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Can You Use A Hot Tub While Pregnant

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

It is without a doubt that one of the best ways to relax is soaking in a hot tub. A warm bath with the correct water temperature soothes your muscles and relaxes the mind.


Hot tubs are also designed to give more than one person access at a time, so it could be a relaxing way to share quality time with your partner or friends.

However, when it comes to hot tub use during pregnancy, it is recommended that you proceed with care.


Studies suggest that the water temperature should not exceed 40 C. Why? Because sitting too long in hot water at an elevated temperature will cause your body temperature to rise. And that could put you and your unborn baby at risk.


While there are some serious concerns about using a hot tub during pregnancy, don't worry too much. You can use it for a limited amount of time carefully.


Can Pregnant Women Go In A Hot Tub?

Whether hot tubs, hot springs, or baths, if you soak in water warmer than your body's temperature, you will experience a significant rise in your core temperature.


Following health guidelines, the body's core temperature should not exceed 39 C during pregnancy. This can happen easily if you stay inside a hot tub for more than 10 minutes with the water temperature reading 40 C. Even if you exercise at an antenatal class, the water temperature should not exceed 32 C.


Most hot tubs have settings that could help you stay around the 36 C range, and it would be in your best interest to avoid hot tubs that lack this feature.

Most women feel warmer during pregnancy. This is caused by an increase in blood supply to the skin and also some hormonal changes.


What are the risks associated with hot tubs during pregnancy?


There is little research regarding using steam rooms, hot tubs, jacuzzis, and saunas during pregnancy. But, with the information available, some risks associated with using a hot tub during pregnancy have been identified.

Below are some problems that have been shown to arise when a hot tub is used during pregnancy.


Overheating

Your body is less likely to lose heat effectively through sweating when you utilize a steam room, hot tub, jacuzzi, or sauna. This poses no risk, normally, but could be harmful when pregnant. For instance, when you overheat, it could result in disorientation and nausea.


When your body temperature rises, it could affect the circulation of nutrients and blood to your baby, causing issues in the process.

Some studies link overheating to neural tube defects, particularly during early pregnancy. These may result from impacting the way the baby's spine and brain develop.


Feeling faint


When you overheat, your body tries to cool you down by sweating, which means more blood is flowing close to your skin's surface. In this case, there would not be as much blood flow to internal organs, like the brain, as there should be.


You could start feeling faint if not enough oxygen and blood are supplied to your brain. During pregnancy, this faintness could intensify due to hormonal changes in the body.

It is best to stay clear of any situation that could make you get too hot. This includes going into a steam room, sitting in a jacuzzi, or using a hot tub. If you must use a hot tub, proceed with caution and step out immediately if there are significant signs of fainting.


Dehydration


Generally, dehydration is not an issue that should be taken lightly. During pregnancy, the risk of dehydration increases which may result in various ailments that impact the body's ability to fight off viruses and infections. You should check with your doctor to know the optimal level of hydration you require.


While hot tubs can be used to soothe the body, they can also be a source of dehydration. The high temperature of the water causes you to sweat more. With the increased lack of water that comes with pregnancy and the high water temperature, you could suffer mild dehydration.

Try to dress appropriately and always keep hydrated to avoid these symptoms. Get out of the hot tub and cool down if you begin to feel overheated.


Hot tub germs

Another cause for concern is the germs that could be picked up while using a hot tub. Harmful bacteria could be in the water, and exposure to them is dangerous during pregnancy. To ensure the water chemistry is balanced correctly, monitor it constantly for abnormalities and schedule regular maintenance.


If the hot tub is not yours, you can test the water or request regular water testing from the manager. However, if the hot tub is yours, ensure you test the water with pool water strips and use the correct disinfectant.


Bromine levels should be kept between 4 and 6 ppm (parts per million) and free chlorine levels between 2 and 4 ppm.


Water temperatures


While you might want to pamper yourself during pregnancy, you should be aware of the effect hot tubs could have. Your body's temperature is bound to rise if you enter water that is warmer than your core temperature.


Soaking for more than 10 minutes in a hot tub with a water temperature of 40 C could easily raise your body's temperature above 39 C. And that is not healthy.

This is a significant risk, particularly during the first trimester, that an elevated temperature could lead to birth defects like spinal cord and brain defects.


Baby defects and miscarriage


Using a hot tub intensively during the early stages of pregnancy increases the risks of a miscarriage or your baby being born with some defects. Some of these defects include:

  • Spina Bifida

  • Anencephaly

  • Neural tube defects

How to safely use a hot tub during pregnancy?


In the early months of pregnancy, during the first trimester, pregnant women are advised to stay away from hot tubs to be on the safe side. Although you might not spend longer than 10 minutes, there could be an increased risk of negatively impacting your baby's development.


Everybody is built differently, and some might overheat before others because of the low blood flow to the brain caused by the extreme heat. For the sake of your developing baby, you should take this parenting information and skip the hot baths for the first three months of pregnancy.


You can opt to dip your feet while sipping on a glass of lemon water. This could be helpful with relaxing during early pregnancy and help avoid birth defects, ensuring your baby's growth is not affected.


That being said, if you have passed the first trimester and have the necessary approval from your doctor, you can use a hot tub safely without cause for concern. Here are some tips to follow.

Tracking pregnancy is useful for knowing your due date and it also helps you know which trimester you are in to let you know if it's safe to use a hot tub.

  • If you have a fever, avoid hot tubs.

  • If you feel any discomfort like nausea or dizziness, step out of the tub and track your condition until your body returns to normal.

  • The best advice is to sit so that only the lower part of your body is submerged in the water. So, try not to let the water level pass your chest.

  • Get out of the tub immediately if you start to feel sweaty. Cool your body temperature before you get back into the hot tub.

  • If the hot tub jets are on, ensure you sit on the other side. This is because the water is at a lower temperature there.

  • The most important tip is to spend no more than 10 minutes in the hot tub each session. You should also have cooling sessions.

Are there any safer alternatives to a hot tub during pregnancy?

Yes, there are some alternatives you can still enjoy and feel comfortable doing while you are pregnant.


Warm baths


Hot tub use comes with an increased risk of birth defects during early pregnancy. A safer alternative would be to avoid hot tubs and take warm baths instead. Warm baths provide you with many health benefits but not the risks linked to a heated spa.


You need to ensure that the water is warm, as soaking in a tub with hot water is counterintuitive because it's just the same as when you use a hot tub. You can use your private spa; just ensure the water temperature is below 37 C.


Foot soak


If a warm bath is not an option you fancy, try a hot foot soak. Pregnant women get a lot of relief from soaking their feet. It helps to ease aching and can also reduce swelling.


FAQs


Can a pregnant woman use a hot tub during the first trimester?


Using a hot tub during the first trimester could be dangerous because of the risk of overheating, which could harm your unborn baby. Some studies have found possible links between overheating and premature birth.


Hot tubs and pregnancy in 2nd trimester - safe or not?


You can use a hot tub during your 2nd trimester if you follow the hot tub pregnancy safety guidelines. Doing so will protect your baby from anything that could be harmful.


Can a 7-month pregnant woman get in a hot tub?


It is safe for a 7-month pregnant woman to get into a tub as long as the guidelines are followed properly. If you don't raise your body temperature above the healthy limit, there is no cause for concern.


Can you put your feet in a hot tub while pregnant?


If you have pregnancy complications or chronic health conditions that affect your body's temperature, it would be best to avoid using a hot tub. A foot soak in warm water is acceptable, but you should also limit the soak to around 10 minutes.


Can you have a miscarriage from a hot tub?


Some studies link the use of hot tubs during early pregnancy to an increased risk of miscarriage as well as neural tube defects. Most experts and physicians agree that pregnant women should avoid hot tubs during the early months.

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AUTHOR

Jess Court

I'm Aqua Warehouse Groups Marketing Officer - overseeing all things news worthy in the hot tub industry, with tips and tricks that are bound to make a splash.

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