While pregnancy is incredibly exciting, it can also be a challenging time. Your body undergoes a significant transformation, and your mind is flooded with hormones, some of which are unique to pregnancy.
It stands to reason that many pregnant women find themselves eager to enjoy a soothing and relaxing soak during this time. But is that wise?
In this article we’ll look to answer exactly that.
Can I use a spa pool while I’m pregnant?
Can you enjoy a relaxing soak in your spa pool while pregnant? The short answer is yes, so long as you’re careful. The longer answer is that using a spa pool when pregnant can represent unnecessary risk, but only if you use it in a certain way. The problem isn’t with the chlorine or the jets – the issue is simply one of temperature.
As a rule, all spa pool owners should keep their spas at or below body temperature, i.e. a maximum of 36C-37C. Going above that can cause harm to any human body, not just those that are pregnant, as being surrounded by warm water takes away the body’s ability to cool itself down, leading to hyperthermia (the opposite of hypothermia, despite sounding almost the same.)
By keeping your spa pool water temperature to 36C or lower, you’ll ensure that you won’t overheat, and nor will your unborn child. The lower the temperature the lower the risk, so going down to the low 30s or even into the 20s can give you even greater peace of mind, allowing you to enjoy the incredible benefits of a spa pool, but without the health concerns and associated worry.
Can a spa pool harm my baby during pregnancy?
Normal body temperature is 36C-37C. During pregnancy your body temperature should never rise above 39C, which is a very high and risky number for anyone, pregnant or otherwise, and can lead to hospitalisation and severe health complications. But a 39C body temperature can also be the result of sitting in 40C water for approximately 10 minutes.
Such an unhealthily high body temperature can lead to serious issues with unborn children, particularly during the first trimester. While research on the issue is somewhat limited, a few notable papers have been released over the last couple of decades.
- In this 2006 study it was found that severe exposures to high body temperatures during embryonic and foetal development often result in dire consequences for the unborn child, though it was noted that these consequences depended on the extent of temperature elevation, its duration and the stage of foetal development.
- In 2011 a smaller study pointed specifically to the possible risks associated with using a hot spa pool while pregnant, particularly during that first trimester, revealing “an increased risk of certain birth defect phenotypes, particularly anencephaly and gastroschisis.”
But it’s important to note that these risks only arose when the spa pool temperature went above body temperature. If you keep your spa pool water at 36C or ideally below, it’s far safer than these scary sounding studies might suggest.
How should I use a spa pool while pregnant?
Does a soak in a spa pool still represent an unnecessary risk given the information above? It’s a question that every expectant mother will need to ask themselves. But if the answer is no, and you’re keen to enjoy all the perks of spa pool ownership, there are a number of ways you can ensure that you have a safe soak.
Keep it cool
As mentioned above, spa pool water should never exceed normal body temperature, and for pregnant women, the lower the water temperature the safer it is. All Hot Spring spa pool models feature precise temperature control via easy-to-use digital displays.
If you truly want to cool your water down, even below ambient temperature, the addition of Hot Spring’s CoolZone System will allow you to do just that. A popular feature in areas that experience hot summers, CoolZone technology can drop your spa pool temperature to as low as 15C, which not only keeps you and your baby safe, but also opens up a wealth of cold water immersion and contrast bath (hot/cold) therapy benefits.
Limit your time
If you choose to keep the water in your spa pool relatively warm, try to limit your time in the pool. A soak of 15 minutes or less can give you all the mental and physical benefits of a longer soak, while helping to reduce spa pool-associated pregnancy risks.
By safely soaking in your Hot Spring spa pool, you can:
- Take weight off overloaded muscles and joints, reducing the pain and strain that pregnancy can cause in your back, legs and feet.
- Enjoy soothing massage in key areas of your body, reducing tiredness and even inflammation.
- Better cope with the psychological challenges that can come with pregnancy, such as stress and anxiety.
When used in the right way, a spa pool can be a safe and ultra-helpful tool during pregnancy. But it should be noted that using it in the wrong way can have real and potentially devastating effects. Always consult a medical professional, such as your GP or obstetrician, if you are considering using a spa pool while pregnant.
What are the benefits of using a spa pool during pregnancy?
Using a spa pool during pregnancy can have several benefits for both the mother and the baby. Here are some of the benefits:
1. Stress Relief
Pregnancy can be a stressful time for many women. Using a spa pool can help reduce stress levels and promote relaxation. The warm water and massage jets can help soothe tired muscles and ease tension, helping to reduce stress and anxiety.
2. Improved Circulation
The warm water in a spa pool can help improve circulation, which is important during pregnancy. Improved circulation can help reduce swelling in the feet and legs, which is a common problem during pregnancy.
3. Pain Relief
Many women experience back pain, hip pain, and other aches and pains during pregnancy. Using a spa pool can help relieve these symptoms by reducing pressure on the joints and muscles. The massage jets can also help to relieve tension and promote relaxation.
4. Better Sleep
Many pregnant women struggle to get a good night's sleep. Using a spa pool before bedtime can help promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. The warm water can help soothe the body and mind, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
5. Bonding Time
Using a spa pool with a partner or friend can be a great way to bond and spend quality time together before the baby arrives. It can also be a fun and relaxing way to celebrate the pregnancy and enjoy some time together.
Overall, using a spa pool during pregnancy can have many benefits. However, it is important to take precautions and consult with a healthcare professional before using a spa pool while pregnant.
When should I avoid using a spa pool during pregnancy?
Pregnancy is a delicate period, and expectant mothers must take extra care to protect themselves and their unborn child. Spa pools are a popular way to relax and unwind, but they can be risky for pregnant women when used incorrectly.
Does having medical conditions prevent me from using a spa pool during pregnancy?
Pregnant women with certain medical conditions may be advised to avoid using spa pools. These conditions include high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia. Women with a history of premature labour or miscarriage may also be advised to avoid using spa pools.