Note: the below information should NOT be taken as medical advice. We are not doctors. Before entering a hot tub, consult a trained professional.
Although being pregnant is probably the most wonderful experience you will go through as a woman, there are some things that are best to avoid during your pregnancy and precautions that need to be taken. But is avoiding the relaxation a hot tub experience can give, along with the health benefits gained, one of them.
Here at Hot Tub Reviews, we thought we would do some research for you, and below we have given some of the health guidelines we have found concerning pregnant women and hot tub use.
Pregnant Women and Hot Tub Use
Firstly let us say, that while experts do not advise that you do not use a hot tub during your pregnancy there are a few precautions that you need to take that we will go into a little later. Here we will point out the main precautions to put into place before you go for the long-awaited relax in the warm water of your bubbling spa.
Always lower the heat setting to below 38.9C degrees (102F), always have someone with you or close by to help should you need it and even more importantly ensure that you get out immediately should you feel dizzy, experience a rapid heartbeat or anything that is abnormal to your normal self.
Hot tub use and early pregnancy
During early pregnancy, it is especially important to ensure you take the advice given as your baby or fetus has an elevated risk of damage to its developing organs. It is very important that you do not let your core temperature rise, as this can increase the baby’s temperature putting their healthy development at risk.
Set your hot tub on a lower water temperature, about 38c degrees or 100f degrees and, for safety take a thermometer in with you just in case the hot tub display is incorrect. Most hot tubs will be set to the maximum which is 40c or 104f degrees, this will take some of the risk factors away immediately.
Also, limit the number of times and the amount of heat exposure that you have in your spa or sauna, the recommended time is 10 minutes in a hot tub or 15 minutes in a sauna.
Never hop in if you are at home on your own, keep your arms and chest above the water level to help avoid overheating and always have the safety of having someone close to hand just in case you should slip or come over dizzy. If you do experience dizziness, stomach pains or any abnormal symptoms get out immediately.
The greatest risk to the baby is for women who have a high inner body temperature within the first 7 weeks of pregnancy, studies show that the possibility of neural tube defects (spina bifida and brain damage) is greater during this period of time for women that been exposed to this.
If you have any existing health condition or pregnancy problems or not we would advise that you check with your doctor or healthcare provider before even thinking about hopping in the hot tub to ease an aching back or just relax. Please note that the health information given does not replace the advice of your medical professional.
Risks of using a hot tub during pregnancy and how to use a hot tub safely during pregnancy
Because pregnant women are at a greater risk of experiencing dizziness and lower blood pressure they do have to be careful when using a hot tub because the hot water will intensify these symptoms.
The general consensus seems to be that the greatest danger of abnormalities and birth defects, such as the neural tube defects (spina bifida and brain damage), occurs in the first 7 weeks of pregnancy, as explained above. There has been limited research done into whether an elevated body temperature during this initial period of your pregnancy can cause a miscarriage to occur with very mixed results.
If you have a concern then do not use a sauna or hot tubs, but if you really can’t resist, keep it short, 10 minutes is the recommendation, and a lower temperature of 38c or 100f degrees, but avoid hot tubs and sauna use if you can while in the stages of early pregnancy.
Always seek the advice of a medical professional or doctor as this information is not meant to replace that but guide you on your way.
The benefits of using a hot tub during pregnancy
Once you have taken into consideration the increased risk that you do have of pregnancy complications in the early stages of pregnancy and have now decided that you will follow all the recommended caution guidelines, what benefits will you gain from your spa experience?
There are still the many benefits that you can gain from using a hot tub, if not more. For 10 minutes of your day, you can just sit back, let the buoyancy of the water take the pressure from your joints and ease those sore muscles. In the later pregnancy stage, this is an especially nice benefit as that is when you are probably getting to the most uncomfortable part of your pregnancy.
Stress can also be a factor during pregnancy and a hot tub is one really good for stress relief, relaxing mind and body, try taking a quick moment to yourself before bed and this will aid a good nights sleep.
Using a hot tub when pregnant is not a complete no go area when pregnant but use caution. Exposure to a high water temperature can be extremely bad for your baby and its healthy development while you are in the early stages (first 7 weeks). Studies have shown that if the baby has a raised temperature it will have an increased chance of having neural tube defects.
The studies into miscarriage are mixed and by no means conclusive, so cannot be ruled out any more than birth defects mentioned, this is again in the early stages and if your body temperature gets too high so always err on the side of caution.
Avoid long periods of hot tub exposure causing an elevated temperature, although most women will get out before this occurs as they will be feeling the effects of heat stress before that happens.
If you have any reservations and do not wish to use hot tubs then take a soak in a warm bath as this has the advantage of the hot water cooling naturally, whereas the hot tub is kept at a constant temperature.
Remember to avoid extreme heat and always seek the advice of a medical professional, this information in no way replaces medical advice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to hot tubs and pregnancy.
Is it safe to use a hot tub during pregnancy?
It is safe to use a hot tub during pregnancy but with extreme caution, especially when in the early stages.
Lower the water temperature of your hot tub to 38c or 100f degrees and limit your time in the spa to the maximum of 10 minutes to avoid raising your inner temperature and damaging the fetus.
Can hot tubs cause miscarriage?
Research has been done into whether hot tubs cause miscarriage and the results are far from conclusive so always err on the side of safety.
Avoiding the use of a spa during the first 7 weeks of your pregnancy is probably the best advice that you could follow.
Can a hot tub harm my unborn baby?
A hot tub can harm your unborn baby during the early stages of the pregnancy, so the advice given is to avoid using for the first trimester of the pregnancy.
The risk of harming the healthy development of your unborn baby and of it having neural tube defects is increased if the mother has a high inner body temperature.