Spending some time in tub is a great way to relax after a busy day and if you are pregnant then it will be even more relaxing. This is because hot baths is an age old practice for the relaxation of muscles as well as mind.
Pregnancy is an exciting and highly enjoyable period and any expected mother would like to provide all possible comfort for her baby during this period. However most of the pregnant women go through a tough period of muscular pain and tiredness during pregnancy and soaking in hot tubs would provide some relaxation to them.
But taking a dip in the hot tub with a baby in your womb is not safe for the baby. A hot spa or sauna would also cause the same effects as they increase the body temperature like that of a hot tub.
Hot Tubs and Pregnancy
Hot tubs or sauna during pregnancy may cause hyperthermia which is a condition of increased body temperature and for pregnant women increase in the core body temperature above 101 degree F is considered harmful. The incidence of birth defects is high among the babies of women who use hot tubs during their first trimester.
Most of the hot tubs in swimming pools are programmed in a such a manner that it maintain a water temperature of about 104 degree F and this constant temperature is maintained by circulating the water through a hot tub where in it pump out the cold water and pump in the hot water.
Just immersing oneself in this water increases the body temperature above 102 degree F in ten to twenty minutes. Since most of the people tend to immerse themselves completely in hot water there is very less chance for the body to release heat through sweating resulting in increased body temperature. Increasing the body temperature beyond 102.2 degree F may stress the baby and complicate the pregnancy.
Increased core body temperature of the expected mother may cause damage to the baby at cellular levels and may leads to defects related to neural tube like spina bifida and brain damages. This is because once the body gets overheated it increases the heart rate of the mother and may also cause dehydration leading to reduced blood pressure and this reduced blood pressure reduces the blood supply to the baby.
Lower blood pressure may also cause dizziness or fainting and increase the risk of expected mother falling unconscious. Increased body temperature of the expected mother may also increases the temperature of the amniotic fluid leading to stress and damages to the baby and in many cases increases the chances of a miscarriage. Sauna and steam bath also increases the body temperature since the entire room gets heated up leading to increased body temperature and dehydration and causes the same effect as that of the hot tubs.
How to Take a Safe Hot Tub Soak
Most of the hot tubs in swimming pools have a temperature around 104 degree F, hence it is ideal to have a private hot tub where you can set the temperature below 100 degree F or 98 degree F. In your private hot tub try to keep the upper body out of the water and exposed to the room temperature which helps to bring down the body temperature.
Monitor the temperature of the water regularly by dipping a thermometer in the water. Also monitor the core body temperature while in the tub to avoid overheating. Limit the duration of soaking in hot tub to less than ten minutes to be on the safe side. If your skin color is changing and getting in to red then get out of the water quickly as it is an indication that your body is getting excessively heated.
Alternatively one can also check the hotness of the water with the forearm or elbow since these parts of the skin are more sensitive than that of other parts of the body such as hands or feet. Checking the hotness of water with elbow or forearm providesa perfect sensation and keeps the water warm enough for the baby.
This warmness of the water should be comfortable so that you can easily get in to the water without any discomfort and also expose the body to the water part by part.Rather than immersing in the hot water pregnant women can sit on the edge of the hot tub with their legs immersed in the hot water and this helps to relax the feet and calf muscles where there maximum discomfort would be experiencing. But while sitting on the edge of the hot tub care should be taken to avoid slipping.
Hot Bath Safer than Hot Tub
Instead of hot tubs pregnant women can relax with hot bath. This is because while taking a hot bath, much of the body remains out of the water and this helps to maintain the core body temperature below 101 degree F. Above all in a hot tub or sauna the water is maintained at a steady temperature where as in a hot bath water will get cooled quickly. Hot showers are considered even better because while taking a shower the person may move back and forth and hence only one part of the body gets hot showers at a time while the other parts of the body may cool down.
It’s always better to avoid hot tubs during the first trimester of pregnancy when neural tubes are developing. After the first trimester hot tubs set at lower temperature are safe to use but only for ten minutes or less. Before entering the hot tubes ensure that the water is clean else it may cause certain viral as well as bacterial infections which may also harm the baby in the womb.
Alternatively pregnant women can also get relief from the pain and discomforts by practicing yoga and massage but take care to practice these with the support of a reputed practitioners else it may trigger contraction of the uterus and leading to multiple problems.
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