Using a Hot Tub While Pregnant

You’ve never thought twice about stepping into a hot tub, but now that you’re pregnant, that luxury is suddenly up for debate.

Pregnancy makes people examine every action more closely. From sleep positions to favorite foods, the things we experience every day are now judged as safe or unsafe.

Fortunately, hot tub use can be safe during pregnancy. Here we’ll discuss the risks and how to keep yourself and your baby safe and healthy during hot tub use.

Risks of Hot Tub Use During Pregnancy

If you’re feeling the common muscle aches and strains of pregnancy, a soak in a hot tub might sound like the best thing in the world. However, submerging your body in high-temperature water can increase risks to you and your baby.

Elevated body temperature during pregnancy is concerning whether it’s due to internal causes, like a fever, or external factors, like a hot tub. Fetuses are most vulnerable to temperature-related defects in the first seven weeks before the neural tube is closed.

According to the Mayo Clinic, research suggests a small increase in the risk of neural tube defects in the brains/spinal cords of babies whose mothers had fevers in early pregnancy. While hot tub temps might not have the same effect of fever temps, caution is encouraged.

The American Pregnancy Association discusses the risks associated with body temperatures above 101 degrees Fahrenheit for any reason during the first trimester. Some studies link these early pregnancy high temps to neurological and other birth defects.

Hot tubs are often set to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, which is too hot for a pregnant person. Such a high water temperature could cause hyperthermia, which is simply abnormally high body temperature.

Later on, in pregnancy, there is less concern about birth defects. However, sitting in a hot tub could lead to discomfort and even dehydration.

Using Hot Tubs Safely During Pregnancy

As always, speak to your health care professional about using a hot tub while pregnant. Observe extra caution if you have complications such as a heart-related condition or recent fever.

If you have the all-clear from your doctor or midwife to use a hot tub, take the following precautions, as suggested by the Mayo Clinic and American Pregnancy Association:

● Set the tub’s water temp to 102 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
● Check the hot tub temperature with a thermometer – it can take a long time to cool down.
● Take frequent sips of cool water.
● Monitor your body temperature to ensure it’s under 101 degrees Fahrenheit.
● Don’t sit near the inlet that sends newly heated water into the tub.
● Keep your upper body out of the water, down to your bust line or so, to keep your core temperature from rising rapidly.
● Limit your hot tub soak to 10 minutes or less.
● Get out of the hot tub if you feel discomfort or show signs of dehydration (if you stop sweating, for example).

Pregnancy can be uncomfortable, and a hot tub can provide relief to aching hips and legs. As long as you speak with your health care professional and follow the precautions above, you may enjoy the hot tub throughout your pregnancy!