Sunburn is a prevalent problem for many individuals in the summertime. Despite being just a harmless annoyance, it can be shockingly hazardous, particularly for pregnant women.
In this article, we will explore the question: Can sunburn harm an unborn baby? We will also provide useful sunburn prevention tips to ensure their skin stays healthy and safe from the harshness of the sun.
Can Sunburn Harm an Unborn Baby?
Too much sun exposure can lead to sunburn.
This is identified by red, sensitive skin that is uncomfortable to touch. In extreme circumstances, it can also cause fever, chills, and nausea.
Skin damage caused by sunburns is particularly harmful to pregnant women and can cause numerous complications to the growing fetus.
The ultraviolet rays can penetrate and affect the fetus’ DNA, resulting in several defects like cleft palate or spina bifida at birth.
Sunburn not only leads to dehydration but can be dangerous for both the pregnant mother as well as her baby.
Excessive dehydration can even lead to early labor, and babies born before their due date usually face various health risks such as breathing troubles and infections.
Additionally, when pregnant women get sunburned, it may worsen any existing skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis.
In a few cases, it can even lead to a condition called polymorphic eruption of pregnancy which is indicated by red bumps on the skin that are accompanied by itching. This situation can be quite uncomfortable and distressing for both the mother and the baby.
How to Protect Yourself from Sunburn During Pregnancy
For expecting mothers, it is especially important to guard against sunburn. To do so, here are some precautionary steps to keep in mind:
1. Stay in the shade
To reduce the risk of sunburn, it’s best to stay away from direct sun exposure. If you need to go outside, try to stay in a shaded area as much as you can.
2. Wear protective clothing
To keep yourself safe from the sun, it is important to wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing that covers your arms and legs. Additionally, a wide-brimmed hat will help protect your face and neck from the harsh rays of the sun.
3. Use sunscreen
To protect your skin from sun damage, it is important to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Make sure to reapply every two hours when you’re out in the sun, and even more frequently if you are swimming or sweating.
4. Stay hydrated
It is important to stay hydrated, particularly if you are outdoors in the sun. Drinking lots of water can help you avoid dehydration and keep your body healthy.
5. Avoid the hottest parts of the day
Since the sun’s intensity is strongest during mid-day, it’s best to arrange outdoor activities during the early morning or later afternoon. That way, you can enjoy your time without getting too much sun exposure.
6. Take breaks
Prolonged exposure to the sun can be harmful, make sure to take regular breaks from the sun, whether it be in the shade or indoors.
What will happen if a pregnant woman gets burned?
A pregnant woman that suffers from a burn can be significantly impacted by the intensity and body placement of the wound. It is essential to take into consideration the mother and unborn child’s safety when dealing with such cases.
Minor burns, like first-degree burns, are limited to the top layer of the skin and can be treated relatively quickly with a cool compress and some basic pain relief medication.
For burns that are more serious, such as second-degree and third-degree, their effects can be very damaging. These kinds of burns not only destroy layers of skin but also cause blistering, swelling, and scarring. Certain cases of improper usage can even lead to nerve damage or impair a person’s ability to maintain a healthy body temperature.
Burns can be especially dangerous when it comes to the potential for infection. If left untreated, it can be a major risk for pregnant women and their unborn children, as it may lead to preterm labor, miscarriage, or even stillbirth. Taking the right precautions is essential in avoiding such risks.
Additionally, burns can lead to dehydration in both the mother and baby, potentially leading to preterm labor. This carries a higher risk of medical complications for premature babies, like breathing difficulties and infections.
If a burn does occur, seek medical attention promptly to minimize the risk of complications.
Does pregnancy increase the risk of sunburn?
It is important to be aware that pregnant women are more likely to get a sunburn, as their skin is more sensitive due to hormonal changes.
Therefore, extra caution should be taken when going out in the sun.
Sunburn can be a major health issue for pregnant women and their unborn babies, due to the harmful UV rays that can cause severe damage.
Possible effects include DNA mutations, dehydration, premature labor, and other medical issues that could arise from exposure to intense sun radiation.
It’s essential for pregnant women to safeguard themselves from sunburns by seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, applying sunscreen, staying hydrated, not exposing themselves during the hottest part of the day, and taking regular breaks.
These pointers will help pregnant women stay healthy and safe throughout their summer months, ensuring that both mother and baby remain well-protected.