Is It Safe to Sit in a Hot Tub while You’re Pregnant?

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Pregnant using hot tub to relax
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A trip to the spa can be just what the doctor ordered when you are feeling the stress of pregnancy. Obstetricians recommend a variety of therapies for easing pregnancy discomfort. Massage, chiropractic adjustments, and maternity supports are a few of these recommendations.

hot shower while pregnant
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Hot tubs are another fantastic method of relaxation. The warm water relaxes the muscles and can relieve aches and pains. They can also get to some pretty high temperatures. Most are set around 104 degrees and will raise your body temperature while you soak.

When you are pregnant, you may want to take a nice hot soak and reap the therapeutic benefits. However, it is critical that you know the risks you may be taking.

The rise of your body temperature can cause hyperthermia. An abnormally high body temperature can affect your baby’s development. Since pregnancy increases the risk of low blood pressure, dehydration, and dizziness, adding extreme heat can be taxing on your body.

[Read more about Low Blood Pressure]

The elevation of your core body temperature is also known as hyperthermia. Hyperthermia has been attributed to some neural defects. There have also been some studies that suggest hyperthermia can increase the risk of miscarriage or birth defects. Further research is needed on this subject.

Pregnancy and Hot Tub Risks

1. Complications

Many things can happen to your baby when you have an elevated core body temperature. Neural defects and facial anomalies can occur. This is even more risky if you are still in your first trimester. Many things are going on inside your body that can be severely affected by the choices you make.

Some fetal conditions that can occur include seizures, cardiac defects, decreased muscle tone, limb defects, miscarriage, neural tube defects, anencephaly, Hirschprung’s disease, microcephaly, hypospadias, omphalocele, and facial anomalies such as underdevelopment of the middle of the face, external ear abnormalities, small jaw, and small eye development. With such a massive slew of potential problems, you may want to take a step back and consider your options.

2. When to use

Using hot tub while pregnant
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If you want to use a hot tub for some relief, you will have to wait until you are at least seven weeks pregnant. This is to ensure that serious birth defect of the skull and spine do not occur. Your baby is especially vulnerable during the first trimester.

If you are not in good health, a hot tub is not for you. It will likely put even more stress on your baby and can cause the aforementioned neural defects. If you already have a fever or higher temperature, you should not sit in the warmer water of a hot tub. If you are already sensitive to changes in temperature, be extra cautious. You may get dizzy or overheated much more quickly than someone who is not.

3. Proper use

Experts do not forbid using a hot tub during pregnancy, they just recommend that you be cautious. Ensure, if you can, that the temperature is not above 99 degrees. The highest your body temperature should reach is 102 degrees. Anything higher can be fatal.

These high temperatures can increase your baby’s risk of spina bifida. Other neural defects also may occur when you are exposed to high temperatures. This can happen whether you go into a hot tub or have a fever. However, maternal fevers are not as risky as entering a hot tub.

To use a hot tub without endangering your baby, several things are in place that you should pay attention to. If the temperature

is above 100 degrees, 15 minutes is the maximum amount of time you want to spend soaking. If it is around 104 degrees, 10 minutes is best. If you can, set the temperature of the tub around 98 or 99 degrees. This will help to slow the rise in core body temperature. However, you should still limit your time to 10 or 15 minutes.

Studies concerning this issue are few and far between. There is a lack of participating subjects and inconsistent findings. Because of this, it is better to be safe than sorry when using a hot tub.

Pregnant using hot tub to relax
Source: http://www.dexmag.com/

You should avoid sitting near the inlet that produces newly heated water. Also, if you are starting to sweat or feel dizzy, get out immediately. Discomfort is a sign that you should get out. Sitting with your arms and upper torso outside of the tub will also help to keep your temperature down.

Since there is no firmly established length of “safe” of time to be exposed to high temperatures, it is important to be aware of what your body is trying to tell you. Ignoring these signs may be regretted later on.

Having a thermometer with you may come in handy. You can check the exact temperature of the water and take any precaution necessary. This can help to keep you and your baby safe.

4. Alternatives

Hot tubs may not even be convenient to you. A better way to get the warm water relaxation of a hot tub is to take a warm bath. There may not be massaging jets, but it can work some wonders on those sore muscles.

[Read more about Bath]

A bath will also cool down as time goes on. Hot tubs keep a constant temperature, which makes it harder to control what the exact temperature really is.

A sauna may be an alternative, but the same risks that the hot tub has apply. Spend no more than 10 minutes in a sauna.

Overall, using a hot tub while pregnant is not recommended. However, by taking precautions and staying safe, you can have a refreshing soak in one. If you are in good health and have a handle on the possible complications, you will probably be fine.

Talking to your doctor about any major things that you do is critical. There may be reasons that you as an individual should not be using hot tubs to relieve sore muscles. While there are benefits, there are also problems, so making an educated decision is important for having a healthy pregnancy.

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