Are saunas, hot tubs, and tanning booths safe during pregnancy?

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One of the questions we get from expectant mothers is “Are saunas, hot tubs, and tanning booths safe during pregnancy?” We here at The Birthing Center of NY are all about looking and feeling good but pregnancy is not the time to indulge in any of these temperature raising activities. Let’s take a closer at why.

Saunas and Hot Tubs During Pregnancy

Boy do we know all about the aches and pains of pregnancy! We have pregnant moms come to our offices all the time complaining about pain in their lower back. That is the number one spot for pain in most moms! A session in a sauna or a hot tub sounds like a great idea but unfortunately it is not. At least not while you’re pregnant.

You see, the heat from the hot water will raise your body temperature to levels that are dangerous for your developing baby. An overly hot body temperature can cause hyperthermia. A body temperature of 101 degrees Fahrenheit and above can increase the risk of birth defects. This is especially true during the first trimester. There is also a risk of you becoming dizzy or passing out. Need to relax or relieve some pain?  Try using the breathing exercises that you will use during labor. This is a great way to practice these and become familiar with them. They will become second nature to you and will make your labor experience a lot smoother. You can also try taking a warm bath or getting a massage.

Hot Yoga and Pregnancy

Just…no…(see above)


The ban on tanning while pregnant is not just confined to tanning booths but also to tanning – period! Of any kind. During pregnancy, your body makes an excess of all kinds of hormones which can cause reactions to the sun that you never had before. Some women burn easier or even develop an allergic reaction to the sun. Others get what is called a pregnancy mask. This is when areas of your nose, cheese and forehead develop a dark pigmentation. Additionally, a tanning bed/booth will raise your body temperature which as we discussed earlier, is not good for your growing baby. As if these are not enough reasons, there is also a risk of dehydration and developing melanoma (a form of skin cancer).

Melanoma just happens to be one of the few cancers that can cross the placenta wall and hurt your baby. Learn more about your placenta by clicking here.

If you need some color during pregnancy, try using a sunless tanning lotion – an oil, cream or foam is fine. Stay away from spray tanning when pregnant however because you inhale the chemicals in these sprays and they may not be safe for you or your baby.