Are heating pads safe during pregnancy
Every pregnant woman knows that aches and pains during this special time (no matter which trimester) can have an impact on the quality of life. Therefore, a pregnant woman needs to maintain control and balance in her life. Her growing belly can cause discomfort. It is noticeable especially when the body pains start in your lower back, legs, and hips. Luckily you can use a heating pad on your back during your pregnancy to ease the pain. These problems can easily be treated by using heating pads for any type of body pain. Heat acts as a soothing tool for tense muscles and offers temporary relief. Moreover, the right heating pad provides comfort and warms your body up. However, it is still wise to consult your physician. Discuss these issues during your next prenatal appointment to get additional advice and instructions.
Remember: air quality at home is also important when talking about a safe and healthy pregnancy. How can you get pure clean air at home? An air purifier will help you with that. If you have some doubts about the safety of using air purifiers while pregnant, read our article ‘Are air purifiers safe for your health’.
How does heat therapy work
Heat therapy is popular throughout the world. The way heating pads work is quite simple. Heat opens the blood vessels, as a result, the blood flow increases. A dose of oxygen and nutrients is delivered to the muscles. This helps reduce joint pain and the soreness of the muscles. The warmth of the electric heating pad will improve the range of motion over time. It decreases muscle spasms too. In fact, it is an effective method of pain relief during pregnancy. A heating pad won’t increase the core temperature of your body. Hence, there is no problem with using such a pad to relieve aches and pains while you are pregnant.
Why is a heating pad used
Due to the growing baby, a pregnant woman’s back, hips, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments experience additional stress. According to several research studies, heating pads are a common and safe way to reduce stress and get rid of any body pain during pregnancy, labor, and even childbirth. The blood vessels open up in response to heat, which increases blood flow. This results in fresh blood mixing with nutrients and oxygen quickly getting to places where it’s needed the most to ease the pain. Heat therapy and a heating pad are extremely safe and effective.
How can pregnant women use a heating pad
Heating pads for back and body pains are completely safe to use during pregnancy. But you definitely need to remember to apply a heating pad safely in order to prevent raising your overall body temperature. Increasing your body temperature using several heating pads all at once could cause developmental issues in your growing baby.
Take care when using a heating pad on a regular basis. The heating pad is an electrical device. Therefore, use it with caution and supervision. Always unplug the heating pad after use and do not use it while you are sleeping, enjoy heat therapy before bedtime. Continuous exposure could cause burns and can affect the baby. Electric heating pads are also unsafe for children to use, so it is of utmost importance that you store your device away from children’s reach.
Quick tips for using a heating pad safely
A heating pad is a good option for temporary relief from pain in your back or pelvis, or for muscle and stomach cramps. Unlike a hot tub or a sauna, the usage of heating pads on isolated parts of your body won’t raise your core body temperature. These quick tips will help you to stay safe during pregnancy:
- Never apply the heating pad directly on the skin. Wrap it in a thin towel or use the pad over your clothing. Alternatively, use a moist heating pad to keep the skin from drying out.
- Avoid falling asleep while using the heating pad. Or try to find an electric heating pad with an auto-shutoff option.
- Use lower temperature settings while you are pregnant. If you use the highest one, heating pads can cause skin burns or increase your body temperature too much.
- Don’t apply the heat for more than 20 minutes at a stretch.
- Use regular or electric heating pads while you are pregnant.
- If you are worried about direct contact with the heating pad, place it under the blanket and keep it on until the bed warms up. Remove it before you go to bed.
- Do not use any topical creams along with the pad as they may contain heat-producing agents and could cause skin burns.
Remember: it is extremely important to boost your immune system. To get more information about health during pregnancy, read our article ‘How to survive this cold and flu season during pregnancy’.
When should you avoid heating pads
You should avoid using heating pads when you have an open wound or if the area is numb. If you have a fever, flu, and high temperature, you shouldn’t use a heating pad! It will increase illness symptoms and body temperature, which makes everything worse. Do not use any salve, liniment or ointments along with the pad as they may contain heat-producing agents and could cause skin burns.
The best safe alternatives to heating pads
If you are concerned about using heating pads or do not get any relief from them, you can try safer alternatives. Here are a few of them:
- Cold compresses can help you get rid of pain and any type of discomfort.
- A gentle massage loosens the tensed muscles, which relieves the pain and tension.
- Maternity support belts will also remove the pressure on the back.
- Deep breathing and other relaxation exercises could help to cope with muscle tension and stress.
- Stretches and yoga can prevent muscle stiffness and alleviate pain. Plus, you will be flexible, strong and happy 🙂
- Warm baths are highly relaxing and refreshing. They give you relief from pains and aches. NOTE: enjoy a warm, but not a HOT bath!
Heating pads and pregnancy
A huge number of all pregnant women experience muscle cramps at some point. While most of them happen in the legs, they can also occur in the back, abdomen, and even in the hands and feet. A heating pad can give you relief if the pain is not severe. However, make sure you are not overheating the area or overusing the pad. Use it with caution to avoid any problems.