Can Warm Baths Help Dilate? 7 Natural Ways To Induce Labor Safely

Can Warm Baths Help Dilate

Pregnant women nearing their due date, or sometimes even past that point, start to wonder what they can do to move things along and induce labor naturally at home before going to the hospital and ending up medically induced.

If you ask for advice, you will find all sorts of off-the-wall suggestions for what will help cause labor induction faster. 

If inducing labor on your own is something you are interested in doing, you may have started to wonder, can warm baths help dilate and induce labor?

This article will discuss the benefits and risks of taking a hot bath to induce labor and how to dilate faster so that you can induce labor naturally rather than having it done medically.

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Inducing labor

Many pregnant women would rather opt for inducing labor themselves in the comfort of their own homes as opposed to going to a hospital or birthing center and having a healthcare provider induce labor.

Most women with this opinion are women who have either been medically induced before or have spoken with other women who have.

Medical induction

Often, a medical induction takes place before early labor has a chance to start. 

It is usually performed in a medical setting with an IV medication that causes your uterus to contract. As the uterine wall contracts, your baby’s head is pushed further into the birth canal. 

As the contractions start to get stronger, your baby is delivered from your body.

While this may sound like a great way to have a baby, it often takes a long time and causes significant pain because the chemicals used to induce labor are unnatural. 

Your unborn baby can end up stressed, complications are more likely during induction than in natural labor, and it can lead to exhaustion and even the need for an emergency c-section.

Natural induction

When you gently push your body into labor by trying things at home that can safely cause cervical ripening and contractions, your body is put into a natural state of labor. 

You can feel secure in your home when uterine contractions begin and won’t have to worry about being in the hospital for hours, unable to eat, move around, or do much of anything.

When is it safe to induce labor?

Women start to count down the days to delivery day once the third trimester begins. Being pregnant for the better part of a year can take its toll on a person, and the excitement of meeting your new baby can be overwhelming. 

However, you should be careful about trying to induce labor if your body is not ready.

Preterm labor

You may be able to start labor on your own, but that doesn’t mean that it’s safe to do so. The birthing process depends a lot on the health and development of your baby to be done safely. 

Rushing labor can have devastating results.

Women sometimes start to dilate weeks before they are due. It’s relatively common to be dilated a few centimeters for several weeks before any signs of labor present themselves. 

In any case, trying to induce labor on your own before your baby has reached full term is not recommended.

Give it time

Most doctors strongly suggest waiting until you are at least 39 weeks pregnant before trying to induce labor naturally. Others go so far as instructing women to wait until their due date has come and gone.

This is partly because due dates are not exact. You don’t want to risk complications by starting labor when you think you are 38 weeks, only to find out that your due date must have been wrong, and you were really only about 35 weeks when labor started.

Can Warm Baths Help Dilate

Can warm baths help dilate

There is some division in this idea that you can induce labor with a warm bath. Warm baths can be risky because of the dangers of high temperatures and exposure to bacteria.

No hot baths

Can a hot bath induce labor? Evidence shows that not only is a hot bath not safe for pregnant women, but immersion in water over 98 degrees Fahrenheit can prevent delivery, as well as cause infection and an increased risk of birth defects.

Never sit in a hot tub, as the water is too hot. A hot bath raises your body temperature, creating an unpleasant and unhealthy environment for your baby. 

Use of bubbles, bath bombs, or bath salts is also not recommended, as it can cause yeast infections and skin irritation.

Conflicting opinions

While you should skip soaking in a bathtub for very long at any stage of pregnancy, most doctors agree that a warm bath that does not exceed 98 degrees can help to relax your body. 

Warm baths may also help to stimulate contractions or labor induction. This is because a warm bath can reduce stress and make you feel good, which releases oxytocin, one of the hormones that promote contractions and causes your body to go into full-scale labor.

Regardless of whether or not you choose to take a bath to throw yourself into labor, there are some rules that you should always abide by. Your bath water should never be too hot.

Hot tubs are a breeding ground for bacteria, which can cause infection, and hot water can cause issues for your baby. Avoid products like bath salts and choose warm water over a hot tub of water.

Ways to induce labor

If you’d rather wait until your postpartum recovery is complete and then treat yourself to a hot bath rather than risk any complications that water can bring, there are many other ways to induce labor that you can try.

How to dilate faster

If you are hoping to dilate faster and you have been given the all-clear from your doctor to induce labor, the following are some natural means you can do so at home: 

1. Nipple stimulation

Nipple stimulation is a way to induce safe labor. 

Start with one nipple and gently massage and stimulate to start contractions. This can help to induce labor because of the uterine contractions that are caused by the hormones released. 

Nursing mothers experience this same contracting when nursing.

Can Warm Baths Help Dilate

2. Red raspberry leaf tea

Whether this one works or not, it is perfectly safe and is one of the easiest things to try, especially if you like tea. It only involves drinking this tea in reasonably large quantities.

3. Castor oil

Consuming castor oil to jump-start labor is a highly contested and debated method. While there is nothing to prove that it works, it is a powerful laxative. 

The thought process behind it is that since your bowels are working overtime, your abdomen and uterus will also contract, which can force your body into labor.

Be sure to ask your doctor about any methods you choose to employ to induce labor, but this method should not be tried unless you have spoken with your doctor first.

4. Evening primrose oil

Women swear by this one, and since it can be taken in a capsule, it is another easy way to try inducing labor on your own. This is another hot topic method, so ensure you get doctor approval before trying it.

5. Spicy foods

Spicy foods work the same way as the castor oil that some women consume. No specific food will lead to dilation, but it can’t hurt to try if you like spicy snacks and meals!

6. Pressure points

Pressure points in the feet through massage may be a natural way to induce labor. Applying pressure to certain parts of your body is an activity that people swear by, and even if it doesn’t help to move the pregnancy into the next phase, it can help to de-stress.

7. Sex

Pregnancy started because of it, and if you’re pregnant and over it, you can use sex as a way to induce labor. 

Sex will not harm you or your baby if you have no complications. 

Light bleeding sometimes occurs as the pregnancy concludes and your body works to ripen the cervix. However, as long as you don’t feel unsafe or have heavy bleeding or pain, sex is fine until contractions start or your water breaks.

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A hot bath and other tips that may help to induce labor

Women swear by many tips that helped them induce labor – from the dangerous to the ridiculous; always be careful and talk to your doctor before attempting anything. 

A hot bath can lead to birth defects and infections that can affect your baby if the water is too hot. Many other methods of inducing also carry risks with them.

The best way to induce labor on your own is to relax and let it happen without the aid of a hot bath. 

Tensing up when under stress is a natural defense mechanism, so the chances of you starting contractions while stressed out are significantly reduced. 

Instead, try getting plenty of rest and putting your feet up when you can. Your baby will be here soon enough.

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