Many expecting mothers consider sitting in hot tubs, Jacuzzis and saunas as the best way to relax and ease muscle aches associated with the phase of life. However, it is important to be cautious when using a hot tub or Jacuzzi for pain relief and relaxation during pregnancy. This is because hot tubs can lead to hyperthermia, abnormally high body temperature. Here’s a guide to use of sauna and hot tubs and their safety levels during pregnancy.
Hot Tubs and Saunas during Pregnancy – How safe are they?
Soaking in a hot tub or sitting in a sauna or Jacuzzi might seem to be the most appropriate remedy to get relief from pregnancy pains and muscle aches. However, both these activities can pose risks to the pregnant mother. In the first point, it can cause dehydration, low blood pressure, and dizziness thus intensifying extreme heat. Furthermore, anything that increases the temperature of the body to over 102 degrees can pose serious health hazards to the fetus, particularly during the initial months of pregnancy, when the brain and body are under the process of development.
As per research studies conducted by scientists and health experts, abnormal increase in body temperature can lead to higher risk of spina bifida, a type of birth defect wherein the baby’s backbone doesn’t close completely.
It is recommended to skip the hot tubs and saunas completely until you get a green signal from your doctor after your delivery. However, if you can’t resist it completely, here are some precautionary measures to mitigate the risk of health hazards to the baby.
- Make sure that the sauna or soak time doesn’t exceed ten minutes.
- Generally, most of the tubs are set at the temperature of 104 degrees. Make it a point to adjust your tub temperature as low as 97 or 98 degrees. Also make sure to have a thermometer handy in water to keep a check on the temperature.
- Pay close attention to any indications of overheating, like clamminess, dizziness, or prolific sweating.
Sauna and Jacuzzi during Pregnancy
Even though hot baths are considered completely fine during pregnancy, it is wise to avoid hot tubs, Jacuzzi, and sauna.This is for the fact that during the use of these fancy appliances, the body is under constant heat, thus becoming more at risk than being relaxed.
However, if you still feel like using them to relax your mind and body, it is extremely important to keep yourself hydrated by drinking more water. One good idea is to have a water bottle handy, next to your tub, just in case you might feel dizzy or tired.
Why are saunas unsafe during pregnancy?
As per the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, expecting mothers are advised to avoid use of sauna, Jacuzzi, or hot tubs throughout the pregnancy period. Here are some evidences brought forward by research institutes to help you understand the reasons for saunas, hot tubs, and Jacuzzis are unsafe during pregnancy.
- Pregnancy is usually considered to have a tendency of putting the expecting mother under stress, not only physically but mentally as well. When the body is already working overtime, any exposure to high temperature can become a cause for complications of pregnancy while simultaneously posing serious health hazards to the fetus under development.
- A sauna session is usually recommended to help the body get rid of toxins through sweating. As concerned pregnant women, heavy sweating might lead to hypotension and dehydration. This can further lead to symptoms like dizziness for expecting mothers and reduced blood supply to the fetus.
- It is also beenproven through research studies that use of a hot tub can lead to higher risk of miscarriage.
- As per a study published in 1992, it has been revealed that exposure to heat in the form of sauna or hot tub during the initial stages of pregnancy can become a major cause of neural tube defects in babies.
- Unguided use of hot tubs during pregnancy is considered to be associated with spinal cord and brain defects in the baby. It is also a common belief of many experts that exposure to extremely hot temperatures during pregnancy (any stage) can increase the risk of birth defects as well.