Using a Jacuzzi and Pregnancy
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While it's good to stay as active as possible when you are pregnant, there's no better excuse than pregnancy to put your feet up and relax on a regular basis. So, what better way to chill out and wind down than with a bubbly Jacuzzi or a warm sauna? Unfortunately, it's not a great idea if you are pregnant.
The Jacuzzi is bad for you...
When you are carrying a baby, you may notice that you overheat more easily than usual. You might think this is due to the exertion of lugging about the extra weight around your middle but in actual fact, your temperature rise is caused by hormones and an enhanced blood flow to the skin. Therefore, putting your body in a situation that could cause the core temperature to rise even further, such as a Jacuzzi or a sauna, means that you run the risk of either overheating or fainting.
It doesn't mean that you have to avoid heated water completely. A warm bath certainly won't do any harm. However, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists suggest that the temperature should not be more than 35C, or 32C if you are taking exercise, such as an antenatal aqua-aerobics class. As many hot tubs have the temperature of the water cranked up to 40C or more, it's best to avoid them if you're pregnant.
And even worse for your baby....
The concern about raising your body temperature isn't just about keeping you safe. A rise in your core temperature could affect the blood flow around your body and impair the flow of nutrients to your little one. Some studies on mammals have shown that a rise in body temperature could result in serious birth defects, such as spina bifida.
It's not only brain and spine defects that can be caused by overheating; an increase in the risk of miscarriage has also been linked with a rise in temperature. One theory is that this is triggered by the increase in temperature in the amniotic fluid around your unborn baby, making it difficult for the baby to cool down. Unlike adults, an unborn baby cannot simply sweat out the heat, making a temperature rise at best uncomfortable and at worst, dangerous. The first trimester is believed to be the most sensitive, but it's not a good idea to get too hot at any time during your pregnancy.
Some experts believe that short stints in a Jacuzzi are possible, providing the temperature is carefully controlled and no jets of water are being shot close to the vaginal entrance. However, with a Jacuzzi or a hot tub the whole body is submerged, unlike a bath, so the general consensus is that it is best avoided.
Of course, many women enjoy a sauna or a Jacuzzi and indulge before they realise they are pregnant and then worry themselves sick about the potential harm they may have done. A large number of women indulge in activities in early pregnancy that they would never have dreamed of if they'd known they were expecting; smoking, getting drunk or taking medication all regularly feature. However, in reality, most women go on to have a perfectly healthy baby and suffer no ill effects. The important thing is to stop as soon as you find out.
Whilst it can be disappointing to find out that a luxurious soak in a hot tub or a revitalising session in a sauna is out of the question, there's no reason why you shouldn't indulge yourself in other ways. Spas offer a range of treatments suitable for pregnant women including antenatal massage and reflexology. Now is the time to look after yourself and relax because let's face it, in just a few months you will be too busy enjoying the thrills of motherhood to get the chance!