Is Sauna Okay During Preconception? (Potential Warnings & Risks)

If you’re planning to become pregnant, it’s important to know the risks and rewards of sauna use. 

Using a sauna while trying to conceive is not recommended. The increased temperature could negatively affect both a man’s sperm count and the sperm’s ability to fertilize an egg. While saunas are not likely to negatively affect a woman’s ability to conceive, hyperthermia early in the first trimester can cause birth defects.

Keep reading to learn the potential benefits and possible drawbacks of using a sauna during preconception. We’ll also discuss whether or not it is safe for both prospective mothers and fathers to use a sauna when preparing for pregnancy.

Is it okay to visit the sauna preconception?

Strictly speaking, preconception can refer to any time during your reproductive years, but we’ll focus specifically on those actively trying to conceive. For those who may become pregnant but are not likely to (either because of lifestyle circumstances or because they have taken precautions against pregnancy), the benefits of saunas are available throughout this website.

For the most part, those actively seeking to conceive should avoid the sauna. The heat of a sauna can reduce sperm count and motility, lowing the chances of successfully fertilizing an egg. For women, there are no direct risks to fertility, but exposure to extreme heat during the first trimester can lead to birth defects.

Once you decide you’re ready to try and make a baby, start going down your preconception checklist. What are the most important things you shold be doing right now to prepare your body, home, and life for a new addition? Turns out one of those things may include cutting out your regular sauna visits.

Can sauna use affect male fertility?

Tight underwear, hot baths, and even smoking and alcohol use can reduce this number, making it significantly harder to conceive, but what does this mean for your weekly sauna?

The heat from the sauna can cause scrotal hyperthermia – which means your balls get too hot – which can, in turn, reduce both your sperm count and motility (how far it can go toward the egg).

As you probably already know, it only takes one sperm to fertilize an egg, but the odds of that happening are astronomical. While the woman produces one egg per month, the man will need to send in at least 20 million swimmers for just one to do his job.

When your scrotum gets too hot, sperm begin to die off. Repeated regular visits to a sauna can cause significant decreases in both the live sperm count and the motility of the survivors, making it less likely that one little guy will beat the odds.

The good news is this problem is temporary and your swimmers will replenish and thrive when your balls are kept at their normal temperature.

Does sauna affect female fertility?

The question of women who are trying to conceive visiting the sauna is a little more complicated, however, as some of the traditional benefits of the sauna can actually increase the likelihood of conceiving.

Generally speaking, avoiding using a sauna during preconception is best as the increased temperature may affect the developing embryo. Additionally, no conclusive evidence exists that using a sauna during preconception will have any specific health benefits, so it should be avoided where possible.

That being said, stress may be a factor in infertility, meaning it is possible that lowering a woman’s stress level could actually improve her chances of conception. Saunas are a proven relaxation method and could be beneficial on this front; however, risks are also involved.

Women who are actively trying to become pregnant are often told to assume they’re pregnant until proven otherwise because the first several weeks of development are so important. Unless you’re doing regular lab tests or know, it’s almost impossible to know if you’re pregnant before 3-4 weeks. If you’re on the ball, a EPT pregnancy test can give a result five days before the missed period, but moms who aren’t tracking closely may not know until much later.

Given how much an embryo develops throughout the first trimester, many hopeful moms feel more comfortable avoiding the sauna while they’re carrying Schrödinger’s baby. Exposure to high temperatures during the first month can increase the chances of brain, spine, or spinal cord defects.

If you do choose to use a sauna during preconception, make sure the temperature is lower than 102°F and limit your stay to less than 10 minutes in order to minimize any potential risks.

Benefits of sauna during preconception

Saunas offer a variety of health benefits, and can be an important part of preconception care for both men and women when used in moderation. 

Regular sauna use has been shown to reduce stress levels, improve circulation, and boost the immune system; all of which are important for optimal fertility. For women, saunas can help regulate hormone levels and increase blood flow to the reproductive organs.

Because of the potential benefits of sauna use during preconception, it is important to talk with your doctor first before using one.

Extreme heat is not recommended during pregnancy or while trying to conceive, as it can lead to hyperthermia in some cases. It is also best to limit sauna time due to the dehydration risk associated with extended exposure.

For those looking to use a sauna safely during preconception planning, there are steps you can take: 

  • Avoid extreme heat settings
  • Drink plenty of fluids before and after the session
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing
  • Limit your session time to no more than 20 minutes per day
  • Take breaks throughout your session if needed 
  • Keep a cool towel or cloth nearby for cooling down if necessary
  • Finish with a cool shower or bath afterward

Overall, regular sauna therapy (either radiant heat or far-infrared units) appears to be safe and offers multiple health benefits for those preparing for pregnancy or trying to conceive. 

Talk with your doctor before beginning any new health regimen so that you’re aware of any potential risks involved in using a sauna during preconception planning.

Possible risks of sauna use during preconception

Using saunas and hot tubs during preconception and early pregnancy can pose risks to the developing baby. 

Studies have linked long periods of time in a sauna or hot tub during the early stages of pregnancy with an increased risk of birth defects. Though it’s generally safe to use a sauna or hot tub after the first trimester, doctors still recommend avoiding them due to potential risks such as overheating, dehydration and fainting. 

Pregnant women are more susceptible to heat-related issues and dehydration than non-pregnant women, so it’s best not to take the risk. 

If you feel warm during pregnancy, make sure you stay hydrated and cool off in other ways, such as taking a cool shower or swimming in a pool.

Effects of temperature on fertility and conception

When trying to conceive, it’s important to be mindful of the effects of temperature on fertility and conception. High temperatures can affect a woman’s eggs and man’s sperm quality, so it is not recommended to use hot tubs or saunas during the preconception period. 

Studies on animals suggest that raising your body temperature during early pregnancy may cause problems for both you and your unborn child.

It is believed that raising the core body temperature can affect the circulation of blood and nutrients to the baby, potentially leading to developmental issues. Therefore, it is advised that pregnant women exercise in warm weather or take hot baths or short saunas with caution. 

While increased body temperature is highest in the first trimester, pregnant women should still be careful not to overheat as this can have serious consequences on their health and the health of their unborn baby. Tanning beds, jacuzzis, hot tubs, and saunas are best avoided during pregnancy altogether. 

If a pregnant woman wishes to use any of these items for relaxation purposes, she should do so only with her doctor’s approval and under close medical supervision.

Is it okay to sauna while pregnant?

Using a sauna during preconception and early pregnancy is generally not recommended by medical professionals due to the potential risks associated with it. 

Extreme and constant heat can lead to hyperthermia, which can be harmful for the developing fetus in early pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends against becoming overheated in a sauna during pregnancy. Additionally, water transmits heat more efficiently than air, so hot tubs or other bathing activities should also be avoided.

If you choose to visit the sauna while pregnant, lower the temperature to below 102°F and spend no more than 10 minutes in it. Make sure you’re well hydrated before and after using a sauna or hot tub as feeling faint and dehydration are both possible side effects of using these heated environments.

It’s important to talk with your doctor if you plan on using a sauna while pregnant, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or known high-risk pregnancies. In any case, they will likely advise avoiding its use altogether during your pregnancy due to the potential risks involved.

Is it okay to use a steam room while pregnant?

It is generally not recommended to use steam baths while pregnant, either.

The heat generated by steam baths can raise the core body temperature, which can harm the developing baby. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises against using steam baths during pregnancy. 

If you must use a steam bath, lower the temperature to below 102°F and do not stay in for more than 10 minutes at a time. Avoid extreme and constant heat exposure as this may cause harm to your unborn child. 

Pregnant women should also avoid hot tubs or infrared saunas as these can also raise your core body temperature too much and too quickly for comfort. 

Before using any hot tub or steam bath, it is best to consult with your doctor first.

How long in the sauna is too long when trying to conceive?

Under normal circumstances, most people stay in the sauna for 30 minutes per session, up to 3 times a week. However, if you’re trying to conceive, you should limit that to avoid getting too hot.

During preconception, men should limit both the time and temperature of their sauna visits. Women may enjoy the sauna as normal pre-ovulation, provided they are certain they’re not pregant. Post-ovulation, it is recommended she err on the side of caution and avoid the sauna altogether in case she becomes pregnant.

In between sessions, ensure you cool off in a cooler environment by taking a shower or going outside into fresh air. Also, drink plenty of fluids before entering the sauna or hot tub to avoid dehydration while inside. 

Experts suggest limiting each stint in the hot tub or sauna to no more than 20 minutes and not letting it get too hot (no more than 102°F).

Overall, if you’re trying to conceive, finding other (cooler) means of relaxation and stress relief may be better.