If you’ve done your mommy-to-be research, you know that heat is bad for the fetus. You’ve been instructed to avoid hot tubs, saunas, steam baths and anything else that might raise the temperature of your fetus. The advice shouldn’t be taken lightly, as the increased heat could, in fact, cause serious damage, especially in the first trimester. Birth defects, premature delivery, and even miscarriage have all been reported when the fetal temperature rises above 103 degrees in the first trimester of pregnancy. The warnings are certainly frightening and have probably kept you out of the Holiday Inn swimming pool (which you should probably avoid anyway), but they can easily make one paranoid if taken into consideration too often. For example, many moms wonder if a hot water bottle will raise their fetal temperature too high. Luckily, it won’t, and hot water bottles are perfectly safe during your pregnancy.

Hot water bottles are an excellent way to relieve the backaches associated with pregnancy. Even the largest over-the-counter hot water bottles aren’t big enough to raise your core temperature, so your fetus won’t even notice the heat. You should always wrap the bottle in a towel before applying it to your skin, but that’s only to protect your own skin. Even if you were to apply a hot water bottle directly to your baby bump because of a muscle ache, your skin would sufficiently protect your fetus from a severe rise in temperature. For your baby’s temperature to be raised to dangerous levels, your own core temperature would need to be raised first. A hot water simply is not capable of doing that.

It is an excellent idea to research every decision you’ll make during your pregnancy, but it’s equally important to check with your doctor before completely ruling out any type of treatment that might help you deal with pain and discomfort. Aches and pains can add to the overall stress of your pregnancy, and stress can negatively affect your baby in other ways. It’s a good idea to stay as pain-free as possible throughout your pregnancy, and if a hot water bottle will help, then talk to your doctor about using one properly. The most important thing to remember is that it cannot raise your core body temperature enough to negatively affect your growing baby no matter what stage of development he or she might be in at the time.

Source: Wing, Laurie. Butterflies and Hiccups: A Guided Pregnancy Journal. New York: Sterling Publishing Co. 2008

Keyword Tags: