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(Date of issue: March 2021, Version: 3)

This is a UKTIS monograph for use by health care professionals. For case-specific advice please contact UKTIS on 0344 892 0909. To report an exposure please download and complete a pregnancy reporting form. Please encourage all women to complete an online reporting form.

A corresponding patient information leaflet on sunbed/tanning booth use in pregnancy is available at


Tanning beds and booths emit ultraviolet (UV) radiation within the UVA and UVB spectrum. Use of tanning equipment is primarily for cosmetic reasons. Although EU regulations limit the maximum effective irradiance of commercial tanning equipment to 0.3 W/m2, a wide variation in strength is likely.

There are no controlled studies that assess the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes following sun bed/tanning booth exposure in pregnancy and women wishing to partake in such exposures should be aware of the lack of evidence. There are theoretical concerns that a rise in core body temperature during use of sunbeds/tanning booths could increase the risk of neural tube defects in the offspring and that UV exposure could cause folate deficiency, leading to an increased risk of neural tube defects. Additionally, there is a clear increased risk of skin cancer in users of sun beds/tanning booths, and on this basis, exposure should be avoided.

Narrowband UVB phototherapy is occasionally used in a clinical setting to treat certain skin conditions such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. Therapeutic use in this context is not thought to pose a risk to the fetus, and the European Task Force on Atopic Dermatitis recommend, where feasible, that narrowband UVB and UVA1 can be used liberally in pregnant women. However, the use of psoralens is not recommended due to the theoretical risk of mutagenesis.

Exposure to sun beds, tanning booths, or UV phototherapy at any stage in pregnancy would not usually be regarded as medical grounds for termination of pregnancy or any additional fetal monitoring. However, other risk factors, which independently increase the risk of adverse pregnancy outcome, may be present in individual cases. Clinicians are reminded of the importance of consideration of such factors when performing case specific-risk assessments.
This document is regularly reviewed and updated. Only use full UKTIS monographs downloaded directly from to be sure you are using the most up-to-date version. The summaries of these monographs are openly available on

This is a summary of the full UKTIS monograph for health care professionals and should not be used in isolation. The full UKTIS monograph and access to any hyperlinked related documents is available to health care professionals at

If you have a patient with exposure to a drug or chemical and require assistance in making a patient-specific risk assessment, please telephone UKTIS on 0344 892 0909 to discuss the case with a teratology specialist.

If you would like to report a pregnancy to UKTIS please click here to download our pregnancy reporting form. Please encourage all women to complete an online reporting form.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that this monograph was accurate and up-to-date at the time of writing, however it cannot cover every eventuality and the information providers cannot be held responsible for any adverse outcomes of the measures recommended. The final decision regarding which treatment is used for an individual patient remains the clinical responsibility of the prescriber. This material may be freely reproduced for education and not for profit purposes within the UK National Health Service, however no linking to this website or reproduction by or for commercial organisations is permitted without the express written permission of this service. This document is regularly reviewed and updated. Only use UKTIS monographs downloaded directly from or to ensure you are using the most up-to-date version.