The thought of a sauna as a means of relaxation and enjoyment for breastfeeding or lactating mothers is a great idea. After all, who wouldn’t want to ease off after the whole pregnancy journey?
Sauna has been in existence for thousands of years, and it is still in existence because of its ability to help people relax and unwind and other tremendous benefits it offers.
There are many benefits people claim can be gotten from sauna when used by lactating mothers, such as serving as a lactation stimulant, improving sleep quality, reducing stress hormones, and recovering from labor.
The big question is, despite all these attractive benefits, can one do sauna while breastfeeding is an interesting question to ask while breastfeeding your newborn.
Sauna: All You Need To Know
A sauna is a heated room usually within a temperature range of 700 to 1000C or 1580 to 2120 Fahrenheit.
The relaxation Sauna offers a result of the dry heat which makes one sweat, and as you may know, the sweating has been known as a form of therapy for years.
History has shown that the Mayans have been utilizing this therapy as far back as 3000 years ago. Also, In Finland, saunas have been used for thousands of years, and statistics show that 1 in 3 Finns still use them.
Many people visit saunas and promote their usage because the visitation and their use provide many benefits to the body. Most importantly, its effect on cardiovascular health is almost the same as that derived from exercise.
Can I do saunas while breastfeeding?
There are many regulations on things a pregnant woman or a lactating mother can do, but the big question is, can I do saunas while breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding mothers are welcome to relax in a sauna. After delivery, there is no risk to the fetus.
On the other hand, there are infrared saunas on the market that may pose a problem. There is little research on infrared’s effect on breast milk, so manufacturers of infrared saunas recommend that breastfeeding women abstain from breastfeeding for 24 hours after using the sauna.
Some saunas caution that breastfeeding or lactating mothers shouldn’t access their facilities. And if this is the case, then do not enter. It may be safer to avoid using infrared saunas altogether while breastfeeding.
If you are a breastfeeding mother and are bent on using saunas, then you should seek the advice of your gynecologists and obstetricians before embarking on such exercise.
Can Heat Damage Breast Milk?
Using saunas has a great benefit; it offers the body detoxification.
When heat is used to detoxify the body, the pathogens and other waste from the detoxification process are excreted through the sweat produced by the sweat glands and passed out through the sweat pores.
Now in some cases, researchers stated that some of these wastes, instead of going into the sweat glands make their way to the breast lobes and then dump the toxins and waste that should have been ejected into the breast milk.
To avoid feeding your baby with toxins and wastes, we recommend you wait for at least two hours after your visitation to the sauna to breastfeed your child.
Can Heat Reduce Milk Supply?
Have you ever wondered if the level of your milk production will be hampered or affected by the sauna’s heat?
When you produce enough milk and breastfeed your baby frequently during the early stage of its life, it helps promote the proper functioning of the brain.
Since the heat from saunas increases the quantity of breast milk leading to frequent production and which will, in turn, help with the proper functioning of the brain, we can say that this is one of the many benefits of saunas.
Types of Sauna
Let us discuss how each type of sauna can help or affect your breastfeeding journey.
Traditional sauna while breastfeeding
Traditional saunas are usually very hot, averaging 177°F with around 30% humidity. As we discussed above, heat stimulates milk flow. While this is a good thing, a slight amount of milk evaporation can occur during high heat and humidity periods.
According to a study in Australia in 1990, evaporative milk losses increased by 0.008 grams per minute for every 1°C rise in ambient temperature.
Infrared sauna while breastfeeding
Infrared saunas work a bit differently.
Typically, infrared saunas have low humidity and a temperature of 140°F. This means that your breastmilk generally means that milk levels will rise, but the risk for evaporation is much lower due to less moisture in the air.
Please pay attention to the warning disclosure for the particular sauna you are using since there is little data on the long-term effects of infrared saunas on new mothers and their breastmilk supply.
Steam rooms while breastfeeding
In this case, steam rooms can be somewhat tricky. The steam sauna’s temperature is 112°F, and the humidity is above 100%, which could result in some serious milk evaporation.
You can try it if you don’t stay more than 10 minutes and pump or feed as soon as you get home.
Benefits Of Using Sauna While Breastfeeding
Some benefits come with the heat therapy that accompanies saunas session, and they include:
1. It helps with relaxation and lowered cortisol levels
Saunas provide relaxation for lactating mothers and reduce their stress levels. It is an efficient method for de-stressing, especially for a woman that just given birth since her hormones are still fluctuating.
2. It helps in recovering from pregnancy and labor
Sauna helps the body release endorphins that aid with recovering from the pains of labor and pregnancy.
Endorphins help the body tolerate pains, and the sauna session allows the white blood cell to circulate well around the body, speeding up the healing session.
3. Improved sleep quality
The use of saunas helps lactating mothers sleep well and more soundly because of the reduced stress level offered by the sauna session.
4. Increased lactation
As discussed earlier, the heat and humidity from a sauna help increase milk flow. This helps moms, especially those struggling to produce milk and look to boost their milk supply.
5. It helps with stretch-mark product absorption
Stretch marks are one of the many-body changes that come with pregnancy.
By inhaling the steam from a sauna, you can relax your skin and increase the absorption of stretch mark cream. Some top ingredients for reducing stretch marks include vitamin A, hyaluronic acid, and coconut oil.
In addition, the sauna allows the skin to breathe. Although saunas are unsafe during pregnancy, they can be a helpful way to recover postpartum and unwind.
Saunas are also helpful in stimulating lactation; however, avoid staying inside for more than 10-15 minutes to avoid evaporating milk supply.
Always consult your doctor first to determine if and when it is safe to use the sauna while breastfeeding!
Are there people who can’t use saunas?
It is a known fact that lots of people visit saunas because of the perceived health benefits, but it is pertinent to note that sauna is not okay for everybody.
There are people whose visitation to the saunas should be approved and regulated by their medical professionals or personnel, and they include pregnant women and people with cardiovascular problems.
Also, drinking alcohol before or during saunas is a no because it can be hazardous.
Why are saunas unsafe during pregnancy?
Excessive body heat above 101 degrees can cause hyperthermia. In studies, prolonged hyperthermia during the first trimester increases the risk of neural tube defects, such as anencephaly and spina bifida.
Heart and oral cleft defects have also been linked in research associated with hyperthermia during pregnancy.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women avoid saunas and hot water baths during all three trimesters of pregnancy. Studies have focused on the risk to fetal development during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Safety tips for saunas
To avoid the adverse health effects accompanied by sauna usage, one should adhere to the following precautions
- Avoid alcohol before visiting the sauna or while at the sauna
- Do not spend more than 20 minutes a time in a sauna
- Avoid sauna use if ill
- supervise children when in a sauna
I hope your question Can I do sauna while breastfeeding has been answered. There hasn’t been a clear answer on whether a breastfeeding mother can use saunas though it is a clear no for pregnant women because of the possible effects of heat from saunas on the fetus.
Some saunas caution that breastfeeding or lactating mothers shouldn’t access their facilities. And if this is the case, then do not enter.
If you are a nursing mother and you are still inquisitive to know if you can do sauna while breastfeeding, then you should seek the advice of your gynecologists and obstetricians before embarking on such exercise.