Pregnancy and Hot Tubs

There are few more appealing thoughts for pregnant mothers than to while away an hour or two in a luxurious hot tub. Take their weight off your feet, relax the muscles and generally slip away from the real world for a while – it all sounds like bliss. However, there is a negative side to hot tub use while pregnant and caution must be exercised. It’s never a good idea to raise your body temperature to unhealthy highs for too long – this of course counts double when you’re carrying a child!

Hot Tubs During Pregnancy—Is It Safe?

image001When you thinking about pregnancy and hot tubs, you may be concerned about the safety issues. Theories abound, but ask any medical professional and they will tell you that hot tubs are in general far too hot to be considered safe for use while pregnant. It is a medical and scientific fact that when the temperature of the water goes beyond 105 °F, it can damage or hinder the development of cells. You’ll of course be fine, but you must not forget that your baby is surrounded by fluid that’s also going to get much hotter and he/she really needs the ideal temperature for cell development. Such is the risk that using hot tubs during the first three months of pregnancy has been linked with serious developmental abnormalities and even loss of the baby.

Unless you are able to ensure that the water never goes above 100 ° F, you should stay away from hot tubs altogether. Not only can the hot water play havoc with your baby’s cell development, but increasing your own body temperature has an adverse effect on your blood flow and heart rate – both of which are of course pretty important for your unborn child. And let’s not forget that pregnant women are also naturally at a higher risk of fainting due to overheating – something that doesn’t bear thinking about when floating around in a hot tub!

Alternative Ways to Relax

On the plus side, there are other and much safer ways you can relax and unwind without putting your health or your baby at risk. From manicures to massages to slightly cooler baths and even the local swimming pool, you don’t have to get all hot under the collar to ease away your aches and pains while pregnant!

Pregnancy and Hot Tubs—What Else Should You Know?

Possible Risks

The Organization of Teratology Information Services states that a pregnant woman’s body temperature should not be raised above 101 °F in order to ensure the healthiest possible development of her baby. When this temperature is exceeded during the first three months of pregnancy, the risk of delivering a baby with birth defects increases dramatically.

As such, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists agrees that hot tubs are not the best idea for pregnant women trying to look after the best interests of their own health and that of their baby. Generally speaking, hot tubs are designed to hold a temperature of 101 °F, which would then mean only 15-minutes or so would be required to increase a pregnant mother’s body temperature well beyond safe guidelines.

So even if you’re only taking the odd ‘dip’ here and there, you might still be putting your baby at risk.

How to Reduce the Risks of Using Hot Tubs During Pregnancy

If you still intend to use a hot tub while pregnant, there are some safe practice guidelines that should be follower religiously at all times.

  • Firstly, be sure to limit the amount of time you spend in a hot tub to no more than 10 minutes – this should ensure that your body temperature is not given enough time to climb too high.
  • Next, try to sit in the cooler area of the hot tub and as far away as possible from the inlet that supplies the reheated water.
  • As far as frequency goes, use the hot tub as little as possible – ideally no more than twice each week.
  • If you feel in any way uncomfortable or can tell that you are getting too hot, get out of the tub immediately.
  • And finally, do not even consider using a hot tub unless you are in a very good state of health and have a normal temperature.

Experience of one mom:

“It was my doctor that told me I was in genuine danger of boiling my baby if I kept on using my hot tub – luckily we’d only just had the thing installed. I really had no idea of the damage that could be done, just as I didn’t know that it could be made a whole lot safer just by turning the temperature down to 98 degrees F. To be honest though I’ve gone with the logic that abstinence is the safest course of action, so I only use the tub now for maybe 10-minutes here and there when my back is really playing up. I’m really glad I asked my doctor when I did – he put my mind at rest big time and helped me clear up all the conflicting information I’d been offered prior.”

What About Hot Baths and Saunas During Pregnancy?

So here’s a question – does the same logic of pregnancy and hot tubs apply to both hot baths and saunas when pregnant?

1. Hot Baths

A hot bath can feel like a Godsend sometimes – even if you’ve never been anything close to pregnant in your life. But here’s the thing, exactly the same rules apply as those concerning hot tubs, which means keeping the temperature below 100 degrees F and staying in the bath for no more than about ten minutes at a time.

Another useful tip is to only ever fill the bath half-way at the most – this way you’ll keep the top half of your body much cooler and thus be able to maintain a safer temperature for your baby.

2. Saunas

Saunas on the other hand are a different story altogether – one you should do your very best to avoid. The immediate effect is one of sever body temperature increase which we’ve already established is in no way a good thing – plus it’s way too easy to dehydrate in a sauna or pass out altogether…the consequences of doing so can of course be horrific.