Heating Pad While Pregnant

When you are pregnant, your belly grows, therefore the body’s center of gravity shifts, and it becomes increasingly difficult to balance the body. This takes toll on your back and legs, and makes them start to ache. Applying a heating pad can sooth these aching muscles. However, before doing this, you should know something more about the heating pad.

Can You Use a Heating Pad While Pregnant?

Yes, a heating pad can be used during pregnancy and it is perfectly safe when used correctly. Although a high body temperature can be harmful for the baby, and hot tubs and saunas are not advised if you are pregnant, this is not the condition with the heating pad. Firstly, the maximum temperature for a heating pad is 170-180°F which is not too much if it is used for less than 20 minutes at a time. Besides, the heating pad is placed locally, so it won't raise the whole body's temperature. For the above reasons, using a heating pad while pregnant is perfectly safe. However, if you have any other concerns, the best thing is to discuss with your doctor or healthcare provider.

How to Use Heating Pads Properly While Pregnant

1.      Use It for Short Periods of Time

It is extremely important to keep the body temperature below 102°F during pregnancy. Using a heating pad rarely raises the body temperature above this value, but to be on the safe side, you'd better use it for no more than twenty minutes. Most of the heating pads also have a cut off timer set at twenty minutes, and this is the right duration to use them without any harm. After one session of use, give your body some time to cool down.

2.      Always Use Lower Temperature Settings

Always start with a low temperature setting. You can increase the temperature but do not put it at maximum while pregnant. Too high temperatures can lead to skin burns and may increase the core temperature of your body too much.

3.      Use on a Specific Area

Identify the spot that has maximum ache and place the heating pad over that area. It is not a good idea to expose large surface areas to excessive heat as it can increase the core temperature of the body significantly. So use the heating pad at one place at a time. You can put it on your back first and after some time place it on your knee.

4.      Do Not Use a Heating Pad During Sleep

Make sure that you do not fall asleep with a heating pad on to avoid burns or body temperature rises. Never go to bed with a heating pad while pregnant in case you fall asleep accidentally, and always make sure that you turn it off and remove it before you go to bed.

5.      Warm Your Bed with It

If you are concerned that using a heating pad may cause harm to you, you can warm your bed with it before going to sleep. Put it between the sheets or under the blanket for twenty minutes and then remove it. By this way, your bed will be warm and you can sleep peacefully. Some people are concerned that these heating pads may emit little amounts of electric current which can be harmful, using it to just warm up the bed also reduces that risk.

6.      Use a Towel or Blanket to Wrap the Heating Pad

If you find the heat from a heating pad too unbearable, you can wrap it up in a towel before using. You can also place a light pillow behind your back and place the heating pad under it while you recline on the bed. Just remember to switch it off after some time to avoid fire accidents.

Safe Alternatives to Heating Pads While Pregnant

If you do not want to use a heating pad while pregnant, you can use any of these methods to ease the aches.

  • Hot water bottle: You can use a hot water bottle to get rid of the aches and pains while pregnant. It gives comfort and does not elevate the core body temperature.
  • Massage: Having a massage can greatly reduce the tension in muscles and provide instant pain relief. You can do it yourself or get help from a professional masseuse. Having a massage also lifts the mood and reduces the levels of stress hormones in the body. 
  • Supporting belts: Backache can be a big problem during pregnancy. You can use a support belt to reduce the stress on your back and therefore relieve the pain.
  • Cold compresses: Cold compresses are also very effective to relieve pain. You can buy a cold pack or can simply take out a bag of frozen vegetables out of the freezer, wrap it in some cloth and place over the aching area for instant relief.