Can You Sunbathe While Pregnant?

Pregnancy comes with so many dos and don'ts. Doctors encourage pregnant people to give up alcohol; cut back or eliminate caffeine; and be cautious when it comes to food safety, including avoiding high-mercury fish, raw eggs, and organ meat (via Healthline). 

On the beauty front, you might temporarily stop coloring your hair, look for "cleaner" body products, and stay away from saunas during pregnancy.

You're also encouraged to relax and nourish your body. Pregnant people need a lot of sleep. The Mayo Clinic points out that early pregnancy hormones leave you feeling fatigued; then, in late pregnancy, you're exhausted from carrying a nearly full-term human. 

At the same time, you should try to avoid stress because it doesn't create an optimal environment for a growing baby.

With so many instructions to remember, a nice day at the beach or pool might seem innocent enough. It's a good way to relax and get some fresh air, but is it healthy to sunbathe when you're pregnant?

How sunbathing affects you when you're pregnant

When you get pregnant, many changes take place in your body. Your lowered immunity means you have a higher chance of acquiring infections and viruses (via Medical News Today). That's one of the reasons pregnant people who get the COVID-19 vaccine fare better than those who don't.

Due to rapidly increasing hormones, your skin is more sensitive to the sun's rays. Yet getting burned isn't the only hazard from the sun. According to babyMed, UV rays can break down your body's folic acid, which helps prevent birth defects in the growing fetus.

Finally, sunbathing can deplete your bodily fluids. Losing too much water can lead to dehydration and, in turn, a higher risk of preterm labor. Becoming overheated to the point that your core body temperature is dangerously high can also contribute to birth defects and lead to fetal brain damage (via Verywell Health).

How to enjoy the sun while pregnant

Just because you shouldn't sit in direct sunlight for hours on end while pregnant doesn't mean you can't enjoy a beach or pool day. A little planning goes a long way. 

According to WebMD, it's important to wear the right sunscreen when going out in the sun. Choose a broad-spectrum formula with an SPF of at least 30 to 45, and reapply after going in the water.

Despite the protection of sunblock, it's still best to wear a wide-brim hat and stay under an umbrella to protect your skin and stave off heat exhaustion.

Make sure you bring water or another cool beverage with you to stay hydrated. Drink at least eight ounces of water every hour you're outside, whether in direct sun or in the shade. Finally, try to avoid going outside during the hottest points of the day, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. (via

With a little preparation, you can still enjoy summer activities when you're pregnant and make tons of good memories. Remember, spending time in the sun can make you tired, and there's nothing better than a nice nap after some fun in the sun.