Are you concerned about staying safe, cool, and happy while soaking up some sun? Pregnant women shouldn’t have to give up the waves while growing a baby!
It may not be as easy to enjoy the beach when you’re pregnant, but there is no reason a soon-to-be momma shouldn’t get out there anyway.
We have plenty of experience with sand, sunshine, and supersized bellies, and we’ve learned how to make it a great experience.
In this article, we’ll discuss the risks of going to the beach while pregnant and, more importantly, the best tips for making your sunny vacation a blast!
Can Pregnant Women Enjoy the Beach?
The short answer? Yes! But you probably know it’s never that simple.
Being pregnant means a lot of planning, and going to the beach on a hot summer’s day is no different. You will need to be aware of the risks and equip yourself with the knowledge to prevent them. It’s also important to have fun, and our tips will make sure you have a great time, even in the hot sun.
Beach Risks During Pregnancy
We know what it’s like. Being pregnant comes with a long list of risks and things to avoid. It’s never-ending, isn’t it? Fortunately, the beach isn’t one that is too major, and it’s really easy to avoid any dangers.
Here are the four main things to pay special attention to when visiting the beach.
You already know the dangers of sunburn, but it gets worse when a baby is involved — even before they are born. A sunburn, especially if it happens regularly, can have numerous effects on your overall health, which can all affect your baby.
Just because the sun can’t directly harm your baby with its powerful UV rays doesn’t mean the baby won’t be affected in other ways if you are a victim of prolonged exposure. Sunburns can strip your body of folic acid, which is vital for your baby’s development and your health (1).
You’ve probably heard it already, but pregnant women are much more prone to dehydration than the rest of the population since we need more water. Water develops the placenta, which sustains our baby, so anytime you have less of an H2O intake, your baby is at risk (2).
Water is important in pregnancy because your blood volume has increased significantly to meet your baby’s needs. As your pregnancy progresses, you will need more fluid for your baby’s amniotic fluid.
Editor's Note:Caitlin Goodwin, MSN, RN, CNM
When you’re outside at the beach, being active and having fun, you’ll probably find yourself sweating excessively. It’s just another side effect of being pregnant during the summertime. When you sweat, you lose water, so you have to be careful to avoid dehydration when you’re out and about and having fun.
This is why it’s so important to make sure your body temperature stays below 102 degrees Fahrenheit. When it spikes above this, either from the sun or a hot bath, you put both of you at risk. Being outside for a long time can make you hot, especially if it’s hotter outside than usual.
Avoid overheating whenever you’re outside while pregnant. Cool mists, shade, rest, and plenty of water can help keep your core temperature below the maximum so you can stay out for longer.
Let’s face it — being pregnant is really, really tiring. Sometimes just getting the laundry done is a giant task, and tying shoes can make you lose all hope that you’ll ever feel like yourself again!
The beach, while fun and relaxing, can also be exhausting. You’re in and out of the water, walking in the sliding sand, possibly chasing your other kids around, and lugging around a big beach bag. It’s understandable if you tire easily, especially if you’re far along in your pregnancy.
Getting too tired too quickly is less of a risk to you and the baby as it is a frustrating and disappointing end to a day at the beach. When you’re tired, you’re more likely to have an accident behind the wheel, especially if you have a bit of a drive back to where you’re staying.
Avoid caffeine, and instead, stay hydrated, eat some extra protein, or squeeze in a quick nap in the shade before heading home.
Tips for Staying Cool and Happy
Now that you know what to watch out for, let’s look at the best ways to avoid the risks and have the most fun while staying cool. Anyone who has been pregnant in the summertime knows that it’s no joke!
1. Get Out of the Sun Occasionally
Being at the beach doesn’t mean you have to be directly in the sun’s rays forever. Instead of spending every minute basking in the warmth, find shade frequently and take plenty of breaks. This will help prevent overheating, dehydration, sunburn, and exhaustion.
If the beach you’re visiting doesn’t have shelters or places with shade, consider bringing an umbrella or beach tent. That way, you can still be with your family without having to go back to the car or a nearby lodge!
Beach umbrellas are affordable and convenient, so if you’re planning on spending a lot of time on the sand, consider investing in one. Our favorite umbrella is the Sport-Brella Versa-Brella. And a beach tent like this one from Pacific Breeze also provides a lot of shade and is easy to set up.
2. Use SPF 30 or Higher Sunscreen
No one likes a sunburn, but imagine how horrible it would be to be burnt while uncomfortably pregnant! It’s happened to me before, and trust me, it’s not fun.
To prevent this, make sure you have a good quality sunscreen that is at least SPF 30. We recommend going even higher on the SPF factor, but SPF 30 will do the trick if you apply it consistently.
There are tons of choices for sunscreen, from lotion to sprays, and they all range in SPF protection. Our favorite sunscreen is the Sun Bum Spray, but use whatever product works the best for you and your family.
3. Frequently Enjoy the Water!
If you’re like me, one of your favorite beach activities is lounging on a fluffy towel and reading that book you’ve wanted to get to for the past year. Sure, I put on a swimsuit and lather on the sunscreen, but somehow, the water gets to enjoy less of me than the sand.
When you’re pregnant, it’s important to stay cool, and getting wet every so often helps keep your body temperature down. Even if it’s just a quick dip, you’re doing both you and your baby a favor, so don’t be afraid of the sea!
Swimming is a great low-impact exercise, especially for pregnant women, so getting in some activity may help you feel better and take the strain off of your feet and joints.
However, if swimming really isn’t on your to-do list, try splashing your feet in now and then to cool down.
4. Stay Alert and Aware
So obviously, if you’re going to the ocean, there is a slim chance a harmful sea creature could wash up and become a risk. Usually, there will be flag signals to let you know about these creatures, waves, or currents. Just make sure you’re aware of what’s going on in the water as well as outside of it.
Half of being a mom is having the ability to keep one eye on everything going on, so start practicing now!
Has it been too long since you applied sunscreen? Have you drunk water recently? Are the waves getting stronger?
These simple observations will help keep you safe and protected no matter what the beach throws your way!
5. Pack a Bag of Essentials
Getting to the beach and realizing you forgot something is one of the most frustrating things that can happen on an otherwise perfect vacation. You’ll need a lot of stuff for your lazy afternoons at the seaside, so keep your beach bag stocked and ready to go for hours in the sun.
When putting together your Ultimate Momma Beach Bag, include everything you know you’ll need, plus anything else you might need.
Here are some of our suggestions:
- A large water bottle.
- Plenty of sunscreen.
- Some easy, light snacks.
- Extra towels and/or clothes.
- A book (or three).
- A cute, wide-brimmed hat.
- A swim cover.
- Spray misting bottle.
Insecure About Your Belly Bump?
It’s normal to feel self-conscious about your body’s drastic changes, and nearly every mom experiences it at some point during motherhood. If you’re starting to feel more like a beached whale than a sexy mermaid, the beach may be the last place you want to show some skin.
But instead of hiding underneath layers and putting yourself at risk of overheating or getting dehydrated, try to show off that bump! You can get plenty of cute maternity swimsuits or modest cover-ups to stay stylish.
Throw on a loose, flowing sundress with a vibrant pattern, or layer a lightweight cover-up over a modest suit.
It can seem like every pair of eyes is on you and your growing bump. But you’ll be getting even more attention once your baby is born, so you may as well get used to the extra attention now!
It’s important to remember this journey is about you, your family, and no one else. Embrace your beautiful bump!
Stay Safe And Stylish in the Sun!
Hopefully, you’re now feeling a little bit better about your upcoming trip to the beach and have started to feel excited again about your lounging days in the sand! Pack up that bag, grab a few cute summer outfits, and hit the sand with your water bottle and sunscreen.