Pregnancy and hot tubs: What's the risk?

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Pregnancy and hot tubs: What's the risk?

Question

Is it safe to use a hot tub during pregnancy?

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Answer

Pregnancy and hot tubs can be a dangerous combination.

Spending 10 minutes or more in a hot tub can raise your body temperature to 102 F (38.9 C), causing a condition known as hyperthermia. Some studies have shown an increased risk of miscarriage and neural tube defects — serious abnormalities of the brain or spinal cord — in the babies of women who experience high temperatures during the first four to six weeks of pregnancy. Exposure to hot tubs at any time during pregnancy can also cause you to overheat and lower your blood pressure, which can harm your baby's oxygen supply.

If you choose to use a hot tub during pregnancy, take these steps to reduce the risks:

  • Limit time in the hot tub to less than 10 minutes.
  • Avoid sitting near the inlet that provides newly heated water.
  • Get out of the hot tub if you start to sweat or feel any discomfort.
  • Stay out of the hot tub if you aren't in good health or you already have an elevated temperature due to fever, exercise, or previous hot tub or sauna use.
Last Updated: 2010-09-18
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