You might be thinking, “What? Hot tubs are safe during pregnancy!” Well, you’re wrong. Although hot tubs offer a good way to relax and unwind after a long day or week’s work, they can also present many risks for pregnant women.
While there is little data on the use of hot tubs, saunas, and steam rooms during pregnancy, they should be avoided due to the risks of overheating, dehydration, and faintness.
In this article we’re going to go over why you shouldn’t use a hot tub during pregnancy and also discuss some myths surrounding it.
When you sit in water that is hotter than your body temperature, your own temperature will increase.
When pregnant, you shouldn’t let your body temperature go above 102F, which it can increase to easily if you sit in a hot tub for even just 10 minutes.
In pregnancy, your body’s resources are going towards the development of your baby. Your heart rate is increased to circulate blood and nutrients throughout your placenta, which means you have a decreased volume of blood in circulation every time it pumps through. This decrease in volume will slow down heat transfer from hot tub water so that heat can build up more easily inside of you compared to someone who isn’t pregnant.
It’s important not to let this happen because overheating during pregnancy reduces fetal oxygen supply by reducing uterine blood flow and also inhibits fetal thermoregulation mechanisms. All these things lead to problems for both mother and child.
If you absolutely have to go into the hot tub and couldn’t possibly live without it, here’s some safety precautions you need to take, based on how far along you are with the pregnancy.
Hot tubs and the first trimester? You might want to avoid the hot tub altogether, even if 10 minutes is all you spend in there. Your body could be overheating sooner than expected due to being pregnant.
You lose a lot of water when you sweat, and if you’re in the hot tub for longer than 10 minutes your blood pressure could drop which can lead to fainting. This is especially true during early pregnancy because it’s when most women don’t know they are pregnant yet so aren’t monitoring their bodies as closely.
Here are some precautions to take while using a hot tub when pregnant after you’ve completed the first trimester and spoken with your doctor about it:
If it’s your hot tub or you know who owns it, ask them to lower the water temperature as this will decrease the risk of you overheating.
What you don’t know about your hot tub can hurt the mother-to-be. Small, warm bodies of water are breeding grounds for harmful bacteria and germs that could lead to an infection in pregnant women who use them regularly without proper maintenance or constant monitoring from professionals such as spa technicians.
It’s critical to use the correct disinfectant and to test the water in your hot tub. The ideal range for chlorine is 2 to 4 ppm, with a minimum of 2 parts per million, with bromine present at between 4 and 6 ppm as well. The pH needs to stay around 7.
Though there has been limited research into it, the general consensus is that hot tubs are not safe during pregnancy and if you decide to use one you could have pregnancy complications and also have an increased risk of having birth defects.