In a nutshell
Yes, it’s safe to use a hot water bottle during pregnancy. It’s actually a great way of easing pains and cramps.
The expert’s view
Midwife Anne Richley says, “Using a hot water bottle in pregnancy is absolutely fine. It’s best to use a cover so that you don’t get burnt but this advice applies whether you’re pregnant or not.”
Always use your hot water bottle safely. That means:
- Check your hot water bottles has a safety standard mark on it – the current standard is British Standard BS 1970
- Check your hot water bottle for any signs of splits, perishing rubber or signs of wear and tear. Replace if you see any
- Make sure your close the top firmly before using
- Don’t fill your hottie with boiling water, as this can cause spitting and may lead to your bottle splitting or leaking. Using very hot water is fine
- Don’t overfill it – three-quarters full is the maximum
- Do not lie or sit on your hot water bottle
- Don’t use a hot water bottle when using an electric blanket
Your baby is incredibly well protected in the womb. The womb muscles are exceptionally strong (and in fact only found in women) and are designed to provide your baby with a safe environment in which to grow.
“You’d be amazed at how much protection you baby has inside your tummy, and there are several ‘layers’ between the hot water bottle and baby, so he won’t be affected,” says Anne.
Pains, aches and cramps in your belly while you’re pregnant are normal but can be really painful. Using the heat from a hot water bottle is actually a really good way of encouraging your muscles to relax. A hot water bottle can also be a blessing if you’re suffering from SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction)
But I’ve heard that you shouldn’t get too hot…
Carrying a bump around can make you feel like you’ve got the central heating on inside but it’s only when your internal temperature rises that you need to worry. Sauna and hot tubs are a definite no no and have been associated with spina bifida but a hot water bottle is so small that the heat won’t affect your whole body.
“Heat during pregnancy is only an issue if your core temperature rises significantly,” says Anne. “This wouldn’t happen with a hot water bottle. It’s more likely if you were unwell with a high temperature or if you soaked in an extremely hot bath.”
Mums writing on MadeForMums and our sister site Babyexpert say:
“I’m 20weeks pregnant and still getting period cramps! Consultant said to take Paracetamol, warm baths and hot water bottles.”
“I’ve been suffering with symptoms of SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction) since about 20 weeks. I can recommend using a wheat bag. You can get them at most health stores or places like Boots. Some have lavender in, which can help if you get a headache and can help with sleep too. They just go in the microwave and as long as you don’t over cook them, they will not harm baby.”