Pregnancy can take a toll on you both mentally and physically. Taking a relaxing bath can help alleviate stress and help you recharge, but is it safe? Can you take a bath while pregnant? Here are five things you need to know.
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1. Bathing is Fine as Long as the Water is below 100F
Bathing during a pregnancy is perfectly fine, provided you’re smart about it. Never bathe in water that is 100F or hotter as this can cause harm to the baby. A typical warm bath should be fine, but if you’re concerned, speak with your doctor to find out if bathing is appropriate for you.
While bathing may be safe, experts recommend that pregnant women avoid bathing right after eating as this can lead to nausea, vomiting or other digestive issues.
2. High Water Temperatures can Cause Pregnancy Complications
Doctors advise pregnant women to avoid hot tubs, saunas and bathing in water at temperatures higher than 100F. Doing so can cause complications or harm the baby.
Hot water temperatures can lead to:
- Weakness and dizziness
- A dip in blood pressure, which could increase the likelihood of a miscarriage or deprive the baby of oxygen.
- Birth defects, especially if exposure occurs during the first trimester.
To be on the safe side, never bathe in hot water. If you must take a bath, keep the water cool or lukewarm.
3. Water Cannot Enter the Uterus
Many moms fear that bath water can actually enter the uterus and hurt the baby. While a valid concern, it’s important to remember that your baby is protected by the amniotic sac. Unless your water breaks, your baby will be protected from the water you’re bathing in.
4. Epsom Salt Bath and Pregnancy: Is it Safe?
Many midwives and obstetricians recommend taking Epsom salt baths during pregnancy to help relieve discomfort and provide other benefits. Epsom salt baths are perfectly safe, provided you ensure the water temperature isn’t too hot.
Some of the many benefits of Epsom salt baths include:
- Increased magnesium: Studies have shown that soaking in Epsom salts for 12 minutes can increase magnesium levels in the blood. Magnesium is an essential nutrient, but it’s even more essential during a pregnancy. It regulates cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It also promotes relaxation and can aid in calming anxiety.
- Pain relief: Epsom salts help relieve inflammation, which can bring some much-needed pain relief during a pregnancy. Warm water temperatures combined with the soothing effects of magnesium will help relieve tired, achy and sore muscles.
- Remove toxins: Epsom salts contain sulfates, which naturally detoxify the body and flush out heavy metals. The salts will also help exfoliate the skin, which will leave you with a youthful glow.
- Hemorrhoid relief: Many pregnant women swear by Epsom salt for hemorrhoids. Constipation is an unfortunate side effect of pregnancy, and Epsom salts can help alleviate hemorrhoids that may pop up as a result. It’s the anti-inflammatory properties of the salts that help reduce or eliminate hemorrhoids.
- Relax and improve your mood: When soaking in an Epsom salt bath, your skin absorbs magnesium, which causes the body to produce more serotonin. Low serotonin levels can lead to depression and irritability, whereas higher levels make us feel happier and relaxed. Serotonin also promotes healthy sleep, so taking a bath at night can help you enjoy a better night of sleep.
5. A Thermometer Can Help Ensure Your Baths are Safe
Doctors recommend bathing in water that is as close to your body temperature as possible. This will ensure that the water is comfortable for both you and the baby. How can you tell what temperature the water is?
A thermometer can help. Experts recommend purchasing a thermometer that was designed for baby use. Remember, you want to avoid bathing in water that is higher than 100F to prevent complications.
Bathing while you’re pregnant is perfectly safe as long as the water temperature isn’t too hot, and you’re careful getting in and out of the tub. Relaxing in a warm bath is a great way to relieve tired, sore muscles, and adding Epsom salts can provide additional benefits. While bathing is safe, be sure to avoid hot tubs and saunas during your pregnancy as temperatures are higher than recommended.