Doctors generally say it is not safe to use a hot tub while pregnant. They recommend against their use during your entire pregnancy.
Throughout pregnancy, women are more likely to faint, and the risk of fainting can be exacerbated by hot tubs. Hot tubs can cause your blood vessels to dilate and pool in your lower body as you stand up.
But aside from the risk of fainting or falling down, is it safe to use a hot tub while pregnant? During your first trimester, an elevated core body temperature could increase your risk of certain birth defects. Shorter lengths of time in hot tubs, set at lower temperatures, may be safe.
During labor, tubs can be a great source of pain relief. It can only be truly safe to use a hot tub while pregnant if you are sitting on the edge and dangling your feet in the relaxing waters.
However, we recommend against giving birth in the water due to a concern for possible neonatal aspiration (baby breathing in water).
Louise E. Wilkins-Haug, MD, Ph.D., is the Division Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine and Reproductive Genetics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Sarah Elizabeth Little, MD, MPH, is a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.