What Are the Dangers of Getting a Sunburn When Pregnant?

Did you know that getting a sunburn while pregnant or breastfeeding doubles the risk of birth defects?

When pregnant, it is important to know the dangers of getting sunburn. The list of risks is long, but you can take several precautions to prevent yourself from suffering long-lasting damage.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about getting a sunburn when pregnant.

Let’s get started!


The dangers of getting sunburn when pregnant are particularly severe due to the increased risk of dehydration that comes with it. Pregnant women are especially susceptible to dehydration. This is because their bodies are already working hard to meet the needs of the growing baby inside them. Dehydration can cause:

  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • kidney stones
  • pre-term labor
  • increased risk of infection

Additionally, getting sunburned can overheat pregnant women, which can put them and their babies at further risk. Hot temperatures can damage the placenta, leading to low birth weight and premature delivery.

To stay safe, pregnant women should take adequate measures to protect themselves from the sun. This includes wearing sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and loose, lightweight clothing.

Premature Aging

When pregnant, it is particularly important to avoid sunburns due to future premature aging. Sunburns during pregnancy have been linked to a higher risk of early aging that can be seen on the skin. This early aging can present in numerous forms, including:

  • fine lines
  • wrinkles
  • rough
  • leathery complexion
  • dryness
  • overall diminished condition of the skin

Long-term sun exposure of any kind can cause premature aging. This can be further enhanced in pregnant individuals due to changes in hormones. It is also important to take note that you may have sunburn in the shade. But this depends on the intensity of UV Radiation, shade quality, etc.

Skin Cancer Risk

When pregnant, the danger of skin cancer risk due to sunburn increases even more. Skin cancer is already the leading cause of cancer death in women in the United States, and when pregnant, the risk increases further.

Sunburn damage during pregnancy can also make you more likely to get certain types of skin cancer. This is because hormones change during pregnancy and make skin more sensitive. Sunburn can also cause an increased risk of reactivation of dormant viruses, like herpes. This can cause serious complications for a developing baby.

Women should take extra precautions when engaging in any outdoor activities. Ensure full skin protection by wearing protective clothing and spending time in the shade.

Melasma and Chloasma

Melasma can manifest itself as either a darkening or lightening of skin pigmentation, while chloasma is a freckling or patching of the skin. Both of these conditions should be taken seriously, as studies have shown women with melanoma or chloasma during pregnancy are at risk for having babies with severe birth defects.

Additionally, melasma and chloasma can make it more difficult for mothers to recognize any changes in their bodies that may be indicative of a larger problem. Sunburns are painful and serious during pregnancy and can lead to dangerous complications.

Ways to Avoid Sunburn When Pregnant

Getting a sunburn when pregnant can be especially dangerous as it can cause dehydration and increase the risk of pre-term delivery. It is important to use sunscreen, limit sun exposure, and wear protective clothing and hats to decrease the chances of getting sunburn.

Check with your doctor for resources to protect yourself and be safe in the sun.

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