While a soak in a hot tub would certainly assuage some of the aches and pains of pregnancy, few doctors recommend the use of a hot tub for their pregnant patients. Because the hot tub’s water can elevate a woman’s body temperature, OB-GYNs frequently tell their patients to steer clear of hot tubs throughout their pregnancies.
Body Temperature Limit
The primary risk associated with using a hot tub during pregnancy is the risk of an increase in body temperature. As the American Pregnancy Association reports, women who are pregnant should not allow their body temperatures to increase above 102.2 F. Because hot tub waters are well above this threshold, they can, and commonly do, produce a temperature increase that is above the recommended limit.
Women who allow their body temperatures to soar past this limit put themselves and their baby at risk. These women are at greater risk for suffering miscarriage, and their children are at an increased risk of experiencing a birth defect.
Impact of a Hot Tub
While it may seem that a long soak would be necessary to increase your body temperature to dangerous levels, this is not the case. Even a short time in the water can lead to this temperature spike. As the American Pregnancy Association reports, spending 10 to 20 minutes in a hot tub set to the standard 104 F will result in a temperature that is at or above this 102 F limit.
Limiting Hot Tub Risks
While most doctors recommend that pregnant women protect themselves and their child by not using a hot tub at all during pregnancy, there are some precautions that you should take if you do choose to take a dip. March of Dimes recommends that pregnant women who enter into a hot tub should set a timer to ensure that their time in the tub doesn’t exceed 10 minutes. They should also monitor both the water temperature in the hot tub, ensuring that it does not exceed 104 F as well as their internal body temperature, to ensure that it doesn’t approach or exceed 102 F.
Healthy Hot Tub Alternative
Instead of putting themselves or their babies at risk through hot tub use, pregnant women can try a safer hot tub alternative — a warm bath. By filling your tub with some toasty water, you can soothe your soreness while not running the risks associated with taking a dip in a super-heated hot tub.