In a study of almost 24,000 pregnant women, doctors found that hyperthermia — a body temperature of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher — was a teratogenic risk. Abnormally high temperatures disrupt protein synthesis in the embryo, causing premature cell death and interrupting the blood supply from the placenta. Because of this, babies can be born with malformations of the heart, brain, spine, and spinal cord. While fevers are unavoidable, pregnant women are cautioned against spending more than 10 minutes at a time in hot tubs and saunas.
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