According to a new study, women can safely take short hot baths or saunas while pregnant without harming their unborn baby.
While health professionals recommend mothers-to-be take warm baths, particularly early on in pregnancy, to avoid risk of miscarriage or early birth, raising body temperature too high can lead to a drop in blood pressure, which carries a risk of reducing the amount of oxygen and nutrients a baby can get.
The research conducted at the University of Sydney looked at how activities such as baths - at 40C - and saunas - at 70C - for 20 minutes pushed up core body temperatures.
They also looked at how exercising in warm environments, such as aqua aerobics, affected a woman's body temperature.
Study found that no woman exceeded the recommended core temperature limit of 39C, suggesting experts are being overcautious.
Researchers found the highest average core temperature was 36.9C for hot water bathing and 37.6C for sauna exposure as well as was 38.3C for exercise in water.
Researchers thus concluded that women can sit in hot baths or saunas for 20 minutes, irrespective of what stage of pregnancy they are at, they say.
They further said that women can do up to 35 minutes of high intensity aerobic exercise at air temperatures of up to 25C and aqua-aerobic exercise in water temperatures ranging from 28.8C to 33.4C for up to 45 minutes. This goes in sharp contrast to current advice, which states that pregnant women should avoid heat stress based on concerns about possible risks of exceeding a core body temperature during pregnancy.