Avoid bubble bath, scented oils, and bath salts when getting ready for that warm bath because they can change the vagina’s acidic balance and result in thrush, a common yeast infection. Although thrush is treatable, not all medications may be safe to use while pregnant, so consult your doctor. Babies can catch thrush from their mother if she has it at the time of delivery, but it is easily treatable in adults.
For longer than 10 minutes, pregnant women shouldn’t take a bath that is hot enough to raise their core body temperature to 101-102°F. Why? Because hyperthermia, a condition in which the body absorbs more heat than it expels, can result from a body temperature above 101°F or 102°F (experts disagree on this number). Studies have connected a high core body temperature to neural tube defects like spina bifida, especially early in pregnancy.
Unless your tub retains heat well or you enjoy taking baths that are almost scalding, you probably have nothing to worry about. However, to avoid any problems, keep the water’s temperature warm enough to be comfortable but not so hot that it makes you perspire or turns your skin red. If you experience flushing or excessive perspiration, this is a sign that your body temperature is rising. If that occurs, exit the tub and allow the water to cool.
Bathing can ease sore muscles and calm your nerves; it’s like a warm blanket for your body. The expression “bun in the oven” can, however, be taken to an unhealthy extreme if your body temperature rises too much, which raises your risk of pregnancy complications and fetal abnormalities.
What if you like your bath on the warm side? A 2019 study reviewed evidence and concluded that water baths up to 104°F (40°C) will not raise core temperature to unsafe levels for up to 20 minutes. However, it’s important that you’re aware of how you react to the temperature.
Most pregnant women take baths to relieve stress and pain. It makes sense why: A few lit candles, soothing Epsom salts, background music, and a glass of ice water while you’re in the tub could be just what you need to relax and mentally get ready for the birth of your child.
You wouldn’t likely run the bath so hot as to endanger your infant. However, to be safe, check the water’s temperature with your wrist or forearm before entering. It should feel comfortable and not burning hot. If you’re worried, you can also use a bath thermometer to check the temperature of the water.
Some expectant mothers worry that bath water might enter the uterus and harm their unborn child. Fortunately, your uterus, cervix, and amniotic sac all provide protection for your baby. Therefore, your baby is entirely cut off from the water you’re soaking in unless your water breaks. In fact, baths can be used during labor to lessen discomfort. (Due to the risk of infection, taking a bath at home after your water breaks is not advised. ).
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