Hot Water Bath During Pregnancy

Pregnant woman in bathtub

While pregnant, it is important to take extra care of your body. This means thinking carefully about things you possibly would have taken for granted before pregnancy. Simple things like drinking tea or coffee need careful consideration. The same can be said about having a bath. It is important to understand that water temperature while bathing can impact your pregnancy in good and bad ways. This also means that it is important to understand the difference between having a hot bath while pregnant during the first trimester and having one during the third trimester, how the temperature can impact the development of the baby, if it is safe at all, and when it is safe to have a hot bath.

Is a Hot Water Bath During Pregnancy Safe?

Under controlled circumstances and depending on the period of pregnancy, hot baths are safe. This is because depending on the period of your pregnancy, the baby’s development is different. A baby in the first trimester may not have fully developed organs. This, however, changes in the third trimester. Accordingly, the temperature of the bath should also change. It is highly recommended that you stick to ‘warm’ baths during your pregnancy, as that could be the safest guideline for a healthy pregnancy. In this circumstance, doctors define a warm bath as a bath where the water temperature is close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius. This ensures the excess heat doesn’t increase the heart rate, which in turn keeps the blood circulation and flow regulated. In this case, a hot bath can be considered a bath that is relatively close to body temperature and not above.

Benefits of a Hot Water Bath While Pregnant

There are numerous benefits to having a bath where the temperature of the water is close to the body temperature instead of the room temperature. Some of these are:

  • Warm baths can soothe muscles. This can help relax tense muscles due to the weight redistribution caused by the pregnancy.
  • Warm baths with oils can help nurture the skin and relax the body. This can aid in relieving cramps.
  • Warm baths before bed with relaxing essential oils like lavender can help induce sleep and combat pregnancy based insomnia.
  • Having a warm bath before bed can help improve the quality of sleep.
  • Bathing in warm water is known to help ease premature contractions.
  • Soaking in warm water with rock salt can help relax muscles and this can have slight pain relieving properties.
  • Warm water can help in reducing swelling around the ankles, also known as oedema.
  • Soaking in warm water is known to help increase amniotic fluid if your body is low on the same.

Ideal Temperature of Water for a Hot Bath

As mentioned above, the ideal water temperature for pregnant women is close to the body temperature. This is recommended because water that is either too hot or too cold can increase the heart rate. This, in turn, can interrupt the blood flow in your body which can cause harm to the baby. It is recommended that you have a bath either with water at room temperature which is 23 degrees Celsius, or water at body temperature which is 38 degrees Celsius.

How Much Time Should You Spend for a Bath?

Depending on the stage of your pregnancy, it is recommended that you stay in a bath between 10 to 15 minutes at the most. This ensures that the bath you take benefits you while not allowing your body to overheat. Staying longer than 15 minutes in a bath, regardless of the temperature can lead to numerous problems. When pregnant your immune system is still weak; thus, staying in the bath for too long could lead to a fever. Illness aside, staying in a bath for too long can also instigate fatigue and exhaust you.

Woman in bathtub

Why Should You Stay Hydrated?

While warm or hot water is known to soothe your body, it also is known to be an extreme source of dehydration. Dehydration, in general, is extremely dangerous. The risk is doubled while pregnant, however, as this could lead to numerous illnesses and impede your body’s ability to fight infections and viruses. Ensure that you talk to a doctor about the optimal level of hydration required for your body. Make sure that you stay hydrated throughout the day. Take a gap between the time you drink water and go for a bath. It is recommended that you give yourself at least half an hour after drinking water and before going into the bath.

Why Saunas and Baths in the Jacuzzi and Hot Tubs are Not Recommended During Pregnancy

It is highly recommended that you not have a bath in a jacuzzi or have a hot tubs bath while pregnant because:

  • The jets in the jacuzzi along with the high temperatures of the water can combine to harm your child by altering the blood circulation.
  • The steam or sauna is similar. In fact, the risks of a sauna bath in pregnancy is extremely high because the heat is far above body temperature, and a sauna requires your body to be exposed to that heat for extended periods of time.
  • These baths can increase your heart rate quite rapidly and lead to dangerous situations for your baby.
  • Having these types of baths can lead to exhaustion.
  • If the heat in a sauna is too high it could lead to dizziness and extreme dehydration.
  • Jacuzzis or hot tubs could strain your baby due to the pressure of the jet and the impact it has.
  • Saunas, jacuzzis and hot tubs can increase your baby’s heart rate to dangerous levels.
  • Doctors believe that the temperature of a sauna or jacuzzi could cause your baby’s body temperature to increase to dangerous or fatal levels.
  • The extreme increase in body temperature could lead to a shock to your baby’s or your system, which could lead to premature labour or miscarriages.

What if a Sauna Bath is Unavoidable?

If a sauna is unavoidable, then take extreme caution before attempting to have a sauna bath. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when having this type of bath.

  • Consult your doctor, get them to give you clearance and follow up with them regularly.
  • Ensure you don’t stay in a sauna for more than 5-6 minutes at most.
  • Hydrate regularly.
  • Watch your body. Keep an eye on any signs of dizziness or lightheadedness. If you experience these, stop the sauna immediately.
  • Monitor the water and room temperature regularly.
  • Monitor your temperature 15 min after the sauna.

Hot baths or warm baths can be a source of relaxation. It is recommended that you monitor your body and consult doctors before having a hot water bath, if you feel uncomfortable during your bath or after it, please consult a doctor immediately.

Also Read: Hot Flashes During Pregnancy