Skin Cancer and Pregnancy
August 30, 2018
Summer has ended and you may be noticing spots on your skin that were not there a few months ago. Sunbathing may feel soothing and relaxing, but it also increases the chances that you’ll develop skin cancer.1 Ultraviolet rays are dangerous for anyone who spends too much time in the sun. Increased hormone levels make sun exposure even riskier for pregnant women.2
Pregnant moms may worry about the potentially negative effects of sun exposure. Skin cancer is a real concern, and so is overheating. Frequent or numerous sunburns are associated with a higher risk of skin cancer.1
Types of Skin Cancer
Many types of skin cancer are fast-spreading and often caused by prolonged sun exposure. With any type of cancer, early detection matters a great deal. Expectant moms should never put off seeking the advice of a physician if they find a suspicious spot or lesion.
Here is what you need to know about the different types of skin cancer:
- Actinic Keratoses – These dry and scaly patches or spots are precancerous skin growths.4
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma – This is the second-most-common form of skin cancer. It can resemble a bump that is red and firm, a scaly patch of skin, or a sore that heals and re-opens.4
- Basal Cell Carcinoma – This is the most common form of skin cancer.4 It can look like a flesh-colored or pearl-like bump or a pinkish patch of skin.4
- Melanoma – This is the most serious type of cancer and often develops suddenly.4 It can look like a new dark spot on the skin.4 Early diagnosis and treatment are critical.
If you think you may have a cancerous skin spot, talk to your prenatal provider right away. He or she can refer you to a specialist and can help you coordinate any treatments to ensure your long-term health and to protect your developing baby.
Tips for Sun Exposure During Pregnancy
There are ways that expectant moms can safely enjoy time in the sun. Follow these tips to protect yourself and your baby all year-round.
- Hydration – Drink plain cold water to stay hydrated. Dehydration poses a real danger to expectant mothers and their growing babies.
- Sunscreen – Choose a sunscreen with a minimum of 30 SPF. Mineral sunscreens have either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as ingredients and are the safest choice for pregnant moms.3 If you are sweating or spending time in the water, be sure to reapply sunscreen every hour.
- Protective Clothing – Wear clothing that has SPF protection or covers your face, arms and legs.
- Limit Sun Exposure – Of course limiting your time outside lessens your exposure to damaging UV rays. Keep sun exposure sessions down to 30 minutes or less.
Prenatal Vitamins with Vitamin D
Sun exposure does offer health benefits. Our bodies synthesize vitamin D through exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. However, many women cannot get enough vitamin D from sun exposure alone, and the risks of negative effects from excessive sun exposure outweigh the benefits of trying to get enough vitamin D without a supplement.1
Low levels of vitamin D may increase the chances of premature birth, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and bone-formation disorders.1 For this reason, it’s important for pregnant women to commit to taking a high-quality daily prenatal vitamin that contains vitamin D.
The Prenate® Vitamin Family supports the nutritional needs of women during pre-conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about how best to protect yourself from skin cancer during pregnancy. Ask about getting adequate vitamin D and be sure to inquire about whether a prenatal vitamin with vitamin D may be the right choice for you.