Can Pregnant Women Get in Hot Tubs?

Hot Tubs Are Not Generally Recommended for Pregnant Women

Given all of the assorted aches, pains and stress associated with pregnancy, soaking in a hot tub or spa sounds like the perfect remedy. While a short soak in a lukewarm whirlpool may not cause any harm, a hot tub is set to maintain a temperature of 104F, which can raise your internal temperature to unsafe levels for your baby's healthy development.

First Trimester

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The first three months of pregnancy, before most women are even aware that they are pregnant, are a crucial time for your baby's development and growth. Raising your core temperature above 101F can cause neural tube and spinal cord defects. Most hot tubs are set to maintain a constant temperature of 104F. Soaking for as short a time as 10 to 20 minutes can raise your internal temperature to 102F or even higher. If you spent time in a hot tub before you knew that you were pregnant, don't panic. Let your doctor know. Together you can monitor your baby's progress to ensure that there are no problems and to address them early if there are.

Second Trimester

During your second trimester, your doctor will test for things like neural tube defects. Just because your test results come back all clear does not mean that you can assume you're somehow immune to the temperature of the hot tub. Soak your feet and legs if you like, but keep the majority of your body out of the water to ensure that you don't raise your internal temperature. If you simply can't resist, sit as far away as possible from where fresh, hot water enters the hot tub. Keep as much of your upper body out of the water as you can, and don't soak for more than 10 minutes.

Third Trimester

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Nothing amplifies the siren call of a swirling tub filled with deliciously hot water like the effects of gravity when you're eight months pregnant. Difficult though it may be, use all of your newfound maternal energy to resist. Aside from the ever-present danger of raising your internal temperature above 101F, you are also at increased risk of falling as you try to maneuver your belly into and out of the tub.

Hot Baths

Most bath water does not get as hot as 104F. Even if it does, unless you have a full soaking tub, part of your body will most likely not be submerged, which can help keep you from overheating. Also, bath water cools, whereas water in a hot tub is constantly replenished to keep it hot. So, relax in a bath filled with water only a few degrees higher than your body temperature. Don't replenish the hot water as it cools, and keep your shoulders and upper chest out of the water to soak away your cares without adding new ones.

Tips

To avoid falling, always have someone help you in and out of the bathtub when in your third trimester.

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