The effects of morning sunlight on the body are immense. It’s a great source of vitamin D that helps strengthen bones, while also solidifying your immune system.
Walking in sunlight every day is also great for your mental health and helps reduce stress. And of course, it’s great to have the occasional tan by basking in the sun.
Now, there seems to be a new benefit of sunlight exposure, especially for pregnant mothers. A recent study suggests that expecting mums could reduce the risk of premature delivery by spending some time in the sun every day.
Sunlight Exposure During Pregnancy Could Lower Preterm Birth Risks
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Researchers from the University of Edinburgh found that sunlight exposure during pregnancy lowered the risk of preterm birth. This is particularly with women who get more sunlight in the first trimester and reduce the chances of developing complications with their placenta that could lead to preterm birth and baby loss.
Ideally, preterm birth occurs before the start of the 37th week of pregnancy. A premature delivery will bring along plenty of health complications for the mother and the baby. The earlier the child is born before the 40-week mark, the riskier it gets for them to survive.
It’s also the leading cause of death in children under the age of five years.
Researchers were studying how seasonal patterns turned out to be contributing factors for preterm birth. They questioned whether sun exposure had a bearing on the likelihood of premature birth.
The study considered 556,375 births to 397,370 mothers that happened in Scotland between 2000 to 2010. All the babies were born at or after 24 weeks of gestation.
As part of the study, researchers compared maternity records to meteorological reports from the time. This helped provide data on how much sun exposure the expecting mothers could’ve received at the time.
The study used logistic regression analysis to evaluate whether there was enough evidence to suggest a correlation between sunlight exposure during pregnancy and preterm birth.
In its findings, the study concluded that only six per cent of the births were premature. Researchers observed that pregnant women with increased sun exposure during the first trimester were the least likely to have a premature delivery.
That being said, there was no evidence to suggest that increasing sunlight exposure in the second and third trimesters also decreased the risk of preterm birth.
Risks Of Preterm Birth For The Baby
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Children born prematurely have a higher rate of disability including learning and hearing problems when compared to children born after a full-term pregnancy. Some of the long-term complications include the following:
- Cerebral palsy
- Behavioural problems
- Psychological problems
- Slower rate of development
- Chronic health issues
There are several benefits of sun exposure during pregnancy and beyond for people of all ages. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends getting at least five to 15 minutes of sunlight two to three times every week.
At the same time, make sure you do so in moderation. Too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation can penetrate the skin and cause damage.
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