Health & Wellbeing Pregnancy

Heating Pads While Pregnant: What You Need To Know

Heating pads are a fantastic way to relieve aches and pains all over the body, particularly in your back, hips and joints.

So a common question from expecting moms is can I use them while pregnant?

The good news is yes, if you are looking for some temporary pain relief, heating pads are indeed safe to use during pregnancy.

However, there are some precautions you should take, such as not applying it directly to your skin, and ensuring you don’t use one for longer than 10-20 minutes per session.

Can You Use a Heating Pad While Pregnant?

Many women wonder if they can use heating pads during pregnancy, because heat can provide temporary and instant relief from back pain, joint pain and muscle cramps.

According to health experts, using a heating pad while pregnant is safe, as long as you do not raise your body temperature too much.

Other safety considerations include:

  • Do not use one while sleeping or overnight, because in this scenario you may not notice your body temperature rising.
  • Do not apply directly to your skin.
  • Use the lowest heat setting possible.
  • Only use a heating pad for a short amount of time – some experts recommend you don’t use them for longer than 20 minutes, while others advise you stop after only 10 minutes of use.

So in general, (and similar to bathing in hot vs warm water), provided the heating pad does not raise your core body temperature too much, using one should be safe during pregnancy.

But if you are in doubt about how long to use one or want some advise that is tailored to your specific pregnancy, it may be a good idea to ask your midwife or doctor.

Can I Use A Heating Pad During Pregnancy For Back Pain?

Expectant Mother Rubbing Her Pregnant Belly

One of the most common areas in which pregnant women experience pain is in their back, which is somewhere that I personally experienced the most discomfort during my pregnancy.

This is often caused by the increased weight you are carrying and changes in your posture.

If you are looking to alleviate lower back pain using heat during your pregnancy, you will be pleased to hear that for most women and in most situations, it is safe to use a heating pad to treat back pain while pregnant.

You should of course follow the safety advice above, such as limiting the usage time and wrapping the pad in a thin blanket or using it on top of your clothes rather than applying the heating device directly on to your skin.

Are Heating Pad Safe To Use Dring The First Trimester?

There is no hard evidence to suggest heating pads are unsafe during your first trimester.

However, some experts recommend limiting their use during the first trimester because this is the riskiest time to raise your body temperature.

You may also want to think about using a hot water bottle or microwave heat pack instead during the first trimester (more on these shortly).

Can I use A Heating Pad During My Third Trimester?

Yes, provided you limit usage to 10-20 minutes per session and follow the safety advice above, then it’s generally fine for pregnant women to use a heating pads during the second and third trimester.

Can You Use A Microwave Heat Pack While Pregnant?

Yes, microwave heat packs are considered to be safe for pregnant women to use.

As with hot water bottles, a microwave heat pack will naturally cool down after a while, so using them could potentially lower the risk of overheating compared to an electric heating pad, which will consistently maintain its temperature for however long it’s turned on.

A Woman Having a Back Pain

Can I Use A Hot Water Bottle While Pregnant?

Hot water bottles are considered to be safe to use during pregnant, and are a great way to soothe aches and pains in your body.

Again, hot water bottles are potentially safer than, because they cool down naturally after a while (unlike an electric heating pad), and because their surface area is typically smaller.

Some safety precautions to remember when using a hot water bottle during your pregnancy include not pressing the bottle too hard against your stomach, not applying the bottle directly to your skin, and using water that is not boiling hot.

Do Heating Pads Cause Birth Defects?

It’s fairly well known that an increase in body temperature could potentially harm an unborn baby, so some pregnant women may understandably wonder if using a heating pad can cause a birth defect.

The key thing to consider is that it takes a significant increase in temperature to cause birth abnormalities, so as long as the pad does not raise your core body temperature, it should be safe to use.

And to reiterate, you should never use one overnight or while sleeping, and only use a heating pad for short periods, such as 10-20 minutes or less.

Related: Your Complete Guide To A Happy & Healthy Pregnancy

Tori is mama to 3 year old Isabella and co-founder of Rockinbaby. She has a BSc in Psychology, is a certified yoga teacher and is a working mom. In her free time Tori loves cooking delicious foods and baked treats, entertaining and working out. Learn more about Tori here.

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