Expecting mothers must endure all kinds of strain. They experience fatigue and aching for months, particularly in the final trimester. To alleviate such discomforts, doctors often recommend light stretching, exercise, and other forms of pain relief like massage therapy.
Many hot tub owners enjoy time in the water to unwind. Hot temperatures relax muscle tensions and induce feelings of serenity. Unfortunately, this is one activity women should avoid during pregnancy.
The Dangers of Spas during the First Trimester
Between weeks 4 and 16 of the first trimester, the fetus develops its critical organ systems. High body temperatures during this time can lead to birth defects. In fact, some studies claim that the risk of defect jumps two to four times if the mother overheats.
According to the Organization of Teratology Information Services (OTIS), overheating begins above 101-degrees Fahrenheit. Since most hot tubs stay around 104-degrees Fahrenheit, it takes less than 20 minutes for pregnant women to become at risk.
How to Reduce the Risk If You Suspect That You’re Pregnant
If you own a hot tub, you don’t have to spend a full season away from it. There are a few precautions you can take to make bathing safer for you and your baby.
- Spend no more than 10 minutes in the spa at one time.
- Stay away from jets and filters; the water stream is often warmest here.
- Dip only your legs into the water and relax on the side of the tub.
- Avoid bathing after physical activity.
You can also reprogram your tub at a lower temperature. Rather than keeping it above 100-degrees Fahrenheit, drop the dial below 98. Some hot tubs even come with a cool-water mode for temperatures below 85. When using this setting, keep a cover over the water to prevent the sun from heating it.