We often get asked if pregnant women should use Hot Tubs. While we’re experts in Hot Tubs we can’t claim to be trained Obstetricians so on this matter we defer to the guidelines provided by the NHS.
The main rules
As a general rule if you’re pregnant you should avoid Hot Tubs, saunas, steam rooms and other places where you might be at risk of overheating. In the UK the NHS suggests that pregnant women do not use Hot Tubs at all.
The Telegraph reports that the British Journal of Sports Medicine has published a review suggesting that pregnant women can “enjoy hot baths and saunas without risk” but the report does not specifically refer to Hot Tubs. The report says that women can “sit in hot baths up to 40C (…) for up to 20 minutes, irrespective of pregnancy stage.” This seems to slightly contradict the NHS guidelines but, for your peace of mind, we would recommend avoiding Hot Tubs altogether whilst pregnant.
There are three main potential issues you could be at risk of if you use a Hot Tub or sauna when pregnant:
As a non-pregnant person you could be susceptible to these issues if you spent too long in a Hot Tub (see our post on how long to spend in a Hot Tub for more information on this). However, if you’re pregnant, you may generally feel warmer and this could lead to issues if you were to use a Hot Tub. As the NHS points out “a significant rise in your core temperature” could cause issues and should be avoided.
Using a hot tub after giving birth
As MummyPages points out you may find a warm bath very soothing in the weeks after you give birth. The therapeutic effects of warm water can relieve aches and pains and help you to relax. There’s also something to be said about engaging in some “self-care” by taking some time to yourself and putting aside the stress of looking after a new baby even if it’s only for half an hour.
Using a Hot Tub is slightly different to a bath of course. There are more chemicals involved and, depending on when you last drained and refilled your tub, the water will be less fresh. For this reason MummyPages suggests that you wait until you’ve had a chance to recover before your first post-birth Hot Tub session.