Be Cautious Even If You Just Think You Might Be Pregnant

The experience of sitting in a hot tub or whirlpool may increase the risk of miscarriage in newly pregnant women, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Kaiser Permanente researcher De-Kun Li, MD, PhD, found that women who used hot tubs or Jacuzzis after conception were twice as likely to have a miscarriage as women who did not.

"Based on our findings I would say that women in the early stages of pregnancy -- and those who may have conceived but aren't sure -- might want to play it safe for the first few months and avoid hot tubs or any exposure to hot water that will significantly increase body temperature," says Dr Li. "Although the finding is still preliminary, it is prudent for women to take such precautionary measures to reduce unnecessary risk of miscarriage."

The study, "Hot Tub Use during Pregnancy and the Risk of Miscarriage," found that the miscarriage risk went up with more frequent hot tub or Jacuzzi use and with use in the early stages of a pregnancy. Furthermore, among women who remembered the temperature settings of their hot tubs or Jacuzzis, the study found some indications that the risk of having a miscarriage may increase with higher water temperature settings.

The study was conducted among 1,063 women, and participants were recruited in the study on average at 40 days of gestational age. The information on hot tub or Jacuzzi use was obtained through in-person interviews.

This is the third study on miscarriages released by Kaiser Permanente in the last two years. In August, the British Medical Journal published a study showing the increased risk of miscarriages in women who used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Exposure to high levels of magnetic fields -- especially early in pregnancy -- can also significantly increase a woman's risk of miscarriage, according to research published in Epidemiology in 2002.

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