An electric blanket is a great way to stay warm at night. It provides evenly-spread warmth and better heat control compared to other bed warming solutions like a hot water bottle.
But should you get rid of the blanket and switch to something else during pregnancy?
In most cases, it’s not necessary.
You may have heard that an electric blanket can increase the risk of miscarriage or affect the baby’s development. But research shows that there’s little to worry about.
You can keep using the electric blanket. However, there are certain precautions you should take just to be safe.
In this article, we’ll look at the two main concerns of using an electric blanket when pregnant and how to stay safe.
One of the biggest concerns some people have with using an electric blanket during pregnancy is that it can make the bed too hot and affect the baby.
It is true that overheating can affect your pregnancy. A sustained core temperature above 39oC increases the risk of miscarriage and can affect the development of the foetus.
It’s the reason that NHS recommends against using saunas and Jacuzzis during pregnancy. Some can be as hot as 40oC.
But the risk of overheating is very low with an electric blanket especially if you use it in a low or medium setting.
Additionally, most electric blankets come with safety measures to prevent overheating.
If you want to be completely safe, you can avoid using an electric blanket for the first 12 weeks when the risk of miscarriage is highest. After that, use the blanket at a low temperature setting.
If you are still concerned about overheating even after the first trimester, switch to a hot water bottle or add an extra duvet to your bed.
This is the other big concern about using electric blankets during pregnancy.
For decades, there have been concerns that electromagnetic fields or EMFs from powerlines and electrical appliances can cause cancer and other health problems.
However, there has been no study that has shown a link between cancer and exposure to normal levels of EMFs.
But some people say that a foetus is much more sensitive to EMFs and exposure could cause miscarriage or development problems.
There is some evidence that using an electric blanket on high settings could increase the risk of miscarriage in the early weeks and may result in an underweight baby.
Using an electric blanket at a low setting did not show any harmful effects.
Here’s how you can reduce the risk of miscarriage and foetus development issues when using an electric blanket.
- Avoid using an electric blanket in the first 7-12 weeks of pregnancy. This is when the risk of miscarriage is highest because of the heat and EMF.
- Regardless of the stage of pregnancy, only use an electric blanket at a low setting. This reduces the risk of overheating and exposure to EMFs.
- Though not necessary as long as you follow the tip above, you can make a complete switch to other methods of warming the bed such as a duvet or a hot water bottle.
- Buy a low-EMF electric blanket. There are many brands of electric blankets today that are advertised as having low or no EMFs.
- Instead of using the electric blanket through the night, use it to pre-warm the bed. Switch it on 2 hours before you get to bed and switch it off at bedtime. This lowers the risk of overheating. The blanket will retain the generated heat for several hours.
- Avoid using the electric blanket during the last month of pregnancy. Your water could break at any time which could cause an electric shock if it comes into contact with the blanket. Use a hot water bottle or extra blanket in the last few weeks.
Finally, talk to your doctor or gynaecologist first if you are at a higher than normal risk of miscarriage or you have a health condition related to the pregnancy.
If you have any concerns that an electric blanket could affect you or the baby, don’t use an electric blanket until you get a go-ahead from your doctor.