Pregnancy brings in with it many muscle and joint pains which cause a lot of discomfort for her. Heating pads can be used for such pains as long as they do not raise the temperature too much. Some people worry about using heating pads during pregnancy because it can harm the baby. But heat can be used safely with some caution.
Reasons of pelvic pain and back pain
- Hormones- Certain pregnancy hormones cause the joints and ligaments to loose and back is not well supported
- Increased weight of the mother can cause back pain
- Posture- Due to change of shape, posture is poor and sitting or standing for long can give you back pain and hip pain
- Centre of gravity is shifted causing discomfort.
Precautions while using heat therapy during pregnancy
- Heating pads should be used for brief periods like 10 minutes or less
- Core temperature should not rise
- Set it at the lowest temperature setting
- Do not use heating pads while sleeping or overnight
- It is safe to use on back, hip and pelvic area
- Don’t use in first trimester
- Stop it if you feel too hot, overheated or sweaty
- If you feel increased or decreased fetal movements then stop it
- Avoid hot tub, sauna or steam
- If you are bleeding or leaking then don’t use heat
- Don’t apply directly to the skin. Wrap it in a towel and at lowest setting
- Give breaks in between so that body has time to cool down in between heating episodes
- Use on a localised area
- Turn it off before going to sleep
- Don’t use directly on abdomen
Heat therapy dilates blood vessels and increase the blood flow to the area bringing oxygen and nutrients to the area which can reduce joint pains, sore muscles, tendon and ligament discomfort. Warmth also decreases muscular pain and increases motion in the area.
So heat is a very good method to reduce back pain during pregnancy when it is used with precautions.