The heating pad is one of the most commonly used forms of thermotherapy or heat therapy. A warm pad is placed over the painful, sore, strained, or overexerted parts of the body to deliver adequate warmness. The primary purpose of applying a heating pad is to ease aching joints and muscles. Ideal for managing neck and back pain, it helps treat symptoms of arthritis. And, yes, it has been found beneficial for menstrual cramps, as well.
It works by dilating blood vessels to improve the blood, nutrient, and oxygen flow to the targeted or damaged tissue. You can find various heating pads such as electrical, chemical, and hot water bottles in the market. They are convenient to use and portable.
Benefits of heating pads
- A valuable source of treating painful muscles or joints
- Helps in stretching soft tissues, such as connective tissue and muscles
- Minimizes the muscle spasms and tightness
- Relief from overly exhausted and strained muscles that can limit your mobility
- A safe way to treat sore neck, leg, and back muscles
- Decrease athletic injuries while improving muscle flexibility
- Significantly reduces the stiffness of joints
- With enough heat, it can make your environment warm enough
- It helps relieve eye pain
- Relieves inflammation
- Helps in controlling anxiety, nausea, and increasing heart rate in chronic patients suffering from enduring health problems
- Soothes, menstrual pains, and cramps
- Improves blood, nutrients, and oxygen flow to speeds up the healing time of the damaged tissues.
Can you use a heating pad while pregnant?
The use of a heating pad while you are pregnant doesn’t seem to harm your baby. In fact, it is considered a good option ONLY if you are looking for quick yet temporary relief from back, legs, or neck pains. It could be an electric or microwaveable heating pad. If you are experiencing cramps during pregnancy, do not go for a hot tub or a sauna as they can increase the core body temperature; instead, use a heating pad. With hot baths, there is a risk of congenital disabilities and miscarriage.
Always apply moderate heat, and a heating pad should never be directly placed on your skin. You should choose one area at a time for a heating pad. Try not to leave the pad for more than 20 minutes. And, do not fall asleep with your heating pad on. Nowadays, heated gloves and socks are also available to keep your hands and feet warm.
Can you use a heating pad on your back when pregnant?
Yes, it is absolutely fine to use a heating pad during pregnancy to soothe aching and sore back muscles. To find release from pregnancy-related backaches, it is a good fit. Just be careful about the timings (ideal duration is 10 minutes) and temperature (keep it at the lowest possible warmth).
Whether you choose a microwaveable pack, a hot water bottle, a thin and warm soaked towel, or an electric heating pad, every choice will benefit you. If you feel pain or get uncomfortable, do not use it.
Can you fall asleep with a heating pad while pregnant?
Although using a heating pad during pregnancy is not dangerous, sleeping with the pad can result in severe consequences. It is highly formidable to sleep with the heat pack on, no matter the place (stomach, back, neck, leg, or other parts).
If you are wondering, WHY? Because it increases the core body temperature to a significant level that can result in birth defects.
Can I use a heating pad during the third trimester?
Yes, why not. After all, the 3rd trimester is when you feel excessive pain and soreness in muscles and joints. You can use a heating pad as a source of relief from aches. As the ligaments shift along with an increase in the weight of the uterus during the 3rd trimester, you probably will face the problem of back and abdominal pains. When you feel your belly cramped and bloated, your back aching, and a sore neck like it is about to give up, the use of a heating pad will feel glorious.
Feel free to use a heat pack BUT be careful to limit the time to 10-15 minutes without applying it directly to the skin. The brief period is a safer passage.
Can a heating pad cause miscarriage?
Yes, directly or indirectly, it can. With a heating pad, you can feel the increase in core body temperature, consequently increasing the chances of either birth defects or miscarriages. Or else it can affect lead to miscarriage. Look out for the temperature as it must not exceed 102 degrees.
Can a heating pad raise body temperature?
It doesn’t increase your body temperature as a hot bath or sauna does, but, Yes, it can. It can raise the pregnant woman’s body temperature significantly. Hot temperatures can harm your unborn baby. Generally, a heating pad cannot increase the core body temperature when:
- It is only placed on a specific part of the body
- Set on lesser heat or temperature setting
- Only applied for 10-15 minutes and then removed
Can I use a heat pack on my stomach when pregnant?
Yes, you can use a heating pad for temporary relief. But if you are not sure or want to stay on a safer side, you better opt for other options such as try a warm soaked bath or change your sitting/lying positions. The heat pack is noninvasive and not addictive, and that is why it is safe to use. While using a heat pack for your stomach ache in pregnancy, you should consider the following points:
- Do not use it during 1st trimester
- If you feel too hot, causing sweating, do not use
- The safe duration to keep the heating pad on is 10 minutes or less.
- If you feel the change in baby’s behavior, stop using it
- Do not use several sources of heat
What birth defects are caused by heating pads?
Excessive exposure to heat through heating pads can affect two major organs: the brain and spinal code.
In early pregnancy, having a sauna or using a hot tub, applying a heating pad or electric blanket significantly increases the danger of giving birth to a baby with treatable and untreatable birth defects targeting the brain and spinal cord. The most common is neural tube defect, particularly spina bifida.