Can You Use Icy Hot While Pregnant?

Can You Use Icy Hot While Pregnant?

Being pregnant has given a whole new meaning to your understanding of aches and pains.

We hear you, mama!

At times, it feels like everything hurts, and you’d do anything for some relief.

If you’ve used Icy Hot in the past, you may love how it helps soothe pangs, twinges, strains, and sprains.

But by now, you probably know that there are certain medications you can use while you’re pregnant and others — unfortunately — that you can’t.

So, can you use Icy Hot while pregnant?

In this article: 📝

  • Can pregnant women use Icy Hot?
  • Why is there confusion about using Icy Hot while pregnant?
  • Is Icy Hot safe during pregnancy?
  • What can I use for back pain while pregnant?

Can pregnant women use Icy Hot?

There isn’t a clear-cut answer to this.

Unfortunately, not enough research has been done into whether it’s safe, which means that opinion is a bit divided.

Some say that it’s fine to use throughout your pregnancy, but others suggest that you avoid it altogether, “especially from 20 weeks until delivery”, according to embryologist Navya Muralidhar. [1]

The best thing to do is check with your doctor and see what they say. [2]

And don’t worry if they tell you to steer clear.

We’ve got a few other pain relief options that you can try.

Why is there confusion about using Icy Hot while pregnant?

The incriminating ingredient is something called methyl salicylate or wintergreen oil.

This ingredient, together with others like menthol and camphor, gives Icy Hot its distinctive cool-warm feeling.

So what’s so bad about methyl salicylate?

Methyl salicylate is the same kind of ingredient as that found in aspirin.

And aspirin in large quantities is a pregnancy no-no.

Small doses of aspirin are sometimes given to treat certain conditions in pregnancy, like preeclampsia and clotting disorders. [3]

But high doses have been linked to pregnancy loss when taken in the first trimester, and birth differences when taken in the third. [4]

Unless your doctor prescribes aspirin and watches the dosage closely, it’s best to stay away from it.

So what does all this mean for Icy Hot?

Does methyl salicylate act the same way in ointment and cream form?

Is Icy Hot safe during pregnancy?

We’re just not sure — there’s simply not enough research.

Icy Hot does get absorbed into your bloodstream and may pass to baby, but adno studies have been done to assess the safety of the large-scale topical use of methyl salicylate.

But not all formulations of Icy Hot are created equal (weirdly!), which means that some don’t have methyl salicylate as an active ingredient.

The best thing to do is double-check with your doctor to see which formulation, if any, is best for you right now.

What can I use for back pain while pregnant?

If the lack of any certainty makes you feel a little nervous about using Icy Hot, there are other pain-relief options you can try.

  • Prenatal massage. A prenatal massage by someone qualified to work with pregnant women can improve your circulation, help you sleep better and, yes, alleviate that pesky pain. Choose a therapist who is registered with an organization like the American Massage Therapy Association.
  • Check your posture: As Navya explains, “With your expanding belly and pregnancy, your center of gravity is bound to change. Remember to correct your posture at times and not slouch your back, and use supportive chairs for better back support.”.
  • Go for a soak: Very hot baths are unfortunately out while you’re pregnant. But a bath at a moderate temperature is fine — and may do wonders. You can safely add a cup or two of Epsom salts to help make your aches and pains feel better if you like.
  • Hot water bottle, heating pad, or ice pack: Got a twinge? Time to get back to the basics. Navya explains how: “Use heating pads wrapped in towel or cloth to avoid burns and alternate between heating pads and ice packs to help those sore muscles”.
  • Get moving. This may feel counterintuitive, but low-impact activities, like walking, swimming, or prenatal yoga can help you to stretch out those twinges. Listen to your body and only do what feels comfortable.
  • Speak to your doctor about OTC pain relievers. Painkillers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) are generally safe while pregnant, if you take them in moderation. But it’s always best to check in with your doctor first.

During pregnancy, some kind of pain, especially back pain, is totally normal.

But if you’re experiencing severe pain that doesn’t ease up, chat to your doctor.

They’ll be able to tell you if there’s an underlying cause that needs more care and attention.

And speak to them before you use Icy Hot, just to be safe.

We hope you feel better soon, mama.


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