Sauna during pregnancy – healthy and relaxing
Pregnant in the sauna. Basically, what is good for the mother is not bad for the child. In our case, this means that if the mother likes to relax in the sauna, it will not harm the child. Quite the contrary. Even during pregnancy, a visit to the sauna is a healthy thing to do. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Taking a sauna is generally healthy
First, only experienced sauna-goers should treat themselves to a sweat bath. If you haven’t been sweating much, you shouldn’t start during pregnancy. However, if you have been taking regular saunas so far, you can continue to do so. However, the attending physician should be asked for advice beforehand. Only he can really say exactly whether nothing stands in the way of a sauna visit in the special case.
Pregnant sauna fans should cut back in any case. Two courses are sufficient completely, in order to savor the positive effects. Cold showers should also be avoided. The risk to the child would simply be too great. But lukewarm water is at least as relaxing. The temperatures should also not be high. Sure, many women love to sweat at 212 °F. For the baby, however, this is not optimal, 140 to 158 °F may be it for experienced sauna fans. A session in the sauna should last on average 8–12 minutes, depending on the temperature.
The most important rule is: If you feel the slightest discomfort, go outside immediately – and consult a doctor. By the way, there is no time restriction. Whether in the first trimester or shortly before birth – pregnant women can always enjoy a sweat bath.
Bio sauna or steam bath
However, if you can no longer tolerate the high temperatures during pregnancy, an alternative is the bio-sauna or steam bath. In the bio-sauna, the humidity is higher at 45% and the temperature between 122 and 140 °F lower than in the Finnish sauna. In the steam bath, the temperature is between 104 and 122 °F and almost 100% humidity. Here, too, it is easy to relax. The high humidity stimulates circulation and blood flow, moistens the respiratory tract and opens the skin pores. However, you should not underestimate the humidity in the steam bath. Especially during pregnancy, too much humidity can severely affect the circulation.
Time to chill
If these rules are followed, however, nothing stands in the way of a relaxing sweat session. It is even very healthy for mother and child. The mother relaxes in the comforting warmth, and the unborn child also has time to chill – and develop in peace. Researchers know that the mother’s stress also affects unborn life. In the worst case, the stress can even lead to developmental disorders. Pregnant women should therefore consciously take plenty of time off. Incidentally, also to gather strength for the time after the birth. It will not be that quiet in the near future.
Health benefits of a sweat bath
For the mother, a relaxed sweat bath also has many health benefits. The alternation of heat and moderate cold is known to stimulate the circulation and the immune system – and thus can effectively prevent diseases. In addition, the muscles relax in the comforting warmth. In this way, expectant mothers can effectively prevent – or, if the worst comes to the worst, counteract – tension. Many mothers who took regular saunas during pregnancy also report that they only had to struggle with back pain on the sidelines.
Sauna visits make childbirth easier
Researchers have recently found that regular sauna visits can even facilitate childbirth. We already mentioned that sweating relaxes the muscles. This effect does not only last for a short time. Those who sauna regularly ensure that their muscles are permanently relaxed – and can be stretched more easily. It is precisely this effect that apparently makes childbirth a little easier.
Can the baby get too warm in the belly?
With moderate saunas, there is no danger to the baby in the abdomen at any time. Prefer the less hot saunas (e.g. bio-sauna or sanarium) or sit on the lower benches where it is less hot. A sauna session should not last longer than 8–12 minutes. However, you should refrain from a sauna infusion. This puts far too much strain on the circulation.
Pregnant women should follow these guidelines when taking a sauna:
- Ask the midwife or her gynecologist if there are any objections to a sauna visit during her pregnancy.
- Listen to physical signals during a sauna session. If you feel unwell or have circulatory problems, stop using the sauna immediately.
- A sauna session should not last longer than 8-12 minutes.
- Do not stand up abruptly from a lying position. In order to stabilize the circulation, sit on the lowest bench for a moment beforehand.
- Preferably, visit only saunas that are less hot, such as a bio-sauna – 140 °F sauna.
- After leaving the sauna, do not take a cold shower or jump into the plunge pool. Cool off in the fresh air for 10 minutes.
- Between sauna sessions, you should take adequate breaks. We recommend at least 20-30 minutes.
- High temperatures as in the Finnish sauna or steam bath should be avoided. This would put too much strain on the circulation.
- Shortly before giving birth, you should refrain from sauna bathing with infusions. Certain infusion aromas could trigger contractions.
When should I not use the sauna?
Pregnant women with the following illnesses should refrain from visiting the sauna:
- High blood pressure
- Kidney disease
- Pronounced varicose veins
- Premature labor
- Gestosis (pregnancy poisoning)
Doctors also strongly advise against sauna use if you have a high-risk pregnancy.
Alternatives to sauna bathing
For those who cannot visit a sauna for health reasons, the following alternatives are available to help you relax.
Yoga – involves breathing exercises and meditation that promote relaxation and relieve stress.
Meditation – puts us in a state of rest. The brain releases serotonin. At the same time, muscles begin to relax, hormone balance regulates, and stress is reduced.
Massages – Massages are used for therapeutic purposes. Nowadays, there is a very wide range of different massage techniques. We have taken a closer look at the most popular types of massages here.
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