Hot Tubs During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a blessing and there are few things in life that can equal the joy of bringing a new life into the world. While advances in modern science and medicine have made pregnancy comfortable for women, it always helps to add to that comfort. In times of pregnancy, many women choose to go for hot water therapy to feel at ease and be relieved of the pain they might be feeling.
There are several schools of thoughts associated with pregnancy and hot tubs and there are certain times during the pregnancy when taking a hot bath can harmful while other times, it can be a rejuvenating and relaxing experience for the mother.
The biggest advantage of modern hot tubs is that these are highly customizable as well as comfortable. Expecting mothers can really enjoy the soothing bubble massage in the comfort of a hot tub. Pregnant women should also exercise caution while using hot tubs as it can cause hyperthermia. (1) Hyperthermia is abnormally high body temperature that can be harmful to the health of the fetus in the initial weeks of the pregnancy.
The information provided in this article is purely for information basis and it does not constitute medical advice. As always, when it comes to spending time in a hot tub, sauna, or a hot bath - it is always prudent to take the advice of your physician who can suggest you the best course of action depending on your health and medical history.
Effects of Soaking in the Hot Tub During Pregnancy
While in the first few weeks of pregnancy, women should avoid hot tubs and hot baths altogether as it can increase the body’s temperature. According to studies, elevated body temperature can lead greater risk of neural tube defects in babies before seven weeks of pregnancy are complete(2).
Even after this time period is over, expecting mothers should only soak in the hot tub for ten to fifteen minutes while making sure that the water’s temperature doesn’t get above 100 degrees F. In case you feel any kind of uneasiness or dizziness, get out of the hot tub so that you can bring your body temperature within a normal range.
Hot Tubs and Pregnancy 2nd Trimester
Hot tubs should be avoided in the 2nd trimester of the pregnancy as the temperature in most hot tubs is set very high. This high temperature can be detrimental to the growth of the fetus. If you’re keen on soaking in hot water to relax and feel at ease, you can set the temperature of the water lower than 100 degrees F (3) and try soaking in it. But at the same time, keep an eye on your body temperature and if at any moment you start feeling uncomfortable
Hot Tubs and Pregnancy Third Trimester
Hot tubs can be used in the third trimester of pregnancy, but with your doctor’s approval and proper caution. The temperature of the hot tub should not be more than 100 degrees F and the duration of the soak should not be more than ten minutes. Any time more than this, and it can lead to complications and issues that might be difficult to deal with. Again, the water should be just warm, not hot and you should keep your arms and torso above the water’s surface. (4)
Saunas and Hot Tubs During Pregnancy
Use of a sauna during pregnancy is not recommended as sitting in a sauna can raise your body’s temperature. As the temperature is already high in the sauna it can lead to excessive sweating and dehydration that can further lead to dizziness and hypotension (4.1). Whether you’re in your first or final trimester, a sauna is something that you should absolutely avoid for the sake of your own as well as your baby’s health.
Sitting in a hot tub, with proper care measures in place - as discussed further in this article, can be good for relieving aches and pains. But even a hot tub soak should not be done for extended periods of time.
Hot Baths and Hot Tubs in Pregnancy
There is a marked difference in hot baths and hot tubs. The water in a hot tub can reach up to temperatures of 104 degrees F and it can stay at that level for quite some time. While the water in a hot bath can get hot, but it also cools down at a rapid pace. That said, expecting mothers should exercise caution while sitting in a hot bath as the temperature of water above 100 degrees F can be harmful to the mother as well as the fetus.
Test the water with a thermometer to see if the water is suitably warm. You should also check the water by dipping your hand in it and if it feels hot, wait for a bit while the temperature comes down to a normal level. Always consider running a hot bath at a warm temperature instead of hot and even then don’t spend too much time - more than 10-15 minutes sitting in the hot bath. (4.2)
Advantages of Using Hot Tubs in Pregnancy
Sitting in a hot tub can be a relaxing experience for an expecting mother. But keep in mind, moderate use of hot tubs should be done only after the first trimester is over. Even then you should consult with your physician about using hot tubs. Here are some of the advantages of using hot tubs at a normal temperature during pregnancy. (5)
- A short soak in the hot tub can help in reducing joint inflammation and pain in joints.
- The bubble jets can offer a comfortable massaging effect on a tired body.
- A quick soak in warm water can help in promoting a better and more relaxed sleep
- A warm water soak can help in relieving the swelling in feet and hands. This is common in pregnancy, but at times it can get uncomfortable.
- Warm water can also be helpful in increasing the level of amniotic fluids in case of low levels of the same.
- Warm water can provide pain relief and it can also help in easing premature contractions.
Disadvantages of using Hot Tubs in Pregnancy
Hot water therapy is not always a good option for expecting mothers. The temperature in most hot tubs is in the region of 104 degrees F which can be harmful to the mother as well as the baby in any trimester. Here are a few disadvantages of using hot tubs in pregnancy.
- Sitting in a hot tub for a long period of time can raise the body’s core temperature which can be harmful to both the mother and the developing fetus. (6)
- Exposure to high temperatures in the first trimester can lead to increase in the risk of a defect of the spinal cord known as spina bifida.
- Hot tub use during the first trimester might also lead to miscarriage. (7)
- Excessive sweating caused by sitting in a sauna or hot tub can lead to dehydration and dizziness. This can further reduce the blood supply to the developing fetus and affect the development of the fetus. (8)
- Overheating can cause blood to rush to the outer extremities of the body leading to a lack of blood for the brain and internal organs. This might lead to dizziness and fainting.
Pregnancy and Hot Tub Safe Use Tips
Many expecting mothers want to know about pregnancy and hot tubs safe use. Here are some ways in which you can make hot tubs safer for use while pregnant.
- Consult with your physician to check if your physical health is suitable for soaking in the hot water. While doctors forbid the use of hot tubs during the first trimester, you should still check with your doctor to see if you can use the hot tub in your second and third trimester.
- Once your doctor gives you a go-ahead on using hot tubs, you need to take several precautions on your own to ensure you and your baby are safe while you’re in the hot tub.
- Staying hydrated is important while using hot tubs to saunas during pregnancy. As the body tends to sweat more and heat up, it can cause dizziness and might even cause fainting if the water’s temperature is too high. Make sure you’re hydrated properly so that you don’t lose too much water through sweating.
- If you’re using the hot tub for a quick soak, make sure you’re not in the hot tub for more than ten minutes at a time. Any longer and it can raise your body’s temperature to a higher degree which might be harmful to the development of the fetus.
- Keep the hot tub’s temperature at a lower setting. A higher temperature can cause you to feel hot and feverish, but you can safely enjoy the soothing sensation of the hot tub at a lower temperature. Use the temperature settings of the hot tub to dial down the temperature. The temperature of the hot tub should not be more than 100 degrees F (9)
- If you start feeling any kind of discomfort, dizziness, lightheadedness, or pain - get out of the hot tub immediately and get your body temperature to a lower degree.
Here are some videos that can help you get a better understanding of whether it is safe to bathe with hot water or not during pregnancy.
Can I Take Hot Bath during Pregnancy?
Should Pregnant Women Avoid Being in Hot Water and Cold Water?
Why Not use a Hot Tub While Pregnant?
FAQs about using Hot Tubs in Pregnancy
Pregnant mothers often have questions regarding hot tub usage. Here are some of the common questions asked by pregnant mothers regarding hot tub usage.
Q1. I am really tired from my day to day activities during my third trimester and I want to relax in a hot tub for a while. What are some of the precautions I should take?
Ans. First of all, you should talk to your doctor and get an okay about using hot tubs. Once the doctor gives you a go-ahead, make sure the water’s temperature is below 100 degrees F. Drink plenty of fluids so that you are properly hydrated. And above all, don’t spend more than ten minutes in the hot tub at a time. If you feel dizzy or fatigued, get out of the hot tub immediately.
Q2. Why are hot tubs deemed as a risk during pregnancy?
Ans. Sitting in a hot tub or a sauna can raise your body’s core temperature that can further cause excessive sweating and dehydration. This can put undue stress on the body and also the fetus. In all cases, you should exercise extreme caution while using hot baths or hot tubs during your pregnancy.
Q3. If I have the option of a soaking in a hot tub or a warm bath, which should I choose?
Ans. If you have a choice between the two, you should choose a warm bath as sitting in a hot tub can gradually increase your body’s core temperature, whereas a warm bath doesn’t stay consistently hot as a hot tub. The water in the bath should be at a temperature where you feel comfortable getting in and it should not be so hot that getting in becomes difficult.
While using a hot tub in pregnancy sounds like an inviting proposition to get rid of the aches and pains that are a part of pregnancy, one should exercise extreme caution while using hot tubs. One of the biggest reasons for this is that the temperature of the hot tub can reach around 104 degrees F which is not at all good for the mother or the baby.
Pregnancy raises the body’s core temperature and any increase in temperature above that can lead to complications like dehydration, hyperthermia, and more. Pregnant women should always be cautious while getting into hot tubs by making sure that the water’s temperature is below 100 degrees F. If there is need to spend time in the hot tub, ensure you don’t spend more than 10-15 minutes in the hot tub (10). A 10-15 minute soaking session is enough to help you feel relaxed and rejuvenated.
We hope that this article has helped you in understanding and learning a bit more about the use of hot tubs during pregnancy and the safety measures you can take while using hot tubs. We’d again like to mention that the advice of your doctor should take primary importance about what you actually do as the articles online are only there for informational and educational purposes. Your doctor will take in account your past medical history, your present health and the health of your baby to suggest the right and the safest course of action for you.
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