Is It Safe To Use A Sauna During Preconception? What You Need To Know
If you or your partner is trying to get pregnant, you can read several horror stories online about saunas. Saunas are supposed to be too hot for men, thereby limiting the chances of conception. For women, claims that the high temperatures also interfere with pregnancy.
Pregnancy And Infrared Saunas
Fortunately, several studies have investigated the effects of saunas on the ability to conceive (1; 2; 3). Generally, infrared saunas are
extremely safe for women during the preconception period. After becoming pregnant, it’s recommended to only expose yourself to limited amounts of heat. So, a short 15-minute relaxing far infrared sauna session or a short time using outdoor sauna kits, will be fine for a pregnant woman. However, intense sweating where you push your limits of your heat tolerance is not recommended.
For men, the story is more complicated, and, of course, only the
preconception period matters for men. Studies do show that with repeated intense heat exposure, the number of sperm cells can go down – but, this fact needs to be placed within more context though.
For instance, there are
many factors influencing the overall fertility for men. Below I’ve added a short list of important factors:
Conclusion: Saunas Are Generally Okay During Preconception
The risk of saunas impeding the chances of conception are generally overblown. Only in very rare cases, where the man has pre-existing health conditions and has problems with his fertility that are established by a medical doctor would I recommend avoiding infrared saunas.
Women, on the other hand, can always enjoy infrared saunas during the preconception period. After conception, women will need to be far more careful though, and only expose themselves to limited heat.
Overall, it’s better to focus on general health during the preconception period. That means that men
and women should try to implement a healthy overall lifestyle, instead of avoiding saunas in the first place.
Hannuksela ML, Ellahham S. Benefits and risks of sauna bathing. Am J Med. 2001 Feb 1;110(2):118-26. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9343(00)00671-9. PMID: 11165553.
Wähä-Eskeli K, Erkkola R. The sauna and pregnancy. Ann Clin Res. 1988;20(4):279-82. PMID: 3218901.
Brown-Woodman PD, Post EJ, Gass GC, White IG. The effect of a single sauna exposure on spermatozoa. Arch Androl. 1984;12(1):9-15. doi: 10.3109/01485018409161141. PMID: 6476971.