for baby charity Tommy’s, explains: “Sun beds are no-go as your skin will be really sensitive. If you’re sunbathing, make sure you use a higher factor sun lotion than normal.”

The main health reason for not using a sunbed is that prolonged exposure to UV rays increases your risk of developing malignant melanoma. This is the most serious form of skin cancer.

Plus there’s always the ageing issue. As if having children isn’t going to give you a few more wrinkles, UV rays can cause your skin to burn and age prematurely. The rays can also damage your eyes by causing problems such as irritation, conjunctivitis or cataracts, particularly if you don’t wear goggles.

Mums in our forum say

“You can deffo use them, but be really careful cause pregnancy can make your skin quite a bit more sensitive to the sun, so you could burn a lot easier than you usually would. I reckon get a spray tan – no chance of burning then 😝” – TwoDolls

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