Carrying around a baby bump makes the idea of floating in a spa or bath sound like bliss, but is it still safe to do when you’re expecting?

We have a spa that we use all through summer, and I really want to soak my aching hips in it but hubby is worried that I shouldn’t. What’s the go with spas and baths in pregnancy?

Tammy, Mum’s Grapevine group member

Midwife Andrea Fallon says the concern with spas and baths during pregnancy is all about the water temperature.

A hot topic

“When you immerse yourself in hot water (in a bath or hot tub) your body temperature rises. Usually, this isn’t a problem, however during pregnancy, it can cause a problem for your baby if your core body temperature becomes too high (hyperthermia).

“Hyperthermia in the first six weeks of pregnancy can increase the chance of neural tube defects (such as spina bifida). There is also an increased risk of congenital heart defects and oral clefts if mum experiences hyperthermia in the first trimester (first 12 weeks). When immersed in hot water, your blood pressure can drop making you feel lightheaded and dizzy, increasing the risk of fainting as well as an increase in baby’s heart rate.

“The ideal water temperature is 36-37°C and not more than 37.5°C. If bath water is initially hotter than this it is unlikely to cause an issue, so long as it has cooled down to the ideal temperature within ten minutes. Hot tubs are more problematic, and if used should be done so with caution, as the temperature is maintained at a consistently high level. The general advice is to avoid hot tubs during pregnancy or limit use to less than 10 minutes.”

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