Is it safe to use a heating pad while pregnant? Read what experts say about it.
Heating pads are non-invasive heat therapy tools, designed to relieve muscle pain. For pregnant women, pain in the lower back can be more than a nuisance, and heat therapy can provide some much-needed relief in that area.
However, pregnant women are advised to avoid temperature-raising activities like using saunas and hot tubs, so the question is: are heating pads safe to use while you're pregnant? Luckily, we won’t be adding heating pads to the long list of things you need to avoid during pregnancy and they can be safely used to relieve muscle pain.
You must use heating pads safely during pregnancy. To understand how heating pads can help you during pregnancy and how to use them safely, keep reading!
All You Need To Know About Heating Pads During Pregnancy
Let's begin by discussing the various uses for a heating pad and whether they are safe for the little bundle of joy stowed away in your belly.
What Are Heating Pads Used For?
Using a heating pad can help you to relieve any pain you are experiencing in your joints, muscles, and soft tissues. Heating pads work by increasing the blood flow to an affected area, which helps to relax muscles, reduce stiffness in joints, and reduce tension. You can also use heating pads to relieve muscle spasms.
Are Heating Pads Safe For The Baby?
Most pregnant women suffer from some pain in both the lower back and the belly. There is no evidence to suggest that using a heating pad on the belly and lower back for brief periods during pregnancy, is dangerous for the baby's health. However, extended application of heat to these areas may cause an increase in body temperature that could be dangerous, so keep your usage of the heating pad to a maximum of 10 minutes in the affected area.
Benefits Of Using Heating Pads During Pregnancy
Many women experience bodily discomfort during pregnancy. Some of the issues women frequently encounter during pregnancy include:
- Pelvic pain
- Lower back pain
- Abdominal pain
There are many reasons why women suffer from these aches and pains during pregnancy, but the main reasons include:
- Hormonal changes - the hormones released during pregnancy cause joints to loosen and ligaments to soften, resulting in joint pain.
- Shifting center of gravity - with a significant amount of new weight in the stomach area, a woman's center of gravity changes during pregnancy, leading to discomfort as your body struggles to support this new weight.
- Poor posture - it may be difficult for pregnant women to retain good posture during pregnancy, leading to tension in the back caused by this.
Since pregnant women cannot use heat therapy such as saunas and hot tubs while pregnant, using heating pads while pregnant is an excellent alternative.
These symptoms, caused by body changes during pregnancy, can all be mitigated and lessened with a heating pad. This leads to the added benefit of making pregnant women feel more comfortable in their bodies and also improving their mental wellness. Heating pads provide the following benefits for pregnant women:
- Improving circulation
- Reducing pain in the muscles and joints
- Providing temporary relief from muscle spasms.
Using Heating Pads Safely
To gain relief offered by electric heating pads, pregnant women must ensure they use the heating pads safely to avoid causing any harm to either themselves or their babies. This guide is designed to instruct you on how to use a heating pad without incurring any negative consequences. You should research more information on the potential risks of heat therapy to spot any contraindications of using the device.
Don't Use The Heating Pads Directly On Your Skin
A heating pad will get hot very quickly, which means they can cause injury to your skin. Instead of applying the heating pad directly to the skin, wrap it in a towel first. Wrapping the heating pad in a towel will eliminate the possibility of damaging your skin.
Use The Heating Pads For A Short Amount Of Time
Raising your body temperature while pregnant can be dangerous for the baby, particularly during the first trimester. For this reason, experts suggest that you avoid using a heating pad during the first trimester. When using an electric heating pad while pregnant, limit your use to short periods of around 10 minutes. This will prevent you from raising your body temperature, leading to potential congenital disabilities in the fetus. You should avoid using a heating pad whilst in bed as if you fall asleep while using a heating pad, this can raise your core body temperature while you sleep.
Set The Temperature As Low As Possible
To avoid raising your core body temperature too much, set the temperature of your heating pad to as low as possible. Test it out on the lowest setting, and increase the temperature slowly to find your preference. Having the heating pad on the highest setting can burn your skin with extended use, so it's best to stick to the lowest setting.
The Bluzen Deluxe Heating Pad offers 3 timer level settings and 10 temperature settings to encourage and facilitate the safe application of heat therapy. The device’s safety features allow you to relax your muscles and to provide pain relief to your body without any fear of overheating.
Avoid Putting The Heating Pads On Your Belly
Although you may suffer from abdominal pain caused by gas, bloating, constipation, and round ligament pain, you should avoid using a heating pad on your stomach while pregnant. This is because heating pads can mask any abdominal pain that may indicate a more significant issue. There are many safe alternatives you can use to alleviate abdominal pain during pregnancy, and we will explore these momentarily.
Alternatives To Heating Pads
If you are suffering from stomach pain or do not have a heating pad, there are some alternatives you can use to reduce your pregnancy-related aches.
Do Exercise And Stay Safe
Exercises like yoga and stretching can be beneficial to alleviate muscle pain and stimulate bowel movements during pregnancy, and are perfectly safe (so long as you stick to pregnancy-approved positions). Physical activity can help to strengthen the back muscles too, helping the spine support the added strain caused by pregnancy.
Get A Relaxing Massage
If you are suffering from gas, constipation, abdominal pain, or back pain, a relaxing massage can relieve you. A gentle massage can help release the tension stored in different parts of the body during pregnancy.
Get An Acupuncture Session
Acupuncture can be used to provide pain relief for tension and discomfort in the body during pregnancy. So long as you let your acupuncturist know you're pregnant, acupuncture is generally safe during pregnancy.
Pregnancy is tough on your body, and women need access to all of the pain relief tools available at their disposal. You can use a heating pad safely during pregnancy in small amounts and on safe spots on the body. Now you know how to use a heating pad safely, you can use your heating pad while pregnant to reduce strain and relax areas in your body.
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