Can you go in a hot tub when pregnant?
Can pregnant women go in a hot tub? We’ve got some bad news for all you pregnant people out there, the answer is technically only maybe and probably, in the interests of your unborn child, it is simply not worth the risk.
The answer is maybe for a very short time under some specific conditions – and definitely not for long.
However, there are a couple of very important riders though.
It’s worth reading on to find out everything you need to know about using a hot tub when pregnant.
Can You Go In A Hot Tub While Pregnant?
First of all, congratulations! If you’re thinking of celebrating the new addition to your family with a dip in the tub though, you might want to consider it very carefully indeed. Here’s why:
1) Body Temperature Risk To Your Baby
The ideal hot tub temperature is around 38.5°C. Most women prefer it at this temperature or a little higher just to be comfortable.
The maximum hot tub temperature is 40°C. That doesn’t sound like much difference, but any hotter than that and you’ll start having a negative experience even when not pregnant!
When you’re pregnant though, there’s an additional layer of complication. If you are, most recommendations say you shouldn’t let your body temperature go above 39°C (102.2°F). All it takes to make that happen is ten minutes in a 40°C hot tub.
This is especially important during the first trimester as it can lead to birth defects.
This was determined by two studies back in the 2000s. Apologies for the big scary bold type, but that’s the kind of risk that’s worth underlining.
2) Germ Danger To Your Baby (And You)
Besides the heat, there’s another thing that many people overlook when wondering if pregnant women can go in a hot tub – germs.
If you’re in your own home, you know how clean your hot tub is.
You’ll know how important it is to have:
- Chlorine levels – of between 1.5 and 3 parts per million (or bromine between 4 and 6).
- A pH level – of between 7.2 and 7.8.
However, if you’re in a hotel or on holiday or anywhere else you aren’t in control of the water hygiene of the tub, it’s worth remembering that poorly cared-for tubs can be depositories of all kinds of germs.
These are heated pools of water that are potentially used by multiple people. Each person might leave behind traces of dead skin, hair, and the lotions and potions they use on their body.
For properly maintained tubs, this isn’t an issue. But when you’re about to step into someone else’s tub, it’s worth asking them how often the water is tested and what those tests revealed.
If you’re in a hotel, for instance, how many people have used the tub? What temperature is the water set at? Does a knowledgeable person treat it? The hotel manager should know the answers to these questions.
Can Pregnant Women Go In A Hot Tub? Here’s how:
If you’re standing at the water’s edge worrying about whether you can go in a hot tub when pregnant, here are some basic rules to follow:
1) First Trimester? Don’t dip
Official advice is to avoid ‘tubbing in your first trimester. Those first three months are crucial for your baby’s development, so it’s just not worth the risk.
Even if you keep it under ten minutes and think “this couldn’t hurt”, be aware that it really could.
2) A Little Goes A Long Way
After the first three months of pregnancy are over, if you speak with your doctor or midwife and they say it’s okay – pregnant women can go in a hot tub or a jacuzzi in general and you can specifically, then it is up to you whether you decide to do so having taken their advice.
But do limit your sessions to ten minutes at a time and make sure you give yourself plenty of time to cool down before you consider getting back in.
Don’t be surprised if you start feeling a little too warm before your ten minutes are up. Everyone is different and you may start feeling too hot sooner.
3) Temperature Control Is Vital
When pregnant, controlling your temperature is very important. When ‘tubbing, you might want to:
- Sit on the opposite side of the tub from the hot water jets
- Sit with only your lower half in the water – or at least your upper chest downwards
- Ask other people in the tub if they mind a lower temperature (usually only with friends)
Feel Uncomfortable? Just Get Out
Feeling sweaty or overheated? A little nauseous or uncomfortable? Step out of the tub right away. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
The Bottom Line – Talk To Your Doctor Or Midwife First
If you really want to know if you can go in a hot tub pregnant, it’s always worth talking to your doctor or midwife about it. They’ll almost certainly advise against it – especially if you’re in those all-important early stages.
In short, can you use a hot tub when pregnant? Maybe. If you’re not in the first trimester, you might be able to for a short time. You’ll need to keep a careful eye on how you feel, but you can. In the first three months, don’t risk it though. And always talk with your doctor first.
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