July 23, 2024

Whole Family

Trailblazing Family Excellence

Can You Take a Bath While Pregnant?

4 min read
Can You Take a Bath While Pregnant?

Along with that so-called glow, pregnancy often also comes with a whole bunch of aches. If you are someone who loves to take baths to relax and ease body pains, you may be wondering, can I take a bath while pregnant? The simple answer is yes but with caution.

Here is everything you need to know about taking baths while pregnant.

Can You Take Baths During Pregnancy?

Baths can be OK during pregnancy as long as you pay attention to the temperature of the water. Make sure it’s below 100 degrees Fahrenheit as hot temperatures can impact the fetus. 

You also need to be aware of how long you stay in the water in order to avoid a vaginal infection. “Aside from the risk due to the elevation of your body temperature, soaking in a bath can change your vaginal pH and predispose you to vaginal irritation, vaginal infections, and urinary tract infections,” says Anar Yukhayev, MD, OB-GYN at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Katz Women’s Hospital.

Is It Safe To Take a Hot Water Bath While Pregnant?

Hot baths are a different story. Few studies can point to hard evidence that hot baths are either good or bad, but pregnant people should use caution when taking one.

“Staying in a hot tub or bath for more than 10 minutes could raise your body temperature higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit,” says Dr. Yukhayev. “There is insufficient evidence on this topic, but from the literature that is published, it appears that raising your body temperature higher than 101-102.2 degrees Fahrenheit can cause an increased risk for birth defects and miscarriages.” The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says pregnant people should never let their core body temperature rise above 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit.

Part of the reason for the lack of research is that there are serious ethical obligations to consider when including pregnant people in any study. The health and well-being of both parent and fetus are necessary, and that may sometimes prevent studies from being able to find conclusive answers to questions. For example, it would be ethically wrong to try and crank up a hot bath to see where the bright line exists for how well a fetus can cope with temperature changes. Therefore, the existing data is limited, and health care providers will always tend to be cautious—with good reason.

But that doesn’t mean experts have stopped wondering how safe a hot temperature is for someone who is pregnant. In 2018, the British Journal of Sports Medicine published a study that found pregnant people can safely work out in outdoor temperatures of 77 degrees Fahrenheit. They can also enjoy a hot bath of 104 degrees Fahrenheit or a sauna set to 158 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 20 minutes without worry. It is critical to note, however, this study wasn’t a controlled experiment intended to prove or disprove the safety of hot baths and saunas during pregnancy.

So, if you want to take a hot bath while pregnant, it’s important to always consult your health care provider before hopping in.

What Are the Risks of Taking a Bath During Pregnancy?

The ACOG says the risk for birth defects from high temperatures remains a concern. That’s why it advises against using saunas or hot tubs during pregnancy.

Research on animals has also found a link between an increased maternal temperature and neural tube defects. Timing and duration play a role as well, according to the research.

Dr. Yukhayev agrees: “I would generally recommend staying away from hot tubs to avoid the increased risk for birth defects and miscarriage.” Again, you also want to be aware of vaginal infections.

Does Risk Depend on the Stage of Pregnancy?

Does the risk of birth defects or miscarriage from taking a hot bath change depending on what week of pregnancy or trimester the parent is in? That depends on who you ask.

While some information online may state a brief bath in water under 105 degrees Fahrenheit is likely safe, Dr. Yukhayev says hot baths should be avoided because the risk is simply too big.

“Earlier in the pregnancy, it can cause miscarriages and birth defects, and later on in the pregnancy, soaking in the tub can cause an infection,” says Dr. Yukhayev.

Plus, adds Dr. Yukhayev, “The elevated temperature can cause decreased blood flow to the baby, which can in turn cause distress, so, it’s not safe in any phase of the pregnancy.”

How Do You Safely Take a Bath During Pregnancy?

If you are really needing a bath during pregnancy, there are ways to keep it safe.

  • Monitor the water temperature. Keep it between 98.6 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. You can do this by using a bath thermometer. 
  • Time your bath. Pay attention to how long you stay in the bath—about 10 minutes or less is best.
  • Avoid hot tubs and saunas. Even if you’d love a warmer stress reliever, it’s a good idea to skip hot tubs and saunas until you give birth.

The Bottom Line

It can be OK to take a bath during pregnancy as long as you don’t stay in too long and you avoid hot temperatures. A hot bath during pregnancy carries risks, so you should talk to your health care provider before soaking in a tub or sauna of any kind.

Copyright © All rights reserved. | Newsphere by AF themes.