Sunlight Exposure Can Be Harmful to Pregnant Women, Study Says

March 15, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. span /spæn/ (n.) – a period or duration
Example: The experiment measured the kids’ attention span.

2. radiation /ˌreɪ diˈeɪ ʃən/ (n.) – an energy sent in the form of waves or particles
Example: Cellphones produce radiation which can be harmful for users.

3. labor /ˈleɪ bər/ (n.) – the process of giving birth to a baby
Example: She was in labor for seven hours.

4. well-off /ˈwɛlˈɔf/ (adj.) – being wealthy and rich
Example: Most of the students come from well-off families.

5. immune system /ɪˈmyunˈsɪs təm/ (n.) – body’s system that helps in fighting sickness
Example: A weak immune system can lead to frequent illness.


Read the text below.
A study claims that exposure to intense sunlight during pregnancy could shorten a child’s lifespan.

According to researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, people born during years of solar maximum had lived 5.2 years shorter than those born during years with minimal sun activity. In a solar cycle, solar maximum refers to a three-year period of high activity in the sun, while solar minimum refers to an eight-year span of low activity. The study states that the increased levels of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation (UVR) during the solar maximum period can shorten one’s lifespan.

The researchers analyzed the birth records of 9,062 Norwegians born between 1676 and 1878. The age of women during labor and the survival rate of their children were examined. Then, the gathered data were compared with the solar cycle records.

Upon analysis, researchers claim that the increased UVR during solar maximum caused cell damage among the developing infants. Excessive UVR can damage a mother’s folic acid or vitamin B9, which is necessary for a healthy pregnancy.

The authors also noted that women with lower incomes had more sunlight exposures than well-off mothers. Aside from that, researchers added that the mothers’ quality of food intake played a key role in the development of the infants.

While excessive sun exposure may be harmful, humans still need sunlight for the body’s vitamin D production. According to a researcher who studied on the effects of UVR, pregnant women have to find the right balance in getting the needed sun exposure. The benefits of vitamin D include having strong immune system and healthy bones.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think researchers should further study their theory? Why or why not?
·         Would you prefer to get Vitamin D from a processed drug instead of sunlight exposure? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What are the ways to ensure a healthy pregnancy?
·         Aside from sun exposure, what else can harm developing infants? Kindly explain.

March 15, 2015