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Raising your core body temperature (hyperthermia) can harm your
fetus, particularly during the early weeks of organ development. While experts
don't forbid hot tub or sauna use, they do advise caution.1
Hyperthermia during the first weeks of fetal development has been
neural tube defects.2
So pregnant women are advised to treat a high fever with acetaminophen
and to avoid other causes of hyperthermia.
There is no firmly established temperature or length of exposure that
is considered safe during pregnancy. If you use a hot tub or sauna during
pregnancy, be conservative. Avoid uncomfortably high temperatures, and limit
your exposure. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggest sauna use of no more than 15 minutes
and hot tub use of no more than 10 minutes. To help keep your body temperature
down in a hot tub, sit with your arms and upper torso above the water.1
American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2007). Antepartum care. In Guidelines for Perinatal Care, 6th ed., pp. 83–137. Elk Grove
Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.
Cunningham FG, et al. (2010). Prenatal diagnosis and
fetal therapy. In Williams Obstetrics, 23rd ed., pp.
287–311. New York: McGraw-Hill Medical.
July 23, 2012
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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