But given pregnancy can come with some surprising do’s and don’ts, it’s important to understand the safety implications of what hot water can do to a pregnant woman’s body, and particularly their body temperature.
So let’s jump in and investigate the effects of hot water during pregnancy, including taking hot baths and showers, and drinking hot water.
Table of Contents
Can You Take A Bath When Pregnant?
Soothing, relaxing, and calming, who doesn’t like soaking in a bath?
While I was pregnant I found that taking a bath helped soothe my sore muscles and was a great way to have a bit of me-time, two things which are vitally important when expecting.
But is it safe to have a bath while pregnant?
If you are a fan of soaking in the tub, the good news is yes, you can safely take a bath during pregnancy.
However, there’s one important consideration, and that’s regarding the temperature of the water.
We recently covered that pregnant women should not take baths or showers that are too cold (cold water is generally fine, but avoid freezing cold water).
And similar precautions also apply to bathing in hot water, meaning taking a bath in warm water is fine, but you should avoid filling your bathtub with water that is too hot.
Hot Bath During Pregnancy – Safe or Not?
First up, it’s important to realize that having a bath when pregnant is perfectly safe and acceptable, provided the water is not too hot.
So that means warm baths are safe for pregnant women, but hot baths are not.
Experts recommend that when pregnant, the temperature of your bath water should not be higher than 98 degrees Fahrenheit (36.6 degrees Celsius).
This is probably slightly cooler than the temperature you are used to, but given it’s very common for pregnant women to overheat during their pregnancy, a warm rather than hot bath might actually be just what you want anyway.
To avoid guesswork when running your bath and for peace of mind, you might want to use a thermometer to check the water temperature, especially as you might find it useful when bathing your newborn.
The reason why pregnant women are advised not to have hot baths is because having one may raise your core body temperature, something you should avoid during pregnancy.
Incidentally, this is why you should limit the use of heating pads to 10-20 minutes when pregnant, so you don’t raise your body temperature too much.
Precautions When Taking Baths During Pregnancy
There are some important things you should avoid and be aware of before plunging into a bath while pregnant, including:
- Ensure the water is warm but not too hot: the temperature of the water is no higher than 98 degrees Fahrenheit (36.6 degrees Celsius).
- Don’t stay in the bath for too long: stick to shorter baths of around 10 minutes or so to lower the chances of raising your body temperature, and because longer baths increase the chance of catching an infection.
- Give the extras a miss: avoid bubbles, bath bombs and oils as they may cause irritation and even vaginal infections (Epsom salts are ok though).
Can I Take A Hot Shower During Pregnancy?
Showers can be just as relaxing, if not more so, than a bath, so you might be wondering if you should avoid taking a hot shower when pregnant.
During pregnancy, it’s best to stick to warm showers and to avoid staying in the shower for too long.
Again the reason comes down to not elevating your core body temperature.
To be more specific, when you’re pregnant it’s important you keep your body temperature below 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 degrees Celsius).
This is because a rise in core body temperature has been linked to birth defects, particularly in the first trimester.
There are also studies to suggest that a raised body temperature can lead to premature labor and delivery in the third trimester.
Can Hot Water Cause Miscarriage?
Yes, there is some evidence to suggest that bathing in hot water can increase the risk of miscarriage in early pregnancy, although the evidence isn’t conclusive.
The bigger risk, as mentioned above, is that hot water can raise your body temperature, which can result in health problems for your baby including an increased risk of neural tube defects (NTDs).
Is Drinking Hot Water During Pregnancy Safe?
That might seem like a lot, so it’s reassuring to know that pregnant women can safely drink warm and hot water while expecting, and warm water actually has some benefits, which we’ll now cover.
See also: Does Cumin Tea Induce Labor?
Benefits of Drinking Warm Water During Pregnancy
Some of the known benefits of drinking warm water while pregnant include:
- Reduces stress
- Improves hydration
- Helps ensure proper digestion
- Boosts metabolism
- Helps combat morning sickness and heartburn
- Enhances bronchial health
- Increases blood circulation
- Detoxifies your body