Is It Safe To Use A Heating Pad While Pregnant?

Pregnancy is a process filled with growing pains. Your body adjusts to make space for the new life that will call it home for the next nine-plus months, and as a result, you may notice aches and pains that weren't there before. As the uterus expands, aching in the back, abdomen, groin, and thighs is common (per theĀ Department of Health and Human Services). The increased weight of the baby can also put added pressure on the pelvic bone, creating joint pain. New parents-to-be may be filled with questions about which treatment modalities are safe for baby, and which should be avoided until after the baby is born.

A pre-pregnancy you might have responded to a sore back with a nice, long soak in a steaming hot bath, but like many other things, the treatment options available to you change a little during pregnancy. While a warm bath is considered safe during pregnancy, experts advise against sitting in water hotter than 98 degrees Fahrenheit, as high temperatures could cause distress to the fetus (per WebMD). With this information, cautious new parents may be wondering if using a heating pad is also a no-go during pregnancy. Let's find out.

How to use a heating pad while pregnant

Heat works to relieve sore muscles by increasing circulation, preventing muscle spasms, and improving stiffness (per Medical News Today). However, it's important to remember that when you're pregnant, if your body temperature rises, baby's does too. To avoid high internal body temperatures that could be unsafe for a growing baby's constitution, it is advised to avoid hot baths and saunas (Healthline). However, because heating pads allow you to apply heat to isolated areas, using them to relieve pregnancy aches and pains is generally considered safe. To ensure that the applied heat doesn't increase body temperature there are a few precautions you should take.

Baby Center recommends avoiding layering on extra clothes or blankets while employing the use of a heating pad. Applying heat for intervals of 20 minutes also allows you to keep tabs on how much heat you're absorbing. It's important that you stay tuned in to your body, noticing if, at any point, you become too warm. Healthline also notes that a heating pad should never be applied directly to the abdomen. Instead, minor abdominal cramping should be treated with a lukewarm bath or a change in positions.