Your question about using a tanning bed during pregnancy is definitely a controversial one! On the surface it would seem that the fetal risks of ultraviolet (UV) light exposure from a tanning bed should be no different than those of being out in the sun during pregnancy (of course, the other issue is the risk to your skin with prolonged exposure). However, even the tanning bed industry seems confused about whether this is advisable or not. Phone calls to a number of tanning salons resulted in a wide variety of responses...from there being no risks at all, to responses that it is dangerous for the baby (although they cannot explain why). One 1999 research study done in California found that intense or prolonged exposure of pregnant women to UV light may cause a folate deficiency in the mother (folic acid is a form of Vitamin B), which can in turn cause a neural tube defect (NTD) in the developing baby during the first weeks of pregnancy. The neural tube is the portion of the developing embryo's body that eventually becomes the brain and spinal cord, and defects in this area might result in anencephaly or spina bifida. Other studies suggest that the increased body temperature of the pregnant mother from a tanning bed could contribute to decreased growth of the baby. Exposing only your legs and covering your abdomen with a pillow wouldn't protect you from the increased temperature or general exposure to the UV rays. Although these concerns have not been proven as yet, the fact that they could even be possibilities makes it seem wise to delay having tan legs until after your baby is born. Most tanning salons do require a pregnant woman to have a written consent from a physician, and I definitely agree that it would be wise to discuss this issue further with your health care provider.