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Is it safe to use a heating pad while pregnant?

Pregnancy can be a truly magical time in a woman’s life. Watching the body change as the baby develops is such a unique experience, but as amazing as it can be, it can also be uncomfortable. Any person who has ever been pregnant knows that pregnancy isn’t all sunshine and roses. As the pregnancy progresses so too does the discomfort. From backaches to sore feet, sciatica to insomnia, pregnancy can be hard on a person’s body. For many, a heating pad provides some much-needed relief from aches and pains, but many women wonder if it is safe to use a heating pad while pregnant. Heating pads and pregnancy can be an understandable concern.

While heating pads often provide much-needed pain relief, many pregnant women are hesitant to use them out of fear the heat they produce may harm their baby. Fortunately, using a heating pad while pregnant can be very safe as long as you do so carefully and take proper precautions.

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Why would you need it?

During pregnancy, there is a lot of stress on a person’s body. As the belly grows so too does the strain on the back, legs, and feet as well as any number of other discomforts that may arise. Using a heating pad is an economical and convenient way to provide some relief from some of those annoying aches that many pregnant women suffer through. There are however a few precautions one should exercise to safely use a heating pad while pregnant.

Is it safe to use a heating pad while pregnant?

The short answer to this question is yes, it’s safe to use a heating pad while pregnant as long as you follow some guidelines. Many women are concerned about using any kind of heat while they’re expecting because of the fear of raising their internal body temperature. Most women know they should avoid hot tubs and saunas for more than 10 minutes at a time, especially in their first trimester, because of the risk of increasing the body’s core temperature, Babycenter reports. Increased body temperature can pose a threat to the health of the baby and in some cases increase the risk of miscarriage. Heating pads, when used safely, pose no risk of increasing a woman’s internal body temperature.

Nurse-midwife Shawna Pochan told The Bump that if using a heating pad while pregnant, make sure the temperature is set below 100 degrees F and is used just for short periods of time. “I’d suggest using a heating pad during pregnancy for no more than 10 to 15 minutes, and take the normal precautions: Don’t fall asleep with it on and make sure the wiring is safe.”

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Mykola Sosiukin / Getty Images

What kind of heating pad to use

Electric heating pads are safe to use during pregnancy, but chemical heating pads that attach directly to a person’s skin, are not recommended, warns Maryland State Doulas. The reason for this is because there’s no way to tell how these pads will react on a pregnant woman’s skin. Pregnancy causes hormone fluctuations and many changes in the body, so there’s no telling if a chemical heating pad may cause a skin reaction. It’s safest to stick with traditional heating pads or hot water bottles for pain relief.

An economical solution

Heating pads are not only safe for pregnant women but they’re also an economical solution for all those pregnancy aches and pains. Not everyone can afford to see a massage therapist when their back or feet are sore, which makes heating pads a great option. Heating pads come in a variety of sizes and shapes and can run you as little as $15.  The average price tends to be between $25 and $60 and the nice thing about them is they aren’t limited to simply being used during pregnancy.

When not to use a heating pad

Using a heating pad while pregnant is generally safe, but there are some instances that they should be avoided. Most experts suggest refraining from using a heating pad directly on the belly, while others suggest placing a towel between the skin and the heating pad to add extra protection. Medical News Today does advise pregnant women to stop using a heating pad if they notice a change in the baby’s movement or behaviors, to only use one source of heat at a time, and “anyone who is bleeding or leaking amniotic fluid should not use a heating pad unless they get permission from a healthcare professional.”

Although pregnancy can be uncomfortable and sometimes even painful, there are safe and affordable ways to help alleviate that pain. A heating pad is a great way for pregnant women to provide some relief from the typical aches and pains that come with growing a human. If you’re concerned about using a heating pad or any pain you may be experiencing you should always consult your doctor.

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