Can You Use Sunbeds When Pregnant?

can you use sunbeds when pregnant

Pregnancy brings about a multitude of changes, including shifts in skincare and beauty routines. Among the questions expectant mothers may have is, can you sunbeds when pregnant?

The SunShine Co. will explore the topic, helping you to make an informed decision and celebrate radiant beauty during pregnancy.

Understanding Sunbed Use During Pregnancy

Sunbed use is a popular method for achieving a tan, but its safety during pregnancy is a common debate. Questions are raised about the effects of UV radiation on folic acid levels, which are crucial for fetal development.

Expectant mothers considering sunbed use must decide what is best for them using accurate information and professional advice.

Exploring Common Concerns

One primary concern about sunbeds during pregnancy is UV exposure. During pregnancy, women may experience heightened skin sensitivity, which can exacerbate the effects of UV radiation.

Conditions such as melasma (often called the “mask of pregnancy”) can create darker patches on the face, and sun exposure might worsen this hyperpigmentation.

Additionally, sunburn, which is always a risk with UV exposure, can be particularly uncomfortable during pregnancy.

Bumps (Best Use of Medicines in Pregnancy) provides freely available, reliable, evidence-based, and accurate information about the use of medicines during pregnancy.

Some studies suggest that exposure to UV light from sunbeds and tanning booths might decrease folic acid levels in the body. 

However, these studies were not conducted on pregnant individuals, so the effects during pregnancy remain unclear.

Folic acid is crucial for properly developing a baby’s neural tube, and low levels are linked to neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

Therefore, all pregnant women are advised to take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily during the first trimester.

It is unknown whether taking folic acid can counteract any potential risks from sunbed use during pregnancy. 

Importance of Consulting Healthcare Professionals

Despite there being a lot of advice from multiple online sources, consulting a healthcare professional is always crucial.

Personalised advice based on individual health and pregnancy journey can help expectant mothers make informed decisions.

Healthcare providers, such as midwives or nurses, can offer guidance tailored to the unique needs of each pregnancy, ensuring the safety of both the mother and the baby.

Weighing Risks and Benefits

Deciding whether to use sunbeds during pregnancy involves considering the risks and potential benefits.

Understanding these factors helps pregnant women make informed decisions about tanning safely.

Acknowledging Potential Risks

The primary risks of sunbeds during pregnancy include overheating, dehydration, and increased skin sensitivity. Overheating can lead to symptoms like warm skin, headaches, dizziness, muscle cramps, and nausea. 


Severe overheating (body temperature above 39°C) can result in heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and dehydration, which poses risks such as dizziness, fainting, and Braxton Hicks contractions. 

Emphasising Moderation

If an expectant mother chooses to use a sunbed, moderation is key. Limiting the duration and frequency of tanning sessions can reduce the risk of overheating and skin damage.

Staying hydrated and taking breaks can help manage body temperature and overall well-being. 

Using a sunbed with a tan accelerator cream is one way to reduce frequency. This product can be used in the sun or in a sunbed to speed up the tanning process, allowing you to spend less time exposed to UV radiation. If you have any doubts, always consult your doctor.

Highlighting Benefits

Despite the listed risks, moderate sunbed use boosts mood, improves vitamin D levels, and promotes relaxation.

Vitamin D is essential for bone health and immune function, and while it can be obtained from sun exposure, dietary sources and supplements are also alternatives during pregnancy.

Safety Precautions for Sunbed Use During Pregnancy

Implementing safety measures while using sunbeds during pregnancy is crucial for ensuring the well-being of both the mother and the baby.

Seeking Medical Advice

Pregnant women should discuss their intentions with a healthcare provider before using a sunbed. They can help address individual concerns and ensure safe practices.

Opting for Low-Pressure Sunbeds

If using a sunbed, choosing low-pressure beds can minimise UV exposure and reduce the risk of overheating.

Low-pressure beds emit lower levels of UV radiation, making them a slightly safer option compared to high-pressure alternatives. 

When choosing low-pressure sunbeds, you get a balanced mix of UVA and UVB rays—around 75% UVA and 25% UVB.

This helps maintain healthier tanning practices compared to high-pressure units, which emit mostly UVA rays (about 95%) and less UVB (5%).

When deciding on the best sunbed option at your next session, you can research the advanced indoor tanning technology The SunShine Co. offers. Our team can also provide guidance to help you make a choice on the day.

Staying Hydrated and Cool

It is vital to maintain hydration and keep cool during tanning sessions. Drinking water before, during, and after using a sunbed can prevent dehydration and help regulate body temperature.

Taking breaks and avoiding prolonged exposure can further reduce the risk of overheating.

Alternatives to Sunbed Tanning During Pregnancy

Pregnant women must explore all their options to achieve a sun-kissed look without the unnecessary risks. 

Exploring Sunless Tanning Options

Spray tans, which also use DHA, offer a similar alternative but may pose inhalation risks if not applied in a well-ventilated area or with proper precautions.

Experts recommend avoiding spray tans during pregnancy unless applied in a well-ventilated space or with protective measures like a mask.

Prioritising Skincare

Maintaining healthy skin is crucial during pregnancy. Gentle skincare products and hydration can keep the skin looking radiant.

Pregnancy-approved moisturisers and sunscreens can protect the skin from dryness and UV damage.

Enjoying Natural Sunlight

Spending time outdoors can be beneficial, but it’s important to do so safely. Using appropriate sun protection measures, such as wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen, hats, and protective clothing, can help prevent sunburn and skin damage while enjoying the benefits of natural sunlight.

Celebrating Pregnancy Glow

Cherish this special time with self-care rituals that nurture both body and mind.


  • Embracing Natural Beauty: Pregnancy often brings a natural glow and changes in skin tone that many women find beautiful. This empowers them to accept these changes and appreciate the natural beauty of pregnancy. 

  • Focusing on Self-Care: Relaxation techniques, prenatal yoga, and mindfulness enhance overall well-being, promoting calmness and managing stress. These practices also uplift mood during pregnancy.

  • Capturing Memories: Documenting the pregnancy journey through photos celebrates this special time. Capturing the natural radiance and body changes creates lasting memories to treasure and reflect upon.

Safe Sunbed Practices at The Sunshine Co.

While sunbed use during pregnancy may raise questions and concerns, it’s essential to approach the topic with positivity and informed decision-making.

The guiding principle should always prioritise the health and well-being of the mother-to-be and their growing baby.

If you have decided to use a sunbed, consider using The Sunshine Co. and find your nearest tanning salon. Our dedicated team will welcome you with open arms and ensure you feel safe and comfortable throughout your session, prioritising your well-being every step of the way.

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