You might wondering if a microwaveable heat pack is a good option for the aches and pains of pregnancy. First off, YES it can be super helpful and it’s actually my preferred method of heat during pregnancy for a few reasons. BUT you still need to be careful with it — so keep reading!
As a note, I’ve been a nurse since 1997 and I’ve worked in labor and delivery for 20 year so I’m a great resource on this one, but always check with your provider before trying something new….
Oh, and I’d love to hang out with you during your pregnancy:
Is a Microwavable Heat Pack Safe During Pregnancy?
Yes! Somehow people think it’s filled with radiation from the microwave, but that’s not the case at all. I think those people don’t actually understand how a microwave works. You can learn more about them here. It’s not using radiation to warm things, so you can put that aside. You’re also safe to stand by the microwave as you heat your water for tea. 🙂
And most of ALL the food/heat pack does not hold onto anything bad once it’s out.
Which is great news, because a microwavable heat pack is actually my preferred method to use heat during pregnancy for a few reasons….
Reasons to use a microwavable heat pack in pregnancy:
Control the temp: You can easily pick what temperature you want the pack at by heating up for a specific amount of time in the microwave. So, if you just want it “warm” not hot — only do it for a minute or whatever. I think it’s smart to start with small #’s and then move up depending on the heat pack and your microwave.
It cools with time: The pack isn’t going to keep getting hotter as you have it applied, it’s actually going to cool down with time, which means you can fall asleep with it on (which, frankly is pretty frequent when those tight muscles chill out with the heat). An electric heating pad keeps pumping out the heat and can overheat you pretty easily.
Moldable: Since these heat packs are filled with small items (rather than an electric pad) it’s easy to fit them where you need it go to. Maybe on the sides of your belly for ligament pains, or whatever you need. It’s just easier to keep it OFF your belly — which is a big no-no — so let’s talk about what NOT to do with a microwavable heating pad (or frankly, any heating source):
Tips to Stay Safe Using Heat in Pregnancy:
Be sure to talk with your provider if you’re considering using heat for the aches and pains of pregnancy, but these are the general guidelines you can use.
Don’t use it over your belly — it can easily over-heat baby. While early in pregnancy this area has a lot of fat and muscle protecting baby, that won’t be the case as your belly grows. I just recommend not having the heating pad over your belly when you’re pregnant.
You can tuck it on the sides or low just over your pelvis, just don’t drape it across your belly.
Don’t use it for long — this rule is mainly for heating PADS but you don’t want to use it more than 30 minutes or so. It could make your whole body overheat which we know isn’t good for baby.
Don’t go HOT — you want to focus on WARM vs HOT at this point. Again, to prevent you from overheating over all.
BTW, heating pads aren’t ALL you need to worry about during pregnancy — so, grab my safe eating guide here:
Other Heating Options
A lot of people find a warm (not hot) bath to be very relaxing, or even a warm shower. Sometimes the shower is easier since you don’t have to hoist yourself out of it like you do the bath later in pregnancy.
A hot water bottle is always a good option as well. Since it has the same properties as to not getting hotter (and if you’re scared of the whole microwave thing that’s a good alternative). I don’t find them as moldable, so that’s the reason I prefer the microwave pad.
When can you use a microwavable heating pad in pregnancy?
I think heat is often under-used during pregnancy due to the fear of overheating during pregnancy. But, again — a microwavable pad takes a lot of those concerns out of the equation.
Ligament pain — When you have those stabbing pains on the sides of your uterus/belly heat can be used to help those angry body parts cool down.
Back or Pelvic Pain — Heat, again, can just help stressed-out muscles relax during your pregnancy. Remember that you’ve walked your whole life one specific way, but as your belly expands your body has to carry you in an entirely new way and those muscles are not a fan.
Early labor — I actually talk a lot about heat in my natural pain management bonus video in here because I think it can be really comforting to people in early labor.
So often pregnancy pains are dismissed as “normal” when something like heat can help you feel better, more relaxed and able to manage the aches and pains that come each day. If you have pains ask your provider what you can do to HELP them, so you can have a better quality of life!
Of course, some of the aches and pains of pregnancy are enhanced by all the “unknown” about delivery — so join The Online Prenatal Class for Couples where we’ll reduce your anxiety by over 50% and help you feel more prepared for your birth and life after baby!
And, if you’re not quite sure you’re ready for that whole thing, check out the free lesson from it. It’s your first step toward getting in the driver’s seat of your birth.