For the latest advice about going in a hot tub when pregnant, we’ve put together a guide with everything you need to know. In general, using hot tubs and going swimming regularly are brilliant ways to unwind and to genuinely relax. This includes during pregnancy when there is a lot of stress on you both physically and mentally. As a mother-to-be though, you might be worried that there are risks about using a hot tub that you want to be aware of.
What are the risks of using a hot tub when pregnant?
Unfortunately, there are some risks when you use a hot tub when pregnant. It is better to be completely upfront about this so that you are fully informed. During pregnancy, most women will feel uncomfortable as their body changes. One of the best ways to ease aches and pains at any time in life is to look to exercise such as swimming, and to be in the water. Using a hot tub, in particular, is a relaxing exercise but there is a chance that the exposure to increased heat can lead to decreased blood flow to the foetus, bringing complications with it.
When sitting in hot temperatures for long periods of time you might suffer difficulty in regulating your body temperature, which is something that occurs along with hormonal changes during pregnancy. As your body increases blood supply to the skin during pregnancy, it is naturally more difficult to lose heat from your body and to keep your core body temperature within acceptable and safe limits.
This is why many women look to avoid using steam rooms, saunas, and hot tubs at the beginning of their pregnancy in particular. Overheating is dangerous as it draws blood away from internal organs, leading to light-headedness and potential fainting. This can cause problems for the foetus.
Lastly, another risk for using hot tubs when pregnant is that there is exposure to chemicals that are used to maintain the hot tub, such as bromine and chlorine, which are two chemicals regularly used to sanitise the water and maintain the hygiene levels. These chemicals in particular can cause irritation to the eyes and skin, with an additional potential problem of absorption into the bloodstream.
What are the benefits of using a hot tub when pregnant?
Now that we have gone through some of the risks attached to using a hot tub when pregnant, it is important to balance things out and show that there are also some benefits that can be found to using a hot tub during pregnancy.
The first benefit is that sitting in hot water for a short time can help ease certain muscle problems and aches, such as back pain. It can also help to reduce swelling that many pregnant women suffer with, and boosts circulation. This makes it much easier for pregnant women to find some form of relief from joint pain.
In terms of stress, hot tub use helps to relieve stress levels and help to promote better sleep as you are more relaxed. This relaxation is a big appeal, especially at a time where you might be looking to spend quality time connecting and bonding with your partner during pregnancy. It gives you quality time together, away from the stress of daily life and easing the stress of pregnancy for a short while.
When looking at heat levels in particular, it can help to stimulate contractions to progress labour when it comes to the correct time. Soaking in a hot tub when you are towards the end of your pregnancy is sometimes recommended by a medical professional as a safe action that encourages the baby to make an appearance.
How to stay safe in a hot tub when pregnant
If you have weighed up the pros and cons of using a hot tub when you are pregnant and decided you want to do it, there are safe ways to do so. Below are some tips you should take notice of:
To avoid your core temperature rising to a level that is too high, always use a hot tub temperature that is 35C or below, as anything above this temperature could be dangerous for a pregnant woman.
Limit your hot tub use
You should limit the amount of time you spend in a hot tub when pregnant. It is recommended that you spend no more than 10 minutes at a time, as prolonged exposure to high temperatures can be harmful to the baby.
Avoid use in the first trimester
This is the crucial time where the baby is developing in a fast manner, and if you use a hot tub during this period there is a greater risk of infections from the water and harm from the hot temperatures.
Make sure it is fully maintained
Pregnant women always need to be very aware of germs and bacteria wherever they are, of course, but this is especially the case when using hot tubs. Always ensure they are fully maintained and sanitised to reduce the risk of exposure to harmful bacteria and chemicals. This also means regularly changing the water.
Stay hydrated during use
It is important to stay well-hydrated at all times, but this becomes even more important when you are using a hot tub, due to the higher temperatures. Avoid caffeinated drinks and make sure you have plenty of water before and during your time in the hot tub.
Stay aware of your comfort
You must always be aware of your comfort levels. The moment you feel any discomfort, or you feel overheated, you should get out of the hot tub immediately and cool off completely before considering getting back in.
Keep your chest above water
Limit the amount of time you are submerged in the water, and if possible, only lower your bottom half into the water and keep your chest above the water level.
Always consult your GP before using a hot tub when pregnant, it is important that you are aware of the risks before making the most of the benefits.
*Medical Advice Disclaimer
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