Pregnancy can cause you ache, and soreness in the joints, and muscles in the body, especially in abdomen, hand, back, and feet. This generally happens in the 3rd trimester as weight of the uterus increase, and ligaments begins to shift. Use of a heating pad comforts your body and gives a relief from pain. It feels wonderful. But is it safe in your pregnancy?
In this article, we will discuss about the safety of a heating pad, and the advantages, and dangers associated with it. We will also find it out more about pain relief options that can be used in pregnancy.
What is a heating pad used for during pregnancy?
Heat promotes healing of minor injuries, increase blood circulation, reduce pain in muscle spasms, enhance mobility in stiff muscles, and provide temporary relief from pain. A heating pad helps in easing any pain in your joints, and the muscles, without raising the temperature of the woman too much. It is generally fine to use it for short time periods. It is better, and safer than pain reliever medicines.
Using ice, or heat packs are one of the common ways to treat joint, and muscular pain. These methods are not addictive, and noninvasive. Recurring pain in back, joints, and hips with the progression of pregnancy should be cured with heat.
How heat therapy works?
Heat therapy opens up the blood vessels in the body. It increases the flow of blood in the body, and bring fresh supply of nutrients, and oxygen. This aids in lowering joint pain, as well as easing soreness in tendons, ligaments, and muscles.
The warmth that you receive from application of heat pack increases the range of motion, and reducing muscle spasms. It is a good method to get pain relief in pregnancy.
Reasons to experience ache in the body
Back, and pelvic pain in pregnancy can be due to the below reasons:
- Increase in hormone levels that makes your ligaments soft and joints to loosen up. This may not provide good support to your back. This leads to painful, and uncomfortable back region.
- As the uterus enlarges to effectively accommodate the growing baby, it can result in change in the center of gravity.
- Increased weight can put more pressure on your back. Due to this reason you experience back ache.
- In the course to adjust to new shape, your body gets into a poor posture. Sitting, and standing for extended time periods can worsen your state, and result in soreness in hips, and back region.
- Involuntary muscle spasms become can be painful.
Is it safe to use a heating pad while pregnant?
There has been a common belief in women, that heating pads in pregnancy can increase their body temperature. This, in turn, can increase the body temperature of the fetus and can lead to birth abnormalities.
Doctors believe that heating pads are safe to be used till that they do not lead to an increase in core body’s temperature, and any discomfort due to it. Many doctors recommend that application of low heat in the form of heating pads to be ideal for reducing hip, back, or pelvic region pain.
Follow the below guidelines at the time of using a heating pad in pregnancy:
- Do not apply this device directly on the skin. The right way to use it to cover it up with a thin towel and keep it on the painful region, or keep it on your clothes.
- Keep it at the lowest temperature setting. It will make you feel comfortable.
- Don’t use it for more than ten minutes.
- Restrict its use in the 1st trimester as it is the most dangerous time to increase the temperature of the body.
- If its use, makes your body very hot, or make you sweat, then stop using it all together.
- If you find that your baby’s movement is increasing or reducing, then stop its use.
- Avoid hot tubs, sauna bath, or very hot shower as a pain relief method.
- If you are bleeding or amniotic fluid is leaking out from your body, then don’t use heating pads.
Other options for pain relief
In addition to heating pads, there are a few more treatments that can give you quick, and safe relief from pain. These are meditation, gentle stretching, soothing massage, mindfulness, deep breathing, and acupuncture. All these methods can help in loosening tense muscles and reduce tension, and pain in the body.
Everyone’s pregnancy is different. Anyone who thinks about using heat relief sources to get rid of pain need to talk to a doctor first. A few women may have risk factors, like a risk of preterm labor, increased body temperature etc. that can make heating pads unsafe. But in general sense, a heating pad offers quick, and safe relief from the pain, and aches in pregnancy.