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The 6 Best Heating Pads For Pregnancy Back Pain

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Dealing with a sore, achy back? The best heating pads for pregnancy back pain may be able to give you some relief if your doctor says they’re okay for you to use and the best ones offer easy-to-control temperatures. Top picks for heating pads will come in a size that best meets your needs — smaller heating pads are great for providing targeted relief on spots of your back, neck, and shoulders, while larger options are ideal for covering more surface area at once — and will feature a heating element that you prefer, whether that be electric or microwave.

Dr. Elizabeth Poynor, PhD, a board-certified OB-GYN explains that heating pads are considered safe for most, so long as proper precautions are taken. First, make sure the device is not too hot overall. “Temperature wise, the pad should be hot enough to feel relief, but not so hot that it's painful to place on your skin,” Dr. Poynor noted. This is where models with multiple heat settings — pregnant people should always start with the lowest temperature setting — and an automatic shut-off, in case you accidentally fall asleep while using it, are helpful.

Electric heating pads typically need to remain plugged into an outlet to work (limiting where you’ll be able to utilize them), however the major plus is that they’ll maintain a consistent temperature. If you don’t want to deal with a power cord, some electric models feature a rechargeable battery, so you won’t have to keep it plugged in during use. Microwavable heating pads get warm super quickly for back relief in a snap, but it can be difficult to control the device’s temperature (again, be super cautious when microwaving the heating pad to ensure that it’s not too hot). Plus, microwavable heating pads won’t maintain their temperature for long — you’ll have to pop it back into the microwave to warm it, so consider whether that's a deal breaker for you.

Regardless of whether you go with an electric or microwavable model, there are some general heating pad features to look for. Some picks are contoured or shaped for specific areas of your body, allowing the heat to better reach these spots. Many picks are considered wearable as well, meaning they have a handy adjustable strap or magnetic closures to hold them firmly in place. Also, picks with machine-washable removable covers are easier to clean, if that’s a priority of yours.

These six heating pads are the best options for back pain relief, boasting tons of positive reviews from parents-to-be on Amazon. Finally, when you use your heating pad, Dr. Poynor notes that you should use the pad for no longer than 30 to 45 minutes at a time and make sure that “direct skin exposure is avoided, and the heating pad isn't placed directly on the abdomen.” That being said, everyone’s pregnancy will be different, so speak with your doctor before utilizing a heating pad, just to ensure it’s safe for you and your baby.

1. A Fan-Favorite Electric Heating Pad

At 24 by 12 inches in size, this heating pad is large enough to cover most (if not all!) of your back, providing soothing relief from pregnancy aches and pains. And since it’s wildly popular on Amazon, with a solid 4.5-star rating overall after 54,000-plus reviews, you can rest assured it’s a high-quality pick that works really well. The electric heating pad boasts a 9-foot cord to easily reach an outlet for power. Use the ergonomic LCD controller to adjust the six heat settings that range from warm to high (aka 105 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit). The entire unit will automatically shut off on its own after two hours. The pad itself features a soft, micro plush cover that’s machine washable should it get dirty and will make it easier to avoid direct contact with the heating pad. Choose from gray, blue, or pale green color options, all of which have a 5-year warranty.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: “I was 8 months pregnant when I bought this. I was having chronic back pain( as most pregnant women do) and this changed my comfort level drastically. The heating pad is very well made. [...] The controls are very user friendly with 4 simple buttons. The screen lights up at night so it makes it easy to use at night. [...] Perfect for your back. I’m extremely happy with my purchase and I highly recommend! Very versatile and efficient. Well made!”

2. A Small Microwavable Heating Pad For Targeted Pain Relief

For ultra-targeted pain relief that’s also super portable, consider this small heating pad (it’s 12 by 6 inches in size, to be exact). The budget-friendly buy is filled with rice and flaxseed, so it’s flexible to easily conform to different areas of your body including your shoulders, lower back, and more. To use, heat the pad in the microwave for approximately 90 to 120 seconds. Add increments of 30 seconds as needed for additional warmth. This pick is fleece on one side for moist warmth and cotton on the other for plenty of smooth softness. While you can’t wash the heating pad, you can wipe it down and disinfect it if you need to.

This heating pad is fragrance-free, however it also comes in a lavender option should that strike your fancy. This pick comes with a one-year warranty.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: “I’m pregnant and dealing with lower back and neck/shoulder pain. This is a really nice portable heating pad [...] Great moist heat and it stays nice and hot after only 1.5 mins in the microwave. Highly recommend!”

3. A Full-Back Wearable Heating Pad

With a solid 4.5-star rating overall on Amazon after more than 7,500 reviews, reviewers on the site absolutely adore this heating pad for its extra-large size (it’s a whopping 29 by 24 inches!) to cover your neck, shoulders, and entire back… yes, please! The wearable pick has an adjustable strap plus magnetic closures to ensure that it’ll hug your body. Powered by electricity, the heating pad needs to be plugged into an outlet to work. Choose from four heat settings — warm, low, medium, and high — ranging from 110 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. An automatic shutoff ensures this pick won’t run for more than two hours.

This heating pad features a silky, anti-pill cover that’s actually machine washable. Select between gray and sea glass color options. If you have an issues, this pick comes with a 5 year warranty for your peace of mind.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: “I absolutely love the heating pad. It is so soft and is able to get my neck/shoulders as well as my lower back that is in constant pain during my pregnancy. It has been a lifesaver these past few weeks.”

4. A Rechargeable Heating Pad

Like the idea of an electric model but don’t want to be tethered to a power cord? This heating pad is the perfect solution — it boasts a rechargeable battery that only needs to be plugged into an outlet for charging, but then the heating pad can be utilized totally cord-free after that. And the even better part? The battery will run for an incredible 4 hours on a single charge, and the entire unit will get warm in literally just 3 seconds… talk about instant relief! Choose from three heat settings (low, medium, and high).

The heating pad measures 9.5 by 12 inches in size, so it’s more petite for targeted relief, and it’s quite flexible to conform to your back as needed. The wearable pick features an adjustable strap to hold it in place. The entire thing is covered in a machine-washable micro mink fabric that’s super soft to the touch.

Note that this pick will turn off when the battery needs to be re-charged, but doesn’t specifically have an auto-shutoff.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: “Used this for mid back pain. It’s very easy to use, portable and heats up quickly. It is perfect for traveling.”

5. A Large Microwavable Heating Pad

When Amazon reviewers use phrases like “very comforting,” “really amazing,” and “like a warm hug” to describe a heating pad, you know that it has to be good… and that’s exactly what they have to say about this microwavable heating pad! The pad is large in size to cover most of your back (it’s 22 by 13 inches), and it’s stuffed with moisture-releasing clay beads that provide soothing relief when heated. The beads are separated into several different sections, so they don’t end up clumped together in one end of the pad during use. A soft fleece exterior keeps the pad feeing cozy, and can be removed and washed as needed. To warm the heating pad, place it in the microwave for 1-minute intervals until a comfortable temperature is reached.

The heating pad comes with a 1-year guarantee.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: “This heating pad is the best one I have ever used. It is large enough to cover my entire back, and the moist heat is the best.”

6. A Wearable Electric Heating Pad With A Contoured Shape

If you have pain in your mid and lower back specifically, this heating pad from Sunbeam is a good choice for you — it’s actually perfectly contoured to fit these areas (it’s about 23 by 15 inches in size), providing targeted pain relief. Plus, it’s wearable thanks to an adjustable strap that extends about 85 inches around. And Amazon reviewers? Well they’re totally in love with it, giving the heating pad a knockout 4.5-star rating overall on the site, after 6,500-plus reviews. Reviewers indicate it heats up quickly and is super cozy, since the padded pick is covered with a soft micro mink material that you can remove and machine wash. The electric heating pad needs to be plugged into an outlet for power — it has a 9 foot power cord for a long reach — and it has four different heating settings. The entire unit shuts off on its own after two hours.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: “This is better than any ordinary heating pad. I regularly have back pain and this is exactly what I needed. [...] I love that it conforms to your body, so it is much more comfortable and the heat gets where you need it fast. The straps also allow you to change positions without it moving. It is much more convenient for your back than the regular heating pads. This is perfect for people with chronic back pain. I also think that this would be great for pregnant women.”

Expert:

Dr. Elizabeth Poynor, PhD, board-certified OBGYN, and Lead Scientific Advisor for Hormone University and Glow Botanica