Can You Use An Infrared Sauna While Pregnant?

Medically reviewed by Dr. Justin Ternes
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A baby is on the way! That’s great news, but now’s the time to be more cautious. Remember, it’s not just you anymore — you have one more person to protect. That means you have to avoid certain activities until after delivery. Now the question is: Is it possible to use an infrared sauna while pregnant?

It’s better to avoid using an infrared sauna while pregnant. Exposing your baby to extreme heat from a sauna may lead to complications, and is an unnecessary risk. They can also cause you to experience dehydration and dizziness. If you have to use a sauna, don’t stay for more than 10-20 minutes.

Although you might not be able to use a sauna while pregnant, the good news is that they’re highly recommended for new mothers. So let’s look at why you should stay away from the sauna while pregnant and why it’s the best place to be after delivery.

What Is an Infrared Sauna?

There are several kinds of saunas, and each generates heat in its own way. From traditional saunas to dry saunas and infrared saunas, all these are great and are proven to provide anyone who uses them with several health benefits.

One type of sauna that’s getting quite popular these days is the infrared sauna, and that’s because it provides more benefits than a traditional sauna. While traditional saunas heat the air around you, infrared saunas use infrared lamps to heat up your body directly.

This sauna operates on a lower temperature than a traditional one, typically between 120°F and 140°F as against the regular 150°F and 180°F. Also, an infrared sauna releases only about 20% heat into the atmosphere while the remaining 80% goes into the body.

This means that the heat from an infrared sauna penetrates the body more deeply and allows users to have a more intense sweating session even at a lower temperature. Due to the low temperature, you can stay in the heated room longer than you would in a traditional sauna.

Is It Safe to Use an Infrared Sauna During Pregnancy?

When you’re pregnant, you need to be very careful about the activities you partake in, since you have not just yourself to worry about but also your baby.

There’s no doubt that soaking up the heat from an infrared sauna could help relieve some discomforts like backaches while you’re pregnant, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t at the risk of some adverse effects.

The major concern of using a sauna during pregnancy is the constant exposure to extreme heat. While the heat may be the status quo for you, especially if you regularly visit a sauna, the same can’t be said for the baby in your womb. Babies can’t regulate their body temperature when they’re in the uterus.

For this reason, they can’t tolerate extreme sauna heat. According to experts, babies exposed to excessive heat, either from a sauna or other sources, can suffer from brain or spinal cord complications in the first trimester.

The heat can also be an issue for the mother. Pregnant women have to deal with dehydration and dizziness throughout pregnancy. This feeling can intensify if you stay too long in a sauna.

Extreme heat from a sauna can reduce the flow of blood to essential organs in the body, and this might cause you to faint. You wouldn’t want this to happen, especially when you’re alone in the sauna.

For all these reasons, you might want to avoid a sauna until after you’ve had your baby. You can take a warm bath or go swimming instead if you want to destress.

What if I Have to Use the Sauna?

If you still decide to use a sauna in any case, you can practice some safety precautions to ensure that you don’t put yourself or your baby at risk.

The first and most important thing is not to stay too long in a sauna. All saunas aren’t the same, and they are heated differently. An infrared sauna doesn’t heat up as high as a traditional sauna.

It’s best practice, though, to stay no more than 10 minutes in the sauna. If you want to push it, 15 minutes should be the maximum.

While in the sauna, pay attention to what’s going on in your body. If at any point you begin to feel nauseous or uncomfortable, that’s your cue to leave the steamy room. Find somewhere cool to stay in to get your body temperature back to normal, and drink lots of water to avoid dehydration.

It’s also great to have a companion with you whenever you’re going to the sauna. In case of an emergency, you need someone close by who can provide immediate assistance.

Most importantly, consult your physician before deciding if it’s right for you to go to an infrared sauna. Medical advice can go a long way in providing you with all the guidance and peace of mind that you need.

Can Saunas Cause Miscarriage?

As we’ve mentioned, exposing yourself to extreme heat from a sauna when you’re pregnant can be risky, especially for your baby. Babies exposed to such heat, particularly in the first trimester, can suffer from brain or spinal cord complications.

It’s also possible for the extreme heat from a sauna to cause miscarriages, but the research is ongoing.

You may not be at risk of losing your baby, but it’s better to avoid the sauna altogether to protect yourself and your unborn child from other apparent risks.

Benefits of Using a Sauna Postpartum

It might be risky to visit a sauna when you’re pregnant, but it’s a great place to be postpartum. Your body has been through a lot. Now it’s time for you and your body to recover from all the hard work, and an infrared sauna is just what the doctor ordered.

These are some reasons why a visit to an infrared sauna should be part of your postpartum plans:

  1. It helps with bloating: Many new mothers experience bloating in their hands and feet after delivery. This is due to excess water weight in the body. Staying in an infrared sauna helps get rid of the excess water in the body and deal with bloating.
  2. It helps detoxify the body: An infrared sauna is a great way to eliminate whatever toxin or chemical is left in your body, including treatments like narcotics and epidurals that might have been injected into your body during delivery.
  3. It boosts metabolism: The heat from an infrared sauna increases circulation in your body, which, in turn, increases metabolism. This will help you shed pregnancy weight and look almost like you were never pregnant. Set an appointment for multiple sauna sessions to get the best out of the weight loss benefits.
  4. It helps reduce joint pain: After delivery, you might still experience back and joint pains from the long months of carrying your baby. You can reduce these pains by going to the sauna.
  5. Relaxation time: Delivery is just the start of being a mother — and the difficulties don’t disappear after birth. At some point, you might feel exhausted and even suffer from hormonal fluctuations. Going to the sauna is one way to get away from postpartum stress and just enjoy some quality time with yourself.