When it comes to having fun in the sun during pregnancy, it’s important to stay safe and remember your Sun Smarts.
I’m originally from Australia, so although I grew up in a warmer climate where the risk of skin cancer is high (approximately 2,000 people die from the disease each year would you believe), I feel it’s even more important for mums-to-be to take care of their skin during pregnancy. Read on to find out why.
To give you some background, my mother has had 3 moles removed from her skin over the past three decades including one malignant melanoma, and although I’m pitching this article to you in the UK, it’s important to remember that just because the sun isn’t shining, it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get burnt. So, even on overcast days in the UK, you should take care, particularly if high levels of UV are predicted.
During pregnancy, you might find that the sun causes your skin to change colour more easily than usual, regardless of the season. This is because the levels of a hormone that makes your skin react to the sun by going darker (melanocyte-stimulating hormone) are higher during pregnancy.
Below are my top tips for staying safe in the sun this summer:
Sounds obvious, but it’s vital that you apply a good sunscreen against the sun’s harmful UV rays. Go for one higher than 50 SPF. You should use 2mg of suncream per centimetre of skin, but most people don’t use anywhere near that much. Tip: I personally use a face sun cream of 50 SPF for my face and body because it’s less greasy.
- AVOID THE SUN
Staying out of the sun between the hours of 11am and 3pm is a good rule to follow. The sun is at its strongest during these times, and it’s obviously slightly cooler first thing in the morning and later on a night as the sun sets.
Staying hydrated and keeping your fluid intake up is very important when the weather’s warmer, but more so when you’re pregnant, so always have a water bottle to hand. Tip: Buy water in bulk and always leave a bottle or two in the boot of your car so you have instant access to it.
- WEAR A HAT
Wear a hat when out and about because the skin on your face during pregnancy is more susceptible to pigmentation. This means you could get irregular patches on your face, called chloasma, commonly known as “mask of pregnancy”. These appear as dark patches if you’re light-skinned, or paler patches if you’re dark-skinned.
- LOOK AFTER BUMP
Sunlight can also make the line appearing down the middle of your belly (linea nigra) more obvious. So, if you want to bathe in the sun, do so in the shade. Tip: Cover bump with a separate towel to get him/her cooler whilst at the beach.
If you’re concerned that wearing suncream blocks vitamin D levels in your body, according to a study performed recently, this is proven to be inconclusive. Two study groups were sent off for a week’s holiday to Tenerife recently. One group put their own suncream on, and the second control set were shown how to apply it correctly. The results showed that even those who were slathered in suncream had a considerable increase in their vitamin D levels after they returned from their holiday, a week later.
So there you go. If you’re off on holiday soon, have a great time! One final tip: take a dip in the pool as often as you can because swimming is a great form of exercise (avoid overdoing it on the breaststroke read more about why here). Swimming improves circulation, cools your core temperature and is really rather refreshing.
For exercise you can take on holiday with you, click here to gain access to an instant download which takes you through a workout suitable for all stages of pregnancy.