Pregnancy is a time when you undergo many changes physically. The bulging tummy, the increased body weight and the swollen legs can all lead to back pain, muscle strain and soreness. A heating pad sounds like the best idea to relax your sore muscles, but is it a safe idea? Read on.
Is It Safe To Use A Heating Pad During Pregnancy?
Yes, as long as you use it only in moderation and for a short duration of time.
If you have back pain, or strain around your pelvic region or even muscle cramps, then heating pad will give you some temporary relief to the pain and discomfort. The heat, when penetrated deep into the muscle tissue, will open up blood vessels, resulting in more blood flow to the muscles. This will help release stress and relaxes the muscles. However, if you are pregnant, you need to consider several factors before you use a heating pad.
Safety Tips For Using A Heating Pad While Pregnant
Usually, pregnant women are asked not to use any treatment that will result in prolonged exposure to heat. This is because wellness treatments like saunas or hot tubs will increase your body’s core temperature and this, in turn, increases the risk of miscarriage and birth defects. Heating pad, while a heating technique, does not increase core body temperature like saunas or hot tubs. So it is relatively safer to use. However, bear in mind the following points:
- Never use heating pad on belly: Using it on your back, pelvis, arms, joints and legs are ok. However, refrain from using a heating pad on your pregnant belly, even if you experience ligament pain and stiffness on your abdomen
- Do not apply directly on skin: Make sure you do not put the heating pad directly on the skin. Cover the area of application with a towel or a cloth and apply the heating pad on top of this. This will ensure that the skin does not get burnt
- Watch the time: Make sure not to use the heating pad for a prolonged period of time, usually not more than 20 minutes. 15- 20 minutes are adequate for you to get quick relief from muscle sores and aches
- Watch the temperature: If you are using an electric heating pad with temperature control, always opt for a smaller temperature that gives you comfort than a higher temperature. Remember you don’t want to get overheated
- Stay awake: If you have bad muscle cramps, then you might be tempted to use the heating pad and fall asleep when the muscles feel comforted. This should be avoided as without realizing you can overheat yourself
When Is Heating Pad Used During Pregnancy?
Heating pads are considered as a much better option for pain relief than pain medications, especially during pregnancy when you do not want to load yourself with unwanted chemicals. Pregnancy, as we mentioned before, can itself lead to many kinds of muscle pains and spasms. This is because of the following reasons:
- Changing hormones: You know this already. As a pregnant woman, your body is like an ever-changing circus act of hormones. The changing hormonal levels will loosen your joints and soften your ligaments as your body prepares for the delivery. This can result in muscle pains
- Bulging tummy: As your tummy grows bigger, the center of gravity of your body gets shifted. This will change your posture. And a change in posture can result in back pain and leg muscle cramps
- Increasing weight: Another major physical change is your increasing body weight. Again, your back and legs need to support this increased body weight, which will result in the straining of both these body parts
Is It Safe To Use A Heating Pad On My Pregnant Belly?
To get temporarily relief from pains in your joints, back or hips it is ok to use heating pad. But avoid using it on your abdomen. It can be a potential threat to your baby. Pain in your tummy area during pregnancy can be due to various reasons like round ligament pain, gas, bloating, constipation or it could be a symptom of a more serious condition. Consult your doctor immediately if you experience any kind of discomfort or pain in your abdomen along with any of the following symptoms:
- spotting or bleeding
- Chills and fever
- vaginal discharge
- pain while urinating
- nausea and vomiting
Instead of using a heating pad, you can try and get relief from minor abdominal discomfort or pain by taking in a warm bath or by changing positions i.e. if you are sitting, you can recline and if you are standing then you can sit.
We all know housing baby is tough work. So when you are pregnant, even normal activities, such as standing for long, sitting for long or even lying down in the same posture for a prolonged time can all put pressure on limps, joints and back. This is the reason why 50 percent of pregnant women complain about muscle spasms at least once during pregnancy.
If you are suffering, use a good heating pad, by all means. That said, remember our tips before using one. Use a lower temperature, use it for a shorter period of time, do not fall asleep and never use it on the pregnant belly.
Have a safe and happy pregnancy!