Hot Baths and Pregnancy: Can Pregnant Women Take Hot Baths?
Can pregnant women take hot baths? You may promptly say yes but think again.
While it’s generally okay to take a hot bath while you’re expecting (provided the water is not too hot), you should never soak in hot water for over 10 minutes. Especially if it’s so hot that it might raise your body temperature to above 102.2°F. Such a temperature can cause you and your unborn child several problems, including:
- Dizziness and weakness
- A reduction in blood pressure, leaving the baby without nutrients and oxygen, which may increase the risk of miscarriage
- Birth defects, particularly in the 1st trimester
This is why steam baths, hot tubs, saunas, and ultra-hot bathtubs are unsafe during pregnancy. It’s fine to have a hot shower but steer clear of long, steamy showers.
Why Hot Baths Aren’t Recommended During Pregnancy
When you have a hot bath, it raises your core body temperature. In general, this doesn’t pose any immediate threat to your health. But during pregnancy, your baby might be at risk if your core body temperature becomes too high, causing hyperthermia.
Overheating may cause various birth defects, particularly in the first 12 weeks (1st trimester) when your baby’s organs are forming. The spinal cord and brain are the most at-risk organs when it comes to hyperthermia.
The other issue with very hot baths is that they reduce your blood pressure, which could impact the flow of blood to your child. This can potentially be risky at any time during pregnancy. You could also start to feel dizzy, lightheaded or even nauseated. Not fun at all! Lowered blood pressure is definitely not safe for pregnant women since it could most likely make you feel faint, which might cause you to loose your balance.
Be wary of spending your time in a sauna or hot spa, too. These places have an even greater risk of overheating. As most know, although a hot bath will cool down over time, a spa or sauna’s temperature is kept at a regularly high level. This is why health professionals generally advise pregnant women against spending time in saunas and spas.
Hot Bath Alternatives During Pregnancy
The safest substitute for hot baths if you’re pregnant is soaking yourself in a tepid or warm bathtub. You’ll reap all of the hot bath benefits without compromising your own health or that of your baby.
Nonetheless, always closely monitor the water’s temperature and your own core body temperature. Take lots of fluids to maintain hydration throughout the bathing process, and step out of the bathtub immediately if you have any of the symptoms mentioned above.
Like many moms-to-be, the achiest, sorest muscles are found in your feet, ankles, and legs. If this is also the case with you, consider soaking just your lower body in lukewarm water to relieve the pain.
All in all, you should try to take a few hot baths as much as possible when you’re pregnant. Might as well go for other activities that promote rest and relaxation, including listening to music, reading, or taking long walks rather than taking risks that might affect you and your little one.
Are You Pregnant and Planning to Take a Hot Bath?
If you’re having second thoughts, then you probably shouldn’t. Taking a bath is an amazing way to relax and soothe muscles while pregnant, but taking it too hot is never a good idea. Ensure that the water is just right. Go with a warm bath, rather than enduring a scorching hot bath.