I don't know anyone who deserves pampering as much as an expectant mother. As the fetus grows, women experience aching backs, swollen legs and ankles, and sensitive stretching skin. Pregnancy puts enormous strain on your system, and many pregnancies are rife with headaches, nausea, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, anemia, gastrointestinal discomforts, and mood swings. We all know how soothing and relaxing hot tubs can be, and how beneficial they are for our emotional well being. However, pregnant women may want to think twice before taking a long, hot soak.
Hot tubs increase your core temperature by several degrees. Hyperthermia--or abnormally, raised body temperature--is a major concern for pregnant women. A body temperature exceeding 101F is a cause for concern when pregnant within the first trimester. Most hot tubs maintain a temperature around 104F. The risks to the fetus include neural tube defects and miscarriage.
What are some options for weary mothers-to-be? Luckily, there are several things you can do that provide relief while being safe for the baby:
- Turn down the hot tub. Set the maximum temperature to 100F.
- Limit your soaking time. Do not soak in hot water for more than 10 minutes. Cool down completely before soaking again.
- Substitute a warm bath for hot tub time. A warm or even hot bath is safer than a hot tub because it is less likely to reach and maintain dangerous temperatures.
- Use warm compresses or heating pads on aching joints and muscles. Keep heating pads at a moderate temperature. A bag of rice or beans microwaved for a few seconds is Heaven on tense neck muscles.
- Drink warm herbal or decaffeinated teas to soothe from the inside out.
- Monitor your comfort level. If you start to feel too warm, remove yourself from the source of heat and cool down.
As always, please please consult your doctor about the risks hot tubs pose to your pregnancy. This article is not a substitute for your doctor's advice.