Hot tubs are an incredible tool for relaxation, and we know all about the benefits of sinking into a hot tub, including pain reduction, inflammation reduction, as well as offering the chance to switch off and relax. All of these things sound appealing if you’re pregnant, soothing aching backs and inflamed joints with all of the changes going on in your body, but how safe is it to use a hot tub when you’re pregnant?

Can you use a hot tub when pregnant?

The general guidance is to exercise caution and care in using hot tubs if you’re pregnant, with the NHS advising that there is very little research to go on. However, there are some factors to consider if you are thinking about taking a dip when you are pregnant. 

Point in pregnancy

The big piece around this is to avoid hot water temperatures in your first trimester of pregnancy. This is because the baby is at a key point of its development, and is most susceptible to developing birth defects or even not making it to the second trimester. This is due to a rise in body temperature, which can occur from being in a hot tub, or even taking a bath that is too hot.

Water temperature

The water temperature, as we mentioned, is the key factor at play here. Hot tubs can be warmed to around 40 Degrees Celsuis, but medical guidance suggests anything above 35 Degrees Celsuis is harmful for pregnancy. If you’re pregnant and planning on using a hot tub, make sure that you turn the water temperature down on your hot tub, and you can sit at the opposite end to the jets for a slightly cooler temperature, too.

Water quality

If you’re soaking in your own hot tub, then you can be sure of the quality of your water. This includes things like regularly changing the water, cleaning the filters, removing scum, and also knowing who you are sharing the water with (it might make you squirm, but it is true!). If you’re using someone else’s hot tub, or using a communal one, then you might want to think about the cleanliness of the water. This is due to bacteria that can build up within the hot tub, which you don’t want to contract while pregnant. 

What are the risks of using a hot tub when pregnant?

If you’re considering using a hot tub while pregnant, then it is important to know about the risks and contraindications so that you can soak safely. 

Risk of overheating

We mentioned the water temperature of a hot tub, and this is because hot water puts your body at risk of overheating, and when you are in an environment like a hot tub, your body cannot sweat as it normally would to cool down. This puts the baby at risk in the first trimester, but hot water above 35 Degrees Celsius should be avoided throughout your pregnancy.

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Dizzy and dehydrated

The heat of the water can also leave you feeling dizzy and lightheaded. This is because the body is pumping the blood to the skin in order to help you cool down, so you get less blood flow to your vital organs and, more notably, to your brain. This gives you this light headed feeling and can bring on dizziness. 

Another consideration is dehydration, for the same reasons above as well as the lack of water coming back into your body. Be sure to keep hydrated and be mindful of how much time you’re spending in the tub.

Birth defects and development issues

Spending time in water that is too hot can cause birth defects and development issues in babies. This is particularly true if you are under 12 weeks pregnant and in your first trimester. 

How can you make using a hot tub safer during pregnancy?

There are a few things you can do to make hot tub use safer during pregnancy, the first thing being to reduce the water temperature. While you might be craving the heat that a hot tub provides, think about the long-term effects for the short-term gain, and surely a bit of time in the tub is preferable at a healthy temperature, than the alternative.

Another thing to consider is less regular use, and for shorter periods of time. While it is common for people to spend up to an hour in a hot tub, you need to look at spending only ten minutes at a time in your hot tub, and taking regular breaks to allow the body to cool off. 

Try to keep your upper body out of the water, soaking only the lower half of the body to prevent you from overheating or becoming too warm too quickly, and make sure you listen to your body being careful not to overdo it. 

Lastly, think about minimising the use your hot tub gets from other people, and ensure that you are changing the water and keeping up with your maintenance schedule to ensure the water is as clean as possible. 


Is it safe to use someone else’s hot tub?

Consider the bacteria and build up in a hot tub that you do not own. If it belongs to friends or family, you can ask when the water was changed and know who has used it, but a hot tub at a spa, for example, you will not have this information and you might not be able to adjust the temperature of the water.

How long should you spend in a hot tub when pregnant?

You should use the hot tub for no more than ten minutes at a time if you are pregnant, and you need to be taking regular breaks and being aware of your own core body temperature.

How long should you wait before getting into a hot tub if you’re pregnant?

You should avoid using the hot tub in your first trimester, as it can be more dangerous for the baby’s development to get in hot water during this time.