Pregnancy 101

Unsolicited Pregnancy Advice, Examined

People love to give pregnant women advice, but their good intentions are often uninformed. Here, experts explain what's true, and what's not.

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Get out of the hot tub! You'll roast your baby!

To some extent, this one is true. Most hot tubs are set somewhere between 100 and 105 degrees, and if you soak in a tub that hot, it may spell trouble. “More than a few minutes in a hot tub can raise maternal core temperature, which is associated with impaired brain development,” says Charles Lockwood, MD, the chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

In addition, pregnancy makes it more likely that a woman would pass out from the heat—also not a good scenario. But what if you’re in a cooler hot tub?

Dr. Lockwood advocates staying out of hot tubs altogether. "If you stay in long enough, even at 98 degrees, it may raise your body temperature."

However, the West Coast doctors I consulted did not share his view. My own doctor has leagues of pregnant patients who have soaked in hot tubs with no ill effect. Keeping both sets of advice in mind, I feel safe finding nirvana drifting around in the backyard Jacuzzi for a few minutes with the temperature set low.

The bottom line: Don’t get overheated. It’s bad for you, and might be bad for the baby. Period.

Next: You're not eating licorice, are you? You're going to go into preterm labor!

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