In this post, we explain why pregnant women should be careful when using a hot tub and give you some tips on using a hot tub safely.
There are a lot of arguments about whether it is safe for pregnant women to take a hot tub. Some physicians are adamant that they should stay away from it. Others believe it's okay as long as you don't soak too long and you don't raise your body temperature.
So what are the risks of doing hot tubs during pregnancy, and is there a proper time and method to do it safely?
Hot Tub Water Temperature and Your Body
As a rule of thumb, pregnant women should avoid any activity which causes their body temperature to rise above 102 degrees Fahrenheit (39 degrees Celsius). This could harm the unborn child and could result in birth defects. The same thing happens when the mother has a high-grade fever, especially during the first twelve weeks.
Studies show mild exposure to elevated temperatures before the embryo gets in the uterus and higher temperatures during the first trimester could lead to birth defects or even pregnancy loss. Beyond that, pregnant women may resume doing hot tubs but with a little bit of caution.
Key Takeaways: The first twelve weeks or first trimester is critical for the developing child. Pregnant women should skip hot tubs altogether and just go with warm showers or baths instead.
Risk of Infection
Germs are also a cause for concern for pregnant women when talking about hot tub safety. If not maintained well, hot tubs can become a breeding ground for bacteria and pathogens. This risk is more significant if they're not using their own hot tubs or using the hot tub with everybody else.
Fortunately, testing hot tubs for chemicals and pH levels has never been so easy. You can easily buy hot tub test kits and pool strips from any local hardware store or your local hot tub dealer.
If you own a hot tub, make sure you use the right disinfectant and check the chlorine or bromine levels.
- chlorine: 2 to 4 parts per million, or
- bromine: 4 to 6 parts per million
- pH: 7.2 to 7.
This will inhibit the growth of bacteria and pathogens and, at the same time, won't irritate. However, if you just want to use one from a spa center, ask the manager if the water is regularly tested.
Key Takeaways: Only use hot tubs that are tested for safe use and are 100% hygienic.
How to Use Hot Tubs Safely during Pregnancy
As we said earlier, you don't have to skip hot tubs entirely as long as you're past 12 weeks from your missed period or after the first trimester. Here's how you can do hot tubs safely:
- Put the hot tub on low settings. Some doctors recommend 98 degrees Fahrenheit or 37 degrees Celsius. This is about the same as your normal body temperature. You can go slightly higher but not approaching 104 degrees Fahrenheit or 40 degrees Celsius.
- Don't go in a hot tub if you have a fever. Wait until you're well again, or your fever has already subsided.
- Use the hot tub for no more than 10 minutes. If you want to go for another soak, wait for your body to cool off.
- Keep your chest above water. Better yet, keep half of your body above water.
- Stay away from the jets when turned on. They're hotter than the rest of the water.
- Stop if you experience dizziness or nausea. Step out of the tub and find out why. Some reasons include elevated blood pressure due to prolonged exposure to hot water or steam.
Pregnancy shouldn't stop you from enjoying your hot tub. You can still enjoy the calming and relaxing benefits of hot tubs by following our suggestions and recommendations on how to do it safely.