Sauna

A while back, I posted about cleaning the cat’s litter box and how you’re not really supposed to while pregnant. Here’s another thing you’re not supposed to do while pregnant (according to some): Sauna.

Last night on FB, I mentioned that I was looking forward to going to sauna. Some friends in a FB group nicely cautioned/advised that I shouldn’t be going to sauna, using hot baths or hot tubs while pregnant. For which, I thanked them from the bottom of my heart and I truly meant it. (I’ve never been in this situation before, I have lots of questions and love been there done that answers! Following them to a T is a different story.) And then I proceed to explain how and why I believe it is okay to go to sauna while pregnant.

First off, I asked the doctor at the very first appointment I had if it was okay to go to sauna, as I know in the USA (and UK) that it is advised against going. The doctor told me it is fine to go throughout my entire pregnancy. So, I do have the professional go ahead.

Another thing, I live in Finland. Finland is the homeland of sauna. In a country of 5 million people and over 2 million saunas (roughly 1 for every household), I think that says a lot. Going to sauna is a weekly (if not more) tradition in Finnish families. It’s a time to relax, bond as a family and also get clean. Finnish people, young and old (from a couple of months old on up) have been going to sauna for so long, it’s impossible to trace its roots.

When we (Mr Siili and I and most everyone else in Finland) go to sauna, it’s not like you see on TV in those competitions: we don’t see who can stand the most heat. It’s unhealthy and well, just plain silly. We go to sauna to get clean, relax and enjoy. (Often times, so I’ve been told, even business agreements are made in the sauna.)We can make it as hot or as cool as we want in there and we can change the humidity by tossing more water on the rocks, or not. Also, there is no rule that one has to sit on the top bench all the time. In fact, depending on how I feel, especially now, I sit on the middle bench quite often. It’s still pleasantly hot, but not too hot. Also, we sit in sauna for a bit, then leave for a cool refreshing shower. After a bit, we head back into sauna and repeat the process over again until we are done for the evening. (Plus, all my friends are doing it. *giggle*)

I understand the concern others have about going to sauna, especially when it has been taught that it is unhealthy for the baby. And if I was just coming to Finland or going to a spa or health club in the US and not at all used to going to sauna, I would agree that I should not be going to sauna. But having lived in this country for almost 13 years and enjoyed sauna all these years, I think I’m quite acclimated to sauna and its customs.

Here are some sauna links to read if you’d like to learn more:
Finnish Sauna via Wikipedia
Bare facts of the sauna via This is Finland
Finnish Sauna Culture via The Finnish Sauna Society
Sauna and your health (personal website)
Finnish Sauna Secrets (personal website)

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10 thoughts on “Sauna

  1. I'd say that probably millions of pregnant women in Finland went to sauna before you and it doesn't seem to have hurt them or the babies 🙂 I'm sure you'll be doing fine as long as you don't overdo it. But that goes for everyone, pregnant or not. Enjoy your time to relax

  2. I thought the avoiding hot baths and such was limited to the first few weeks of pregnancy, when the risk of developing spina bifida and such is higher. I've come to the conclusion that women have been having babies for thousands/millions of years, and that worrying about every little thing that could go wrong is a new invention that women did without forever until the last century or so. Add that to the fact that crack-heads and drunks and people who generally shouldn't be having children are the ones who are able to get knocked up at the drop of a hat, well, I say take it all with a grain of salt and do what feels right for you.

  3. Raising your body temperature doesn't harm a baby or cause birth defects, actually. It is suggested that you don't raise your core body temp during the first few weeks of pregnancy because it can cause you to miscarry. After the baby is 'well established' you can take the heat safely. It is your 'core' temperature that you have to worry about, and to raise your core temperature a bath and/or sauna would have to be uncomfortably hot. And I agree that ppl in the US tend to think that a sauna has to be macho hot. It's a sauna, not a sweat lodge. Here in the US they also tell us to avoid soft cheeses and sushi, but pregnant women eat those foods every day in France and Japan, and they aren't miscarrying left and right. 🙂

  4. Totally go since your Dr gave you the OK and since your body is used to it. Just like they say with exercise and other things. If your body is used to it then you can keep doing it while pregnant. That sounds so relaxing. Have a great time!

  5. I too have heard about the miscarriage factor, but on the research I've read, it said that is inconclusive as miscarriages generally occur in the earlier weeks anyway, so they weren't sure if it was due to heat or that it was going to happen anyway. In any case, I don't do insane hot, nor for long periods of time. :)We too are told to avoid soft cheese and sushi, with the addition that Finnish cheeses are ok, because all are processed and when they say sushi, they mean raw fish. I don't do raw fish, so I still get my sushi! I just watch the soy sauce intake.I also agree about the people from their own countries are eating these foods without issue, but I also think it is because they have been eating these foods for some time before the pregnancy, so their bodies are used to it and the bacteria that could come with it.

  6. I wonder if my body will be used to exercising now that I've been quite lazy the last 3 months (or more). Now that I'm not so exhausted anymore, I've got to get this body back into the gym…

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