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Should pregnant women avoid tanning beds?
Q: Is it safe to use a tanning bed during pregnancy?
A: While there are no studies revealing specific birth defects or pregnancy risks from using sun beds or sunlamps, there is a medical concern about anyone receiving unnecessary exposure to ultraviolet rays.

While a small amount of UV light is helpful for absorption of vitamin D, prolonged exposure causes damage to the skin, resulting in premature aging. We also know that UV light increases the risk of certain skin cancers. This is why the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Dermatology have suggested that tanning beds and sunlamps be banned.

In pregnancy, your skin becomes more sensitive in general. Some women develop a facial skin discoloration called chloasma (the “mask of pregnancy”), which becomes more prominent with sun exposure. In addition to this concern, one should keep in mind that tanning beds could cause excessive overheating, which is to be avoided during the early weeks of pregnancy.

Laura E. Stachel M.D. Obstetrician & Gynecologist