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Can I Take Long, Hot Showers While I'm Pregnant?

I’ve always loved taking hot showers and soaking in a hot tub. But are these safe now that I’m pregnant?
- Shannon

As relaxing as long, steamy showers or a soak in a hot tub can be when your body is feeling the aches and pains of pregnancy, it's best to avoid becoming overheated. Raising your body temperature above 102°F (38.9°C) increases the risk for birth defects (such as neural tube defects) in the first trimester and dehydration later in the pregnancy.

So try to limit activities that could raise your core temperature too much, including:

  • using saunas or hot tubs
  • taking very hot, long baths or showers
  • becoming overheated when outside in hot weather or when exercising

Instead of hot tubs or saunas, take a dip in a cool pool. Try to stick to warm or only slightly hot baths and showers. And follow your body's cues that you're getting overheated when exercising or enjoying the outdoors. Make sure to drink plenty of cool liquids, and take a break from what you're doing so that you don't get too hot.

If you became overheated in the past, don't worry too much about it. Chances are you removed yourself from the uncomfortable situation before any damage was done.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: October 2012