Hot Tubs and Pregnancy
December 5, 2022
For many pregnant women, sitting in a hot tub during pregnancy sounds like a great way to ease muscle aches. It is important to use caution when choosing a hot tub for relaxation and pain relief.
Hot tubs can cause hyperthermia, which is abnormally high body temperature.
A number of studies seem to suggest that early pregnancy exposure to extremely hot water in hot tubs – when the water temperature is 101 degrees or more – can lead to an increased risk for neural tube defects like spina bifida.
Neural tube defects occur when there are problems with the development of the embryo’s spine and central nervous system. The risk of neural tube defects for a typical pregnancy is about 1 in 1,000. Studies suggest the risk doubles to 2 in 1,000 with exposure to hot tub water.
Hot tub Germs
Germs are another concern related to using a hot tub while pregnant. The warm, small body of water can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. But regular maintenance and constant monitoring can help ensure the water chemistry is properly balanced.
If you own the hot tub, make sure you use the right disinfectant and test the water using pool water strips. Free chlorine levels should be between 2 and 4 parts per million (ppm)Trusted Source, and if using bromine, between 4 and 6 ppm (Trusted Source). The pH should be between 7.2 and 7.8 (Trusted Source).
If you don’t own the hot tub but want some peace of mind, test the water or ask the manager of the place to ensure that the water is tested regularly.
Using hot tub safely during Pregnancy
If you’re in your first trimester, the general advice is to avoid the hot tub. Even if you keep the time to under 10 minutes, it can be dangerous for your baby-to-be. Everyone’s body is different, so you might find yourself overheating sooner than expected.
For your baby’s sake, skip the dip during the first three months. Instead, grab your water bottle or a tall glass of lemon water and dip your feet. You’ll still need to keep the time you do this limited.
If you’re past the first trimester and want to use the hot tub after getting your doctor’s approval, here’s how to stay safe:
- Use the tub for no more than 10 minutes at a time and allow for plenty of cooling off in between sessions.
- If the hot water jets are on, sit on the opposite side where the water temperature is slightly lower.
- If you feel sweaty, step out of the tub right away and cool yourself down.
- Try to keep your chest above the water if possible. It’s even better to sit where only your lower half is in the hot water.
- If you stop sweating or experience any kind of discomfort such as dizziness or nausea, get out immediately and monitor your condition to make sure your body is back to normal.
- Don’t use the hot tub if you have a fever.
If you’re among friends or with family members and ready to use the hot tub, ask if they’d be willing to lower the temperature. While still nice and warm, a lower temperature considerably reduces your risk of overheating.
Avoid using a hot tub during the first trimester or if you have a fever. If you decide to use a hot tub during pregnancy, take precautions and make sure you soak for a limited amount of time.
Keep a close eye on your temperature and general well-being.
Always get your doctor’s OK before using the hot tub during pregnancy.