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Can You Use a Heating Pad While Pregnant on Back

Updated on July 22, 2015
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Trained in dentistry, Sree is currently studying lab sciences. She enjoys researching various health topics and writing about her findings.

Many pregnant women experience back pains, especially in the latter part of their pregnancy. Since you are not allowed to take any kinds of medications at this point without the approval of your doctor, it is important to find out about your options on how to deal with the problem.

For back pain, more and more women are seeking relief by using a heating pad while pregnant. This tool emits heat that manages the pain of the body. After applying the tool on the affected part of the body, the warmth causes the blood vessels to expand. This will help the blood flow smoothly and in the process, alleviates the pain.

Your options for a heating pad while pregnant include the hot water bottle, electrical and chemical.

Can You Use a Heating Pad While Pregnant for back pain?
Can You Use a Heating Pad While Pregnant for back pain? | Source

The electrical type has to be used with extreme caution. It is best if you will skip this option as a heating pad for back while pregnant. This is typically used by professional therapists who can manage the tool with full attention. This is originally intended for the treatment of deep tissues. When using this at home, you have to make sure that it has extra protection against overheating.

The chemical pads are disposable and are easy to use. You can choose this as a heating pad while pregnant on back pains and other muscle sores. The pad is designed to keep certain chemicals in different compartments. When the pad is squeezed, the chemicals are mixed and the heat is produced in the process.

The chemical pad can be reused. To do this, place it in a boiling water for 15 minutes. Leave it in a room temperature before triggering its heat.

If you are still asking the question, is it okay to use a heating pad while pregnant, then you can choose to use the safest form of the pad, which is the water bottle. This is the most familiar type and you can improvise on this one. You only need to fill a container with hot water and put it on the affected part of the body when you deem that you can tolerate the heat. You can also get the microwavable pad. It is made from a thick fabric with a good insulator and contains buckwheat, flax seeds or wheat. You can opt to drop essential oils to the fabric before you heat it. This way, the heat will work on your back pain while you enjoy the aroma it exudes.

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Back Pain During Pregnancy

Can you use a heating pad while pregnant? Yes, but be careful with the type that you choose to use. Back pain is an indication that your baby is growing and becoming heavier. Many pregnant women start experiencing this problem at the beginning of the second half of their pregnancy. There are also some women who already have issues with their backs earlier than usual.

These are the usual causes why pregnant women are prone to back pain:

  1. Heavier weight - Your spine supports your weight. When you gain around 20 to 35 pounds, the spine has to deal with the added weight. Aside from this, the blood vessels and the nerves in your back and pelvis are trying to adjust to the pressure from the uterus as your baby becomes bigger.
  2. Hormonal changes - While you are pregnant, your system produces relaxin. This is a kind of hormone that cause the ligaments in the pelvic area to relax. When this happens, the joints become loose. This is your body's way of preparing for the birth of your baby. Relaxin also causes the ligaments that serve as support to your spine to loosen. This leads to pain and makes it hard for you to retain your balance.
  3. Changes in your posture - No matter how conscious you are with your body's posture, there will come a time when you will no longer notice that you are tending spend more time leaning forward. This is the point when the bump is becoming heavier. This puts a lot of strain on your back. Whenever you notice that you are shifting forward, always adjust your posture. This is your way of helping your back to manage your weight.
  4. Stress - Pregnancy causes a lot of emotional stress. You can't help but to undergo a lot of emotional dilemmas even without any reasons. This is also due to the hormonal changes that your body is going through. This may also happen as you observe the physical changes that are happening to your body. You are also anticipating the birth of your baby. You can't help but spend a lot of time thinking about many things that you can't control. As a result, the back pain is triggered by the stress that you allow yourself to go through.
  5. Separation of the muscle - Using heating pad while pregnant can help in giving your body relief as it experiences this phase. The uterus expands as the baby grows. There are two parallel sheets of muscles that separate when this happens. These muscles start from the rib cage and run along the pubic bone. As the separation becomes wider, the pain in your back becomes worse.

Using Heating Pad During Early Pregnancy
Using Heating Pad During Early Pregnancy | Source

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Aside from using a heating pad during early pregnancy

You have other options to deal with the pain on your back until you have given birth. You can choose from the following home remedies to help in solving our dilemma:

  1. Find the right exercises intended for pregnant women. You have to be careful in choosing the movements. Your condition requires you to perform limited movements. You would not want to risk the life of the baby in your womb.
    The right exercises will boost the flexibility and strength of your muscles. When done on a regular basis, your spine will be relieved from stress. You have to listen intently to your body. Do not proceed with your daily exercises if you are not in the mood to do it. Your body will dictate if it is okay to perform the exercises or it prefers to rest.
    Some samples of exercises that will benefit your body and the development of the baby in your womb include swimming, walking and stationary cycling. If you are prone to back pain even when you were still not pregnant, it is best to ask your doctor about the kinds of exercises that will not worsen your condition.
  2. While it is common to use a heating pad during early pregnancy, you can also opt to use a cold compress. You can create your own cold compress by putting pieces of ice into a cloth or towel. You can also choose to use frozen vegetables or fruits. You only need to apply the cold compress on the affected part of your body at least 20 minutes for each session. Perform this several times a day for as long as you feel that it is necessary. You have to remember this point in using a cold or hot compress – never place the material anywhere near your abdomen. The tools are generally safe when used on the back, but can pose health threats, especially to your baby, if you will use these on your tummy.
  3. Always make it a habit to watch your body's posture. Do not put any more pressure to your spine, which can lead to worse back pain. Make sure that you have a good posture no matter what you are doing. Retain a good body posture while walking, sitting and even as you sleep.

When you sleep, the best position is to roll to the side and put a pillow in between your knees. This kind of posture will relieve the stress from your back. You will wake up feeling good and without the usual body aches that you experience when you sleep in other positions.

Can I use a heating pad while pregnant? It is generally safe to use this tool even in the latter part of your pregnancy. You just need to make sure that the temperature is tolerable and do not use the tool longer than usual within a session. Each application has to be limited up to 20 minutes or less.

Is it okay to use a heating pad while pregnant?
Is it okay to use a heating pad while pregnant? | Source

If you are still nervous despite the go signal, you can opt to use the pads indirectly. For example, you can warm the bed using the heating pad before you sleep. Make sure that you remove the pad and you have turned it off before you lay down. You must also test if you are comfortable with the bed's temperature. You cannot risk your pregnancy just because the pain in your back is becoming intolerable. You must always think about the baby first before anything else, including yourself.

The most typical way of using the pad indirectly is by wrapping it in a towel or a blanket. This will subdue and allow the heat to spread out evenly. This way, you won't get terrified at the thoughts of the heat causing any risks to your baby.


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