Using Heating Pad During Pregnancy: Benefits, Guidelines
Pregnancy can bring with it muscle pain and soreness, which can be very tiring. Using heating pad can greatly ease your body and muscle pain. Let us understand more about using heating pad in pregnancy, its benefits and guidelines for use.
Generally, pregnant women are advised not to use hot water tub and saunas during pregnancy to avoid health risks. This is because it can increase the body's core temperature that can be harmful for the mother as well as the fetus, increasing the risk of miscarriage or birth defects. However, using heating pad during pregnancy can be safer as they are not that severe and they release moderate amount of heat which is quite safe for the pregnant women. Applying heat pad on a particular area of the body doesn't increase the overall core body temperature. You can use it to ease your lower back pain, muscle aches and soreness.
Using Heating Pad During Pregnancy
Using heating pad during pregnancy is recommended for most muscular pains and cramps, which are common in pregnancy. Most commonly experienced is the pelvic and back pain. However, for specific concerns, it is best to seek medical advice
Some of the commonest reasons of back and pelvic and muscle pain are
- Fluctuations in the Hormonal Levels: Release of certain hormones during pregnancy, causes the skin and muscles to loosen up. This can affect the tendons and ligaments of the joints and back, causing pain in the back and legs. Many women find relief in back pain by using heat pad during pregnancy.
- Increase in the Belly Size: As the womb expands, the back of the body has more weight to support. The muscles in the pelvic region expand to accommodate the growing fetus. This in turn results in soreness and back aches, which can be relieved by using heat pad during pregnancy.
- Compromised posture: During pregnancy the overall posture of the body gets compromised. It takes time to adjust to your new shape. Any kind of exertion during pregnancy can cause pain. Sitting or standing for too long can increase hips and back pain. It is better to recline a little if you have been sitting for too long or sit down if you have been standing. Also, bending over may cause back pain. For minor aches, you may just change your posture. Using heat pad during pregnancy can provide relief from such body aches.
Also, the entire weight of the abdomen falls on the legs. One, therefore, feels heavy on the feet due to the excess pressure and hence results in joint ache in the legs. In severe cases, the ankle may even swell. For this too, using heating pad during pregnancy can offer great relief.
Benefits of Using Heating Pad During Pregnancy
Benefits of using heating pad during pregnancy are many. Heating pads are generally used to treat recurring pains and soreness of muscles and joints. It is non-invasive and is easy to use. Pregnant women can apply heating pad on their backs, sides and joints. It is better to avoid using it on the abdomen as it may harm the fetus growing inside the womb because of the direct heat contact.
Following are the benefits of using heating pads during pregnancy.
- Heating pads work like heat therapy where the heat opens up the blood vessels leading to an increase in the blood flow and supply of oxygen.
- Heat reduces the tightness of muscles by increasing the flow of body fluids. Using heat pads during pregnancy eases muscle soreness and smoothens the functioning of tendons, fibers and ligaments.
- Using heat pads during pregnancy also helps to decrease muscle spasms and helps move them more freely.
It is noted that almost every pregnant woman goes through a certain degree of back ache and muscular pains during pregnancy. So using heating pad during pregnancy is one of the best natural remedies that can be used as pain relievers.
Guidelines for Using Heating Pad during Pregnancy
Heating pads can be electrical or microwaveable. While using heating pads during pregnancy one should follow the guidelines as discussed below:
- Do not apply the heating pad directly onto the skin. It is best to first wrap it up in a thin towel or cloth and then apply on the body.
- Do not apply it for more than 10 minutes on a particular area, when using heating pad during pregnancy.
- Do not apply heating pad directly on the abdomen area.
If there are temperature settings on your heating pad device, then set the temperature at the lowest level, when using heating pad during pregnancy.
Other than heating pads, you can also use hot water bottle or cold compression. You can use heating pads and cold compression alternately. That too helps to get rid of pains sooner.
Many pregnant women are asked not to use heating pads by doctors, especially during the first trimester due to greater risk of miscarriage or particular health concern. Start using heating pads only after consulting with doctor.
While using heating pad during pregnancy is beneficial, if they do not offer any relief or if the pain worsens or remains for long, it is best to consult the doctor immediately. Watch out for warning signs that require immediate medical attention. These include
- Dizziness or vomiting
- Vaginal discharge or spotting
- Pain/burning sensation while urinating
- Fever chills
- Severe muscle cramps and anxiety
Since the posture and weight of the body changes during pregnancy, muscle and joint pains are bound to happen. Although pain relieving medications are available, using heating pad during pregnancy is a natural way to do so. Having said that, the woman should be careful enough while using the heating pad and follow medical advice.