Maybe you already love steam rooms as part of your post-workout routine or a semi-annual trip to the day spa. Or maybe you’ve never tried one but are looking for a pampering experience during pregnancy.
So, is it safe to use a steam room when pregnant?
It’s important to note that not all steam rooms are created equal.
Some may be set hotter or cooler than others, which makes answering this question slightly tricky.
But, as ever, when it comes to staying safe during pregnancy, it’s generally best to err on the side of caution, even if it means giving up your favorite things once in a while.
So let’s take a hot minute to go through all things about using a steam room while pregnant — and why it’s best not to.
Is steam room safe during pregnancy?
Generally speaking, no. It’s recommended to avoid using steam rooms, saunas, or hot tubs while pregnant to avoid increasing your body temperature to a dangerous level.
Most steam rooms are kept at 110 degrees F, which is dangerous for pregnant women.
In some cases, if the steam room is set to a lower-than-usual temperature, you may be able to use it for a short amount of time, but this can still come with risks.
Ask your doctor before using any steam room, even one set at a lower temperature.
What happens when you steam while pregnant?
Using a steam room increases your core body temperature. It may feel wonderful, but if you’re expecting, it can come with some complications.
When your body temperature increases, the vessels near the skins’ surface dilate, which promotes sweating to help get rid of the excess body heat.
Your heart has to work extra hard to pump blood to the skin to do this, which can be dangerous when you’re pregnant.
During pregnancy, your heart and circulatory system are already working overtime, pumping extra blood around your body and the developing fetus.
Placing this extra strain on yourself can lead to feeling unwell, can be really serious if you have any underlying heart issues, and can even impact the healthy development of your unborn baby.
What are the risks of using a steam room when pregnant?
There are various risks associated with using a steam room when pregnant, all related to your rapidly increased core body temperature.
Being pregnant and having a body temperature of 101°F (38.3°C) or above can be concerning for various reasons.
Having a high temperature while pregnant may put you at increased risk of:
- A drop in blood pressure.
Not only that, but specifically in the first trimester of pregnancy, a high body temperature can be a danger to your growing fetus.
Your unborn baby cannot regulate its own temperature, or tolerate high temperatures.
During the first 12 weeks, they’re going through a period of critical growth, and high temperatures can cause brain or spinal cord development issues, often referred to as neural tube defects.
At any time of pregnancy, enduring high temperatures in settings such as steam rooms or specific exercise forms like Bikram yoga (sometimes called hot yoga) should generally be avoided.
Is steam inhalation safe during pregnancy?
Yes. Steam inhalation, where your body is at a normal room temperature, is safe during pregnancy.
It can be used as relief for nasal congestion when you may want to avoid certain medicated decongestants.
As always, if you’re unsure of the safety of any activity or medication that was part of your routine before becoming pregnant, it’s best to speak with your doctor for personalized and specific advice.
And we promise you can get back to soaking up that steamy goodness in no time once your baby is safely earthside.
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