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How to Use a Hot Water Bottle In Pregnancy Safely

Parents want to know if it is safe to use a hot water bottle in pregnancy. Some call it a heating bottle, hot bottle, warm water bottle, or hot water bags, but essentially all refer to the same thing – a hot water bottle for pain relief in pregnancy. 

As the body grows and changes during pregnancy, aches and pains such as round ligament pain, uterine/pregnancy cramps, back pain, and muscle aches become more frequent. Using a hot water bottle in pregnancy is a wonderful option for pain relief when done safely.

What is a Hot Water Bottle?

A hot water bottle is a thick, durable bag, sealed with a plug, that safely contains hot water for warmth and to aid in natural pain relief all over the pregnant body.

Is It Safe to Use a Hot Water Bottle In Pregnancy?

Pregnant women are told to avoid hot baths, hot showers, saunas, and hot tubs to avoid harming their unborn baby. When a pregnant person’s core body temperature increases, so does baby’s, but unlike mom, baby doesn’t have a way to cool itself down. When an unborn baby gets too hot it may show signs of distress, such as an elevated heart rate.

A hot water bottle targets heat to painful areas on the pregnant body for instant relief, without increasing the core body temperature, making it a safe option for pain relief. Yes, a hot water bottle is a safe, effective, and soothing method for pain relief in pregnancy.

Hot Water Bottle Safety Tips

Hot water bottles can be used safely in pregnancy through all trimesters up to the due date, and even in labor. Use the following hot water bag tips for best results.

How to Use a Hot Water Bottle Safely in Pregnancy

  • Use boiled water instead of tap water to kill any bacteria in the water
  • An electric kettle works well
  • Do not put boiling water in a hot water bottle
  • Boil water, then cool 3 or more minutes before filling
  • Fill hot water bottle 2/3rds full
  • Remove air from hot water bottle and cap/plug tightly
  • Never put hot water bottle directly on skin, use a cover or clothing
  • Never put a hot water bottle in the microwave
  • If it feels too hot on the skin, it’s too hot!
electric kettle pouring hot water into a red, rubber hot water bottle

Can I Use a Hot Water Bottle on My Stomach When Pregnant?

A hot water bottle can be safely used directly on the stomach in pregnancy. A hot water bottle on the pregnant stomach is not hot enough to harm a fetus. If a hot water bottle in pregnancy is somehow hot enough to harm a fetus, the mother will also be harmed/burned.

A hot water bottle is also safe to use for second trimester round ligament pain, and third trimester muscle cramps and backache. As long as as a pregnant person’s is not burning their skin, using a hot water bottle in pregnancy is safe.

Can I Use a Heat Pack on My Stomach When Pregnant?

A heat pack is a small pack that is activated when squeezed and shaken before use. These are also known as heat packs and can be bought at a local pharmacy.

A heat pack can be safely used directly on the belly when pregnant.

Just like when using a hot water bottle, there is a risk of burning the skin if it is too hot. Wrap the hot pack in clothing, bedding, or a towel and leave it on for a maximum of 20 minutes. It should feel comfortable and soothing.

How Hot Is Too Hot Water While Pregnant?

When taking a bath or using a hot tub in pregnancy, water should not be warmer than 100°, however, a hot water bottle can be up to 120°, as targeted heat on the body part affects the body much differently than total hot water submersion. 3rd trimester baths and labor birthing tubs should also be kept warm, and not hot, never exceeding much over 100°.

The Best Hot Water Bottle for Pregnancy

Hot water bags have come a long way over the years with different colors, shapes, and covers. Me? I prefer the traditional rubber hot water bottle.

Traditional: Classic Red Hot Water Bottle

Parents can’t go wrong with the classic, red rubber hot water bottle. It’s inexpensive and hardworking. Just make sure you put something between it and your skin, like a cover, blanket, or clothing.

Classic Red Rubber Hot Water Bottle
$14.11

This is the hot water bottle we grew up with and that you can find at your local drug store.

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02/22/2024 07:05 am GMT

Fun: Colored, Transparent, with Cover

Parents like this hot water bottle because of the many color combinations with the bag and the knitted cover. Also, this is transparent, making it easy to fill it only 2/3rds the way full.

Hot Water Bottle with Knitted Cover, Pink
$9.99

A more festive take on the classic hot water bottle. This one is transparent, helping to see how full the water bag is. Comes with a cover.

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02/22/2024 07:35 am GMT

Non-Toxic: BPA Free, Odorless

Looking for a hot water bottle with less chemicals? Check this one out.

Hot Water Bottle with Soft Cover, BPA Free & Dark Green
$6.99 ($6.99 / Count)

This hot water bottle is made of high quality PVC material, non-toxic, and odorless. BPA free.

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02/22/2024 07:21 am GMT

Long: Long Hot Water Bottle w/Cover

A long hot water bottle covers more of the body than a traditional water bag. Try this to soothe legs after a middle of the night Charlie horse extravaganza.

Long, Rubber Hot Water Bottle w/Soft Knit Cover
$20.99 ($20.99 / Count)

A long hot water bottle allows more heat therapy coverage on the body than a traditional size.

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02/22/2024 07:25 am GMT

Alternatives to a Hot Water Bottle in Pregnancy

Looking for alternatives to a hot water bottle for the aches and pains of pregnancy? Here are some other safe options.

Heating Pad

A heating pad works similarly to a hot water bottle in pregnancy, but without water and a plug. Make sure to use the “low” setting, and always use the cover, to keep mom and baby safe. Here are more tips for using a heating pad in pregnancy.

Rice Sock

If you don’t have a hot water bottle or heating pad, a simple solution is to DIY a rice sock. A rice sock is a quick and easy way to provide heat therapy without having to buy a thing. Many women use rice socks in the third trimester as they get closer to their due dates to cope with hip pain, back pain, and cramps, but also in labor.

  1. Use a longer tube sock, prefereably a men’s sock
  2. Fill the sock with rice, 2/3rds the way full
  3. Tie the sock opening in a knot tightly to ensure rice doesn’t spill
  4. Heat the rice sock in the microwave for 2-3 minutes
  5. Place the rice sock on the body as you would a hot water bottle

Massage

If a hot water bottle or heat pad aren’t available, massage is a wonderful way to alleviate the aches and pains of pregnancy, but also increase oxytocin, a feel-good, bonding hormone, from physical touch.

How to Use a Hot Water Bag In Pregnancy, Safely

I hope you have a few more ideas on how to solve the problem of the aching body during pregnancy. A hot water bottle in pregnancy is a safe and effective option provide pain relief all throughout pregnancy.