Pregnancy: Hot Tub and Sauna Use

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Raising your core body temperature is called hyperthermia. It can harm your developing baby (fetus). It's most harmful during the early weeks when the organs are forming. Experts don't forbid hot tub or sauna use. But they do advise caution.footnote 1

Hyperthermia during the first weeks of pregnancy has been linked to neural tube defects.footnote 2 So pregnant women are advised to treat a high fever with acetaminophen. They should also avoid other causes of hyperthermia.

If you use a hot tub or sauna, be careful. The tub or sauna should not be so hot that you are uncomfortable. And limit how long you sit in the hot tub or sauna. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggest using a sauna for no more than 15 minutes and using a hot tub for no more than 10 minutes. To help keep from getting too warm in a hot tub, sit with your arms and chest above the water.footnote 1



  1. American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2007). Antepartum care. In Guidelines for Perinatal Care, 6th ed., pp. 83–137. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.
  2. Cunningham FG, et al. (2010). Prenatal diagnosis and fetal therapy. In Williams Obstetrics, 23rd ed., pp. 287–311. New York: McGraw-Hill Medical.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

Current as ofOctober 2, 2015