Going through pregnancy can be a nerve-wracking experience. Your body changes, your hormones can be all over the place, and you might have trouble keeping up with what you are still allowed to do and what you should avoid.
Everything from the food you consume throughout pregnancy to the kind of activities you participate in can positively or negatively affect your body and the baby you'll be giving birth to soon. For instance, it's recommended that pregnant individuals avoid consuming items like raw fish, processed meat, and raw sprouts.
One of the activities that many people regularly enjoy is spending time in a sauna. However, while pregnant, you likely want to be sure that this hobby won't cause any harm to yourself or your child. This applies even though enjoying a sauna might seem tempting to help with all the aches and pains you are experiencing.
Are Saunas Safe During Pregnancy?
There are several concerns to think about before you use a sauna during your pregnancy. However, that doesn't mean that you should avoid it. It simply means you need to remain educated about saunas and their effects.
For instance, one concern around saunas is dehydration. This can be an issue during pregnancy, even for people who never use saunas. However, if dehydration is already something you are struggling with, the sauna might not be the best place for you to spend time.
Fainting can also occur in saunas due to the high heat, especially when you aren't drinking enough water. For a person who is pregnant, fainting can be bad for your unborn baby. It could lead to complications that you don't want to introduce to your healthy child.
In addition, heat exhaustion is possible when using a sauna. This concern comes in tandem with the ones we've already mentioned. Saunas heat you up and if you stay in them too long, it can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke, be the cause of fainting, and make you dehydrated.
Consult Your Physician
The best thing you can do if you want to enjoy a sauna while pregnant is talk to your doctor. A medical professional can give you insight into whether this is an activity that is safe for you. Every person is different so you need to be sure about what is appropriate for you specifically.
In most cases, the doctor will recommend avoiding the sauna, at least in the first trimester. After that, it often isn't recommended since exposure to heat may cause complications like miscarriages, congenital disabilities, or injury to the brain and spinal cord.
If you choose to use a sauna, you want to make sure you set it at the right temperature. Overheating can cause your baby's body temperature to rise, which can affect the child's development. The best option is to lower the temperature to at least 102 degrees Fahrenheit and spend only 10 to 15 minutes in the sauna.
You should also make sure that another adult is present with you in case you need assistance. Make sure that you leave the sauna if you feel faint or dizzy, experience an irregular heartbeat or rapid pulse, have stomach pain, or feel tingling in the hands or feet.
Alternative Pain Relief Options
Since not everyone can use a sauna during pregnancy, you might wonder what alternatives are available. One of the best options is red light therapy (RLT). It's becoming increasingly popular among consumers and medical experts due to its high degree of safety.
Red light therapy is capable of helping with the pains and aches of pregnancy but is considered safer than using a sauna. In addition to assisting with physical pain, one study shows that red light therapy can also help with depression.
Bright white light treatment provided over five weeks showed an improvement in depression compared to a placebo light. In addition, light therapy, which is cost-effective and straightforward, helps with depression with minimal side effects for the pregnant individual and no risk for the unborn child.
If you are looking for another method to help with pain, nausea, and vomiting during pregnancy, consider the following:
- Acupressure – Involves firm finger or thumb massage on specific areas of the body to reduce pain and other frustrating symptoms.
- Acupuncture – Similar to acupressure but uses thin needles to stimulate specific points on the body.
- Aromatherapy – Used for inhalation or topical use to help with uncomfortable symptoms like muscle aches and nausea.
- Chiropractic Medicine – Involves physical manipulation by a professional who realigns the spine and other joints of your body.
- Exercise – Exercise can help lower delivery and pregnancy complications, boost your mood, ease pain, improve sleep, and lower blood pressure.
- Hydrotherapy – Involves the use of warm water to help reduce the discomfort of pregnancy and is recommended at temperatures below 95 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or less.
- Massage Therapy – Massage therapy from a professional or a partner can help relieve headaches, heartburn, backache, and sciatica.
- Meditation – Visualization and meditation help cope with the emotional and physical stresses of pregnancy.
- Reflexology – Involves pressure applied to areas like the hands and feet to help with fatigue, nausea, backache, constipation, and other symptoms.
If a sauna isn't an option during pregnancy, there are other solutions. RLT and other therapies can help you manage all the side effects that you are dealing with. Talk to a doctor to make sure any activities you choose are safe for your situation.
Closing Thoughts on Using a Sauna While Pregnant
Some pregnant people can use saunas, but it's essential to be sure you have your doctor's permission. Since there are potential side effects to using a sauna, it isn't suitable for everyone. However, red light therapy is a safer option that offers the same benefits that anyone can participate in.
Sun Home Saunas offers red light therapy systems for use during pregnancy. We also provide top-of-the-line saunas for those who choose to use them during pregnancy or after your child has been born. Please take a look at all our products or get information about your options by calling 1-844-728-6200.