Sauna during pregnancy – when, how and why?


The sauna has long been part of many cultures and is valued for its many health benefits. Relaxation, improved circulation, skin cleansing – these are just some of the benefits that attract people to saunas. However, when you’re pregnant, the rules of the game can change somewhat. Is a sauna safe for mums-to-be? This question has many aspects to consider, and that’s what we’ll be doing in this article.

⚠️ Attention: This article is for information only and is not intended to replace professional medical advice. Every woman is different and pregnancy is a very individual time in a woman’s life. Always consult your doctor or other qualified health professional before making any decisions about your health and the health of your unborn baby. Your safety and that of your baby is paramount.

Is it possible to use the sauna during pregnancy?

The attitude of medicine towards sauna use during pregnancy is not clear-cut and is still controversial. Some studies suggest that the sauna may have some benefits for pregnant women. It has been suggested, for example, that the heat and relaxation of the sauna can help alleviate some of the discomforts associated with pregnancy, such as back pain, muscle tension and stress. In addition, some claim that regular sauna use may even contribute to a smoother pregnancy and delivery.

When can you not use a sauna during pregnancy?

However, despite these potential benefits, many studies and general medical opinion warn against sauna use, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy. This is the time when the baby’s key organs are forming, and too high a body temperature for the mother can potentially lead to complications.

There are also certain conditions that absolutely rule out sauna use for a pregnant woman. First and foremost these are hypertension, severe toxo, and situations where there is a risk of premature termination of pregnancy. In these cases, sauna use is not safe and can contribute to the deterioration of the health of the mother-to-be and the baby.

Who can use the sauna during pregnancy and when?

The decision to use a sauna during pregnancy should always be taken on an individual basis and after consultation with a doctor. It all depends on the woman’s state of health, the course of the pregnancy and her general well-being.

  1. In the second and third trimester of pregnancy: After the first trimester, when the baby’s most important organs are already formed, some women can use the sauna, provided they feel comfortable and have no medical contraindications.
  2. In the case of a healthy pregnancy: If the pregnancy is progressing without complications, some women can use the sauna, but always in moderation and with close monitoring of their well-being.
  3. Women with previous experience: Women who were regular sauna users prior to pregnancy may find it easier to adapt to sauna conditions. However, even in this case, caution and awareness of one’s body are essential.

Remember that what is safe and comfortable for one woman is not always safe and comfortable for another. Regardless of the stage of pregnancy, it is always important to monitor your wellbeing, listen to your body and leave the sauna immediately if you start to feel unwell. Always consult your doctor before making any decision about sauna use during pregnancy.

Advantages of sauna use during pregnancy

Using a sauna during pregnancy can have a number of potential benefits for mothers-to-be, provided it is safe and approved by a doctor. Here are some of the possible benefits:

  1. Training the respiratory and circulatory systems: Sauna sessions can help to adapt and prepare the body for the processes that take place during childbirth, such as training the respiratory system and optimising the functioning of the circulatory system. In addition, it can improve blood flow to the placenta and lower uterine tone.
  2. Stimulation of the immune system: Sauna can offer natural support for the immune system. The use of various essential oils and herbs can further help to prevent and treat various diseases.
  3. Improving ligament and muscle flexibility: Regular visits to the sauna can help mums-to-be increase the flexibility of their ligaments and muscles, which can make childbirth easier.
  4. Support for the nervous system: The heat and relaxation that the sauna brings can help relieve stress and fatigue, which has a beneficial effect on overall wellbeing.
  5. Treatment of gynaecological inflammation: Regular visits to the sauna can improve circulation in the internal organs and help combat inflammation.
  6. Improving blood circulation: Sauna can help improve circulation, which means the foetus receives more oxygen.
  7. Treating swelling: Sauna can stimulate metabolic processes in the body, helping to reduce the swelling that often occurs during pregnancy.
  8. Skin improvement: Sauna use can help to tone the skin and improve its appearance.
  9. Relaxation and mood improvement: the sauna is a place where mothers-to-be can relax, unwind and improve their mood.

Remember, however, that everything depends on each woman’s individual situation and the state of her pregnancy. Any decision to use a sauna during pregnancy should always be made after consulting your doctor.

Rules of sauna use for pregnant women

When using a sauna during pregnancy, it is important to follow certain rules to ensure safety and comfort for yourself and your baby. Here are some key recommendations:

  1. Sauna experience: If you rarely or never visited a sauna before pregnancy, it is better to refrain from saunas during pregnancy, even if your doctor has authorised it. Your body may need time to adjust to sauna conditions, and the adaptation process may be more difficult during pregnancy.
  2. Listen to your body: If you feel insecure or uncomfortable before going to the sauna, it is better to postpone your visit. The sauna should bring relaxation and a positive experience, not stress or anxiety.
  3. Frequency and length of stay: Mothers-to-be should limit sauna visits to once a week. Spend as much time in the sauna itself as you feel necessary, but the time spent in the hot sauna should be as short as possible to avoid hypoxia. Avoid sitting on the upper benches and always wear a special sauna hat.
  4. Avoid sudden changes in temperature: Take a cool shower after the sauna, but avoid immersing yourself in cold water.
  5. Hydration: Sauna leads to a lot of fluid loss, so make sure you drink enough water to stay hydrated. Be careful with herbal teas though.
  6. Hygiene: Follow basic hygiene rules such as wearing your own slippers, towels, toiletries, bath sponge etc.
  7. Aromatherapy: Be aware that some fragrances can be irritating to pregnant women. Avoid strong scents such as wormwood, rue or tuja, and choose mild, natural aromas such as pine, eucalyptus, mint, chamomile, lavender, bergamot, tea tree, citrus, ylang-ylang, or sandalwood.

Remember that these recommendations are general guidelines and every woman is different. Always consult your doctor before using a sauna during pregnancy.

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Since 2011 I have had my own business selling sauna building materials, sauna cookers and sauna accessories. I know all about building a quality sauna!