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Best Pregnancy Heating Pads of 2022

Updated
Ease your pregnancy aches and pains with a heating pad.

Pregnancy can take a toll on your joints and muscles, so you might be wondering if it’s safe to use a heating pad. We are very familiar with that longing for relief, and we were thrilled to learn that most heating pads are safe for use during pregnancy.

We’ll explain when and how to use one and help you decide which heating pad is best for you.

We’ll also share our thorough reviews of the best heating pads for pregnancy. These five models won out because of their ability to relieve pain and discomfort with minimal effort required and the fewest dollars spent. We’ve chosen heating pads to suit your individual needs during pregnancy, with five options to choose from, according to your heating preferences.

Overcome your muscle pain relief — finally — with one of these heating pads.

Our Top Picks

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Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features

Product Image of the Pure Enrichment® PureRelief™ XL Heating Pad - LCD Controller with 6 InstaHeat...
Best Electrical Pad
Pure Enrichment PureRelief
  • Large size
  • Multiple heat settings
  • Soft, flexible exterior
Product Image of the Weighted Heating Pad for Neck and Shoulders, Comfytemp 2.2lb Large Electric...
Best Heating Wrap
Comfytemp Weighted
  • Super soft microplush cover
  • Long cord
  • Easy to clean
Product Image of the 2 Liter Rubber Hot Water Bottle Warmer Set,Heat Up and Refreezable Hot Cold Pack...
Best Budget-Friendly
Aikotoo Hot Water Bottle
  • Durable material
  • Long-lasting low heat
  • Compact size
Product Image of the TheraPAQ Ice Packs for Injuries Reusable Version - Adjustable, Large 14 x 11...
Best Microwavable Pad
TheraPAQ Refreezable Gel
  • Hot and cold functions
  • No electricity needed
  • Safe and durable material
Product Image of the Thermalon Microwave Activated Moist Heating Pad for Abdomen, Back and Hip, 9' x...
Best Moist Heat Pad
Thermalon Activated
  • Quick results
  • Ready to use
  • Effective on small areas


The Best Pregnancy Heating Pads of 2022

Here are our favorite heating pads for pregnancy.

1. Pure Enrichment PureRelief Heating Pad

Best Electrical Heating Pad

Lower back pain can become unbearable during the last months of pregnancy. Having something like this extra-large heating pad can give you some pain relief.

Because of its large size — 12 inches wide and 24 inches long — it can cover most of your lower back at one time. It also has a super-soft microplush exterior for a little extra comfort. The pad is highly flexible and adjusts to the area you’re treating.

There are six settings to choose from, ranging from 105 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember to choose the lowest setting you’re comfortable with. You can also choose between moist and dry heating therapy.

The heating pad will automatically turn off after two hours. Remember to limit yourself to 20 minutes, though.

Pros

  • Large size.
  • Multiple heat settings.
  • Soft, flexible exterior.

Cons

  • It takes two hours to shut off automatically.

2. Comfytemp Weighted Neck Heating Pad

Best Neck Heating Wrap

Pain and soreness can sometimes make their way to your neck and shoulders, especially if your belly is big.

This weighted heating wrap drapes around your shoulders, providing the perfect amount of pressure (2.2 pounds) and adjustable heat to your tired muscles.

The wrap includes a back-lit hand-operated controller with nine heat settings and 11 timer options. The soft flannel adds comfort to the warmth. It also has a button on the front to keep the wrap in place and your hands free.

Both sides of the wrap are flannel, and the pad is machine-washable if you remove the controller. You can choose from three colors to suit your preference.

Unlike some other neck wraps, this design suits taller people or those with broad shoulders.

Pros

  • Has a button to keep it in place.
  • Offers 2.2 pounds of light weighted pressure.
  • Super soft flannel fabric.
  • Easy to clean.

Cons

  • It’s awkward to use on other areas of the body.

3. Aikotoo Hot Water Bottle

Best Budget-Friendly Heating Pad

You may only be experiencing minor aches during your pregnancy. So, you might not want to purchase anything too expensive.

In this case, the Aikotoo hot water bottle could just be enough for you. It’s made of PVC plastic and is highly durable. You simply pour hot water into the opening, close it, and you’re good to go.

We were impressed with how long these water bottles stayed hot. The downside is that you can’t control or maintain the temperature.

This set includes two hot water bottles, so you can comfort more than one area at a time. The compact size makes them great for small areas of the body. Place one underneath you when relaxing on the couch and another on your hip.

Both bottles come with knitted covers in adorable owl or penguin prints.

Pros

  • Durable material.
  • Easy to use.
  • Long-lasting low heat.
  • Compact size.
  • Cute cover.
  • You don’t need an outlet.

Cons

  • Because of its shape, it’s not very flexible when filled with water.

4. TheraPAQ Refreezable and Microwavable Gel Pad

Best Microwavable Pad

Some women prefer heat to treat their aching bodies, while others like a little cooling. With this gel pad, you’ll get the best of both worlds.

You can heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds. You can also immerse the gel pad in boiled water for eight to 10 minutes — but remember to take the pot off the heat first before immersing the pad. Doing this will give you around 20 to 25 minutes of heat.

You could also place the gel pad in the freezer for two hours. When it’s cold enough, wrap it in a towel and place it on the desired area.

The pad is made out of non-toxic and leak-proof plastic. The material is highly durable, and it’s made to be frozen and heated multiple times a day.

Wrap it in a towel after heating or freezing to make it comfortable to use.

Pros

  • Hot and cold functions.
  • No electricity is needed.
  • Safe and durable material.
  • Large size — 11 inches wide and 14 inches long.

Cons

  • Can be rigid when used frozen.
  • A cover would be useful.

5. Thermalon Activated Moist Heating Pad

Best Moist Heat Heating Pad

If you are experiencing severe pain, moist heat is what you need. It will penetrate the tissue much faster, giving you quick results (1).

You can heat this in the microwave for one or two minutes. It will then give you a good 30 minutes of heat. However, there are reports that it goes cold quickly.

You also don’t have to wrap it in a towel, just take it out of the microwave and apply it. Alternatively, you can use it for some cold therapy if you place it in the freezer.

It’s a smaller size, only 9 inches wide and 12 inches long. But it’s good for those smaller areas, such as the base of the neck and the inner thigh. It’s made out of non-toxic polyester and spandex.

Pros

  • Quick results.
  • Ready to use out of the microwave.
  • Effective on small areas.
  • Can be used as a cooling pad.

Cons

  • Doesn’t hold heat for long.

Why Use a Heating Pad During Pregnancy?

When you’re pregnant, your body goes through massive changes. For some lucky women, pregnancy is easy.

For others, like me, you get everything but the glow. Getting in and out of bed is considered a strenuous exercise in the last trimester. And just doing that can leave you feeling beat.

Using a heating pad to relieve those aching muscles can save you a night’s sleep. You can use it anywhere you like.

Many women like to apply the heating pad to their lower back. Others feel the pain in the inner thigh area and use it there.

Heat is a highly effective way to treat muscle and joint pain. Your body becomes achy because the pressure caused by your pregnancy reduces the blood flow. Heat opens the blood vessels, allowing more blood to circulate and bringing new oxygen to the area (2).

Back pain and even muscle spasms or twinges are completely normal during pregnancy. But why do they occur?

Your Baby is Growing

Looking at that giant belly sticking out, it’s easy to see why you’re feeling the ache. Your center of gravity will also shift as you get heavier in the front. This causes your lower back muscles to support your ever-growing belly (3).

Hormonal Changes

Your body is doing more than just growing a baby — it also has to prepare itself for the birth. That means it’s releasing significant amounts of hormones that will loosen up your ligaments and joints in the pelvic area. This is also why you might feel like Bambi on ice.

Poor Posture

During your pregnancy, you might want to become more aware of your posture. Sitting with your back hunched, or even standing for too long, can take its toll.

Stress

Remember how your joints and ligaments are already weakened? Well, stress will only make that worse. During hard times, you might find yourself with a sore back.

Are Heating Pads Safe During Pregnancy?

It’s safe to use a heating pad to relieve joint and muscle pain during pregnancy. However, it’s best to do it in moderation.

Doctors strongly advise against prolonged exposure to heat — such as saunas and hot tubs. These will raise your core body temperature, which can become dangerous for your unborn baby.

If you’re only using the heating pad on isolated areas, such as the lower back and thighs, it shouldn’t raise your body temperature (4).

You might feel like applying the heating pad to your belly. But this is not recommended, as it’s unsafe for your baby. Abdominal pain during pregnancy can be caused by many factors other than muscle pain, including the following:

Excessive or sudden sharp pains could also indicate a more serious problem, such as a pending miscarriage or placenta abruption. Any consistent, sharp, or excessive pain, especially in your abdomen, needs to be reported to your health care provider immediately. (5).

Risks and Precautions

Using a heating pad to soothe your aching muscles is great. But you have to be careful. Overexposure to heat, even during the early stages of pregnancy, can lead to a few complications, such as these:

  • Increased risk of miscarriage.
  • Birth defects, such as neural tube defects (6).

If you choose to use a heating pad, you must ensure you’re doing it right. There are different types of pads available — some are electric, while others can be heated in the microwave. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Stay awake: Falling asleep with your heating pad can result in you being exposed to the heat for too long. You shouldn’t expose it to your skin for more than 20 minutes.
  • Protect your skin: Never apply the heating pad directly onto the skin. Always have a piece of fabric between you and the pad.
  • Use a low setting: If you can adjust the temperature, use the lowest setting available.

Some electric heating pads are set to turn off after 20 minutes, which is a valuable safety feature.

Consult your doctor right away if you experience any of the following along with abdominal pain (7):


Heating Pad DIY

If you urgently need a heating pad but haven’t bought one yet, you can make one. There are several effective ways to make a heating pad, all with regular items you have at home.

1. Ziploc and Wet Towels

This first method is as simple as it gets — here’s what you need:

  • Two small hand towels.
  • A large microwave-safe Ziploc bag — not sandwich bags. Read the package to make sure it is compatible with the microwave.
  • A microwave.

First, wet one of the towels — you can use hot or cold water — and give it a good squeeze. Place the wet towel in the Ziploc bag and microwave for two minutes. Remember to leave the bag open.

Once it’s done, remove it carefully — it will be hot. Close the bag, and wrap the dry towel around it.

Apply it to your sore area. This should stay heated for about 20 minutes.

If you don’t have a microwave, you can heat the wet towel in the oven. Set your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, and let it warm for five to 10 minutes.

2. Rice and a Sock

This method is quick and easy, but it provides long-lasting relief. This is what you’ll need:

  • A single cotton sock — preferably a long one (I’ve stolen one of my husband’s long socks for this purpose).
  • Dry, uncooked rice — any kind.
  • A microwave.
  • A funnel.
  • Pregnancy-safe essential oil of your choosing (optional).

If using, stir a few drops of essential oil into some rice (we like lavender or chamomile for relaxation). Use the funnel to fill the sock with the rice, but make sure to leave plenty of space at the end so you can seal it. You can close the sock by tying a knot, sewing it, or using a glue gun, rubber band, or any other method you think would work.

Place the sock in the microwave, and heat it for two minutes. Once it’s done, carefully remove it. Wrap it in a towel before applying it to your skin.

Apply it to the affected area. This should also give you about 20 minutes of heat. If you feel you need more, you can give it another minute in the microwave.


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Headshot of Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN

Reviewed by

Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN

Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN, is a pediatric intensive care nurse at Children's Hospital of New York for the past 14 years. Jennifer also has extensive experience teaching Maternity and Obstetric Nursing, as well as Pediatrics Nursing.