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Pregnancy: Hot Tub and Sauna Use

Topic Overview

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 linked to 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

References

Citations

  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.
  2. Cunningham FG, et al. (2010). Prenatal diagnosis and fetal therapy. In Williams Obstetrics, 23rd ed., pp. 287–311. New York: McGraw-Hill Medical.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised July 23, 2012

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