17 Weeks Pregnant: Hello Sunshine

01/09/2013 23:30 | Updated 22 May 2015

P and I had been talking about getting away from the freezing cold and depressing weather by taking some time off and going somewhere with some sun – we both felt like we needed a bit of time away from it all. I'd also read in one of my million or so pregnancy/birth/parenting magazines lying around the flat that this period in the pregnancy – i.e. when you don't feel sick, have bags of energy and feel, ahem, a bit sexier – is the perfect time to take a 'babymoon'. I love that concept!

So we booked a last minute deal to Dubai (which, despite being the winter season now, is generally an average balmy 27 degrees Celsius at this time of year) for some serious relaxation.

After the first two days in the sun (using plenty of SPF 20 on the bare bits and 40 on the visage, naturally), I noticed something a bit strange. My tan. Now I'm pretty fair of face – I have blue eyes, red hair and generally have to use the palest setting on a liquid foundation. Whilst my more olive-skinned friends only have to lie about in the sun for a day to look bronzed and sun-kissed, I usually have to be militant with the SPF, wear a big floppy hat and take a good week or so of careful sun exposure to get a light dusting of freckles on my face and shoulders. Which is promptly washed off in the shower the day after I get home from holiday. Fake tan is my friend.

Not so on this holiday though – after two days, I had a noticeable tan! I also had freckles on my face (which is not so preferable). By the end of day four I was browner than I've ever been on holiday, and that includes a month bumming on the beach in Thailand in my early twenties wearing a very small bikini. It seems I had stumbled upon one of the lesser known 'benefits' of being pregnant – your skin (which, as we know, is already behaving very strangely), also produces a lot more melanin than usual. Melanin is the substance that makes you get brown.

Now before you get all overexcited and book one of those hideous sun beds or slather yourself in oil before hitting the beach in Benidorm, be warned: ALWAYS use a high SPF in the sun (the absolute lowest being SPF 15), wear a hat, take care to stay hydrated and don't overheat. If you feel hot, your baby does too. Just look at it as one of those things you need to be even more careful about when you are pregnant, like avoiding raw fish and pâté.

What surprising side effects did you have during your pregnancy?

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