Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tanning While Pregnant: Round 3

When a doctor tells you something you assume it is true. Doctors have years of schooling, they are licensed in the state they practice, and they are simply believed to be smarter than the rest. These doctors are the ones we turn to when we have aches, pains, and even the unusual looking mole.

What happens when you are handed something like this by your doctor?

 "While tanning beds are safe..."

Not only is this medical facility flat out telling their patients that tanning beds are safe, they are telling their pregnant patients that it's safe to tan in them! Tanning while pregnant is not a topic that's new to this blog. I've blogged about it here and here. However, I have never seen a doctor flat out publish something for their patients that states that tanning beds are safe.

Needless to say, my friend had a pause in her celebration when she read the pamphlet in November. A melanoma survivor herself, she could not believe her eyes. As she wrote to me, "Oh my blood is boiling! Just got home from my first OB appointment and found this in the literature. I will be writing them a letter to distribute at my next appointment! "While tanning beds are safe..." I could vomit!!" 

And write the letter she did...

Luckily for the rest of us, this woman is determined to have the facility look again at the information that they are handing out to their patients. It terrifies me a woman--not even just the pregnant woman--will see this information and assume that tanning beds are safe. I mean, her doctor clearly believes it. Why else would he give her that information? I can hear her talking to her friends now..."But my doctor said tanning beds are safe!" 

Oh, the damage this could do...

Now the question is, how do we get our doctors to learn that tanning beds are known carcinogenics? 


Anonymous said...

I'm pregnant and shared a weekly email I received back in September when I was about 16 weeks pregnant with Pretty In Pale's Katie. We were both outraged at the content in the email and she did a blog about it (

I'm so proud of your friend who did something and wrote in to her OB regarding this. It makes me heartsick that women/girls are are so vested in tanning that this is such a concern for them.... Thanks for the post!

Tücsök és Mucó said...

Newspapers and TV channels! You need a journalist with interest in the subject. It is very 'in' at the moment because people tend to use tanning beds more in the winter months, especially around February.

Send this to serious magazines and tv channels in your area, hopefully one of them will pick it up.

Good luck and you are sooo right for complaining about the letter!


Melissa said...

Blood is close to boiling. I saw something on Facebook earlier about a pregnant woman who can't be pale and refuses to use self tanner and wants to tan (I can't find it now so I don't know who posted it), and I don't want to be judgmental but I can't help but think, what kind of mom is she going to be, if she's that selfish now?! I compare tanning beds with smoking and it's bad enough that people don't care about their own health, but when you don't care about an unborn baby's health, that makes me a little angry. Doctors encouraging the behavior makes me even angrier. Good for your friend standing up to her doctor!!

Anonymous said...

As the pregnant Melanoma patient who received the literature, I wanted to update that following my appointment today and explanation of my letter, the office's literature will be changed. The doctor was surprised that it was included and was going to speak immediately to the coordinator to have it changed.

Gor said...

But tanning beds ARE safe as long as you do not burn. All statistics that show any increased risk of skin-cancer form tanning beds are based upon people who tanned too much and got burned.

Tanning beds are excellent sources of vitamin D. You need less than half of the time it would take to get burned in order to get 10,000 to 15,000 IU of vitamin D.

That is why two short tanning sessions per week in a tanning bed with decent amount of UVB (avoid high-pressure lamps) is probably the best ANY person can do for their (and their children's) health.

Chelsea said...

I'm going to have to disagree with ya, Gor.

Tücsök és Mucó said...

Gor, in the UK they don't recommend using tanning beds more than 6 times a year.

That's 6X3-6 minutes, which won't have any effect.

Tanning beds are NOT excellent sources of Vitamin D.

gayle said...

I'm so glad I found your blog! I saw your comment to Erin on LIY.

This kind of thing makes me mad, too. I don't remember who it was, but I was reading a blog written by a girl who used to work at a tanning place, and they were taught that what they were telling the customer was right. It wasn't until after she stopped working there, that she learned that tanning beds actually ARE bad, and that UVA and UVB are both bad, one without the other is not "okay".

When I was a freshman in college, ALL of the girls on my hall tanned. I mean ALL of them. I had just lost my mom to breast cancer, so I've always had my finger on the pulse when it comes to cancer risks, etc. I made signs with facts and figures and scary statistcs (that were all true, BTW) and posted them all over every common door. Bathroom stalls, mirrors, every girl's door, and would replace them as they would "disappear".

Sigh. THANK YOU for being a voice. If you would like to come guest post for me, about it, I would LOVE THAT.

Thanks again for being a voice. We need them! And congratulations to you for where you are now!

Gayle | Grace for Gayle