Doctors generally recommend that you avoid using hot tubs while you are pregnant. During your first trimester, an elevated core body temperature could increase your risk of certain birth defects. Throughout pregnancy, women are more likely to faint, and the risk of fainting can be exacerbate by hot tubs, which can cause your blood vessels to dilate and pool in your lower body as you stand up. However, 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. We recommend against giving birth in the water, however, due to a concern for possible neonatal aspiration.
Louise E. Wilkins-Haug, MD, PhD, 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.