Heating Pad During Pregnancy – To Use or Not?
Pregnancy results in sore muscles and spasms, which is worse in the first trimester, and affects the quality of your life. A growing belly leads to lower back pain and hip pain, thus bringing a need for a natural pain relief remedy for pregnant women. Medication is best avoided and home remedies are often the recommended option. One easy home remedy is a heating pad. It is well known that too much heat affects the baby in the belly and heating pads counteract this with moderated temperatures and are safe to be used by pregnant women. Heating pads relieve the pain through the dilation of blood vessels, thus supplying a rich store of oxygen and nutrients to other parts of the body.
Heating pad relieves sore spots and muscle stiffness during pregnancy and do not raise your core body temperature, thus heating up only one area of the body and leaving your baby unaffected.
Is Using Heating Pad Safe While Pregnant?
Moderate heat doesn’t harm the baby and does not affect your overall body temperature, thus making heating pads safe to use during pregnancy. However, sauna and hot baths must be avoided during pregnancy since they raise the core body temperature which leads to birth defects and miscarriages.
When to Use a Heat Pack
A heating pad for lower back pain during pregnancy is commonly used for getting instant relief from muscle cramps. You may use a heating pad for pregnancy cramps and incorporate the use of hot and cold therapy by switching heat packs with ice packs back and forth to relieve inflammation, muscle aches, and pain in areas with affected blood vessels. Ice packs prevent blood clots while the heat packs promote adequate blood circulation to the affected areas. Switching provides the right balance of temperature for quick relief
Should You Use a Heating Pad on a Pregnant Belly?
No! While heating pads are ideal for use as substitutes for unwanted chemicals and over-the-counter medications they should not be placed directly on the belly. Avoid placing a heating pad directly on a pregnant belly as it can expose your baby to heat directly and may contribute to birth defects.
Pregnancy leads to muscle cramps and spasms and heat packs provide a natural relief from the pain and discomfort, temporarily. Heating pads may be used on pregnant belly provided the temperature is set to below 100 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid affecting the baby. Ideally, placing a towel between the skin and the heat pad will prevent burning the skin due to the heat and lessen the impact, thus making it safe for use.
When to Avoid Heating Pads
Heating pads must be avoided and not be used for any longer than 10 to 15 minutes a session and no more beyond a maximum of 20 minutes. If your core body temperature is already high, please avoid using them. When in doubt, speak to your healthcare provider about it.
Other Safe Substitutes for Heat Packs
Although heating pads beat the pain only an indirect use of heating pads is recommended. There are other safe substitutes for using heat packs for expecting mothers. These are the following alternatives:
- Taking a lukewarm bath (not hot) followed by a massage near the affected areas
- Taking prescription Acetaminophen with doctor’s approval helps relieve the pain
- Using a heat sock that has been warmed gently in a microwave that cools with time to prevent skin burns
- Pain management techniques related to breathing and others as recommended by doctors and nurses
- Ask your doctor to prescribe certain natural medications or supplements for pregnancy pain relief
- Eat healthy, walk daily, and practice good posture to accommodate the baby’s weight and reduce pain during pregnancies.
Safety Tips to Use Heat Pads
While using heat pads there are some precautions that one needs to take. Some of the safety tips are as follows:
- Do not use heat pads for longer than 20 minutes a session. 10 minutes is the recommended duration for using heat pads with a temperature of below 102 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Avoid placing heat pads directly on top of your belly and only place them in other affected areas like the neck and different muscle regions.
- Consider using the lowest heat setting and avoid the highest setting to prevent raising the body temperature too much.
- Wrap them in a wet blanket or towel for the indirect use of heating pads on your belly, and then place it on top of affected areas to avoid direct contact of the heat with your skin. This makes it safer on your affected areas as well as for your baby.
- If you do place the heat pads on your belly, make sure the temperature is set to below 100 degrees Fahrenheit as a precautionary measure and use no more beyond 10 to 15 minute intervals.
- Avoid using heat pads during pregnancy if you experience persistent abdominal or back pain and consult your doctor immediately.
- Do not use heat packs for chronic pain and alternate with ice packs for detoxifying blood vessels and promoting healing.
- Avoid falling asleep and stay awake when applying heating pads on your belly since they may lead to overheating if not applied with care.
Heat packs are an integral part of pregnancy, and truly relieve pain and promote instant relief when used effectively at the right intervals. For muscle aches and back pains, you may explore the use of body massage in conjunction with heat packs to properly reap the benefits. A little heat won’t harm your baby but too much is fatal, so do make sure you keep the heat at the right level. If you’re wondering about if can you use heat patches when pregnant, the temperature will answer your question and the sweet spot is below 100 degrees Fahrenheit for mothers in their first trimester. Heat packs make your pregnancy comfortable and turn your trimesters into a breeze when used with care and precision. Consult your doctor or concerned medical department immediately if you experience round ligament pain, bloating, constipation, or pain in the abdominal region when using heating pads on your lower back or belly.
Also Read: Using Massage Chairs during Pregnancy – Is It Safe?