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Is Icy Hot Safe To Use While Pregnant?

Nothing can soothe sore muscles quite like an Icy Hot. I have a bad back, and this is my go-to remedy. It comes in creams, gels, a patch, lotion, balm and you can even find Icy Hot in a sleeve.

This makes it one of the most convenient remedies for sore, aching muscles. Sore muscles and pregnancy seem to go hand in hand, too.

It makes sense that Icy Hot would instantly help you get through the day, especially during later stages of pregnancy when you’re extremely uncomfortable.

Before heading to the pharmacy, it’s important to make sure that Icy Hot is safe to use while pregnant. 

How Does Icy Hot Work?

Icy Hot is only available for external applications. To soothe pain, simply apply a small amount of Icy Hot on the area to be treated. It starts to work by sending a cooling sensation to the area.

Then, you will feel a warming sensation across the area. This blocks the feeling of pain that pain receptors in your brain pick up. 

Icy Hot is also the equivalent of a cooling pad followed by a heating pad. This helps ease pain from inflammation, which is common in arthritis patients.

Aching muscles can also benefit from cooling and heating sensations. They give muscles the much-needed break that they need. 


The ingredients found in Icy Hot are what gives it the ability to provide both a cooling and warming sensation. The ingredients are also the reason why many people wonder if it’s okay to use Icy Hot.

These are the main ingredients found in most Icy Hot products, but other products may contain additional ingredients. It’s important to read the ingredients list on your product before using it. 



Menthol is a common ingredient in topical pain relievers. Menthol is comprised of peppermint and other minty herbs to give it both it’s minty feel and smell.

When it is applied to the body, it instantly activates a protein that opens cold receptors in the body. This leads to the body feeling colder in the area that it was applied. 

Methyl Salicylate

This is another organic compound that can be found in several topical applications. This does not work quite like menthol does, though.

Instead of utilizing cold or warm receptors, methyl salicylate works by irritating the skin. The small amount of irritation distracts the body from the pain that it is in, temporarily relieving pain because it is not felt.


Icy Hot Advanced Cream does contain a high dose of Camphor in addition to menthol and other ingredients. It works as capsaicin does, which is by irritating the skin to block out the pain.

Camphor takes things a step further by also reducing swelling and inflammation as well as temporarily numbing the skin. 


Lidocaine is another ingredient found in Icy Hot, but this is often listed on the label. It is typically advertised as Icy Hot with lidocaine, or as a lidocaine patch.

This ingredient works by desensitizing nerves in the area, making it a wonderful choice for those that have nerve pain. This is a common ingredient in some Icy Hot products, but not all of them. 


This is not a popular ingredient in all pain medications, but it can be found in a few topical creams and gels that have warming properties.

Capsaicin is derived from peppers. This is why chili peppers burn your mouth. When a small amount is used, though, it gives a gentle warming sensation.

That gentle warming sensation slightly irritates the skin so that you feel warmth instead of pain. It blocks the pain receptors the same way that the cooling sensation in menthol does. 

Is Icy Hot Safe While Pregnant?

There are mixed reviews on how safe Icy Hot is while pregnant. Some doctors advise that their patients can use it anywhere on the body because it is applied topically.

Others advise against using it on the stomach, but state that other areas of the body are okay. Last, there are doctors that tell their patients not to use Icy Hot during pregnancy at all. The mixed reviews can be a bit confusing. 

Ask Your Obstetrician

pregnant woman with doctor

Every doctor is different and has a different view. It’s important that you give your obstetrician a call about this one.

Most Icy Hot products specifically state that you should ask your doctor if you’re pregnant, which is what you need to do. In addition to asking them is it safe to use Icy Hot while pregnant, ask them why.

Check The Ingredients

If you’re not confident with this, it’s a great idea to check the ingredients to ensure that they are safe to use while pregnant. Go down the ingredient list, and double-check all of them. 


Menthol is generally considered safe to use when pregnant in both topical applications, such as Icy Hot while pregnant, cough drops, and as an essential oil.

There are few studies to determine the risk, but there are also no known side effects of using menthol during pregnancy. Most doctors consider this safe to use in products like Vicks VapoRub too.

However, because the risk is undetermined due to a lack of studies on humans, some doctors shy away from recommending it just in case. 

Methyl Salicylate

The side effects of methyl salicylate on an unborn baby are also unknown. There are no studies to confirm or deny that this can harm a baby, or that it is safe for an unborn baby.

Because of this, most doctors advise against it, or do a risk/benefit assessment. For example, the risk is relatively low, so if a pregnant woman is unable to move and this would help, they might say that it is okay for short periods of time. 



Camphor is generally considered unsafe to use during pregnancy. It is well-known that it should not be taken orally. The risks of applying camphor topically are not known.

However, most people avoid camphor while pregnant due to the fact that it can be harmful if taken by mouth. 


When lidocaine is applied topically, it’s absorbed by the skin and can cross the placenta. In studies on animals, there was no harm to the fetus because of the lidocaine.

However, no studies have ever been conducted on humans to determine whether there is a risk or not. Before using any product with lidocaine, even if it is applied topically, discuss it with your doctor. 


Like the other ingredients, it’s unknown whether this one is safe for use during pregnancy. It should not be ingested by pregnant women or babies, though, so most people try to stay away from it. 

Home Remedies For Pain

If Icy Hot while pregnant isn’t safe, that leaves us with the question of what to do for all the pain and discomfort. Instead of waiting for back pain to go away on its own, try a few of these home remedies to find a little bit of relief.

At the very least, head off to get a massage. Those are harmless and can instantly relieve some tension in your back. 



Heading to a chiropractor for an adjustment might just do the trick. They can not do X-rays while you’re pregnant, but they can make sure that everything is where it is supposed to be.

When we’re pregnant, the fetus pushes against every bone and organ in the area, including our spine, which leads to a massive amount of back pain. Chiropractors can help with that. 

Hot And Cold

You might not be able to use Icy Hot while pregnant, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the soothing relief of hot and cold.

You can still use a heating pad on a low setting while pregnant as well as an ice pack. Alternate between an ice pack and a heating pad, or simply opt for whichever one works. 

Sit Up Straight

When you’re further along in pregnancy, your belly gets bigger which leads to poor posture in most people. This is because your center of gravity goes from your head to your stomach.

It leads to pregnant women having to slouch to feel comfortable, but this can result in serious back pain. If possible, resist the urge to slouch. 


Our bodies are not made to be stationary. Unfortunately, many of us live a sedentary lifestyle thanks to modern conveniences. When this is combined with the discomfort of being pregnant, it can be hard to find the motivation to move around.

However, this is just what your body needs. Go for a short walk daily, or enjoy swimming. Both of these activities are safe while pregnant, and they help build core muscles while increasing flexibility.

If your body is more flexible, you’re less likely to experience pain. Even if you’re already further along, you can see results in as little as one week of daily exercise. 

Icy Hot is occasionally recommended by obstetricians because there are no studies to state that it can be harmful to an unborn baby. Some people choose to err on the side of caution because there are also no studies to prove that it is risk-free, either.

Before making the decision on is it safe to use Icy Hot while pregnant, it’s important to consult your doctor. If they don’t give you the go-ahead, the above methods will work wonders for your back!