Hot Showers During Pregnancy: Safety Precautions For Moms-To-Be

hot showers during pregnancy

If you loved taking hot tubs or hot showers during pregnancy, you may have some questions regarding whether or not hot baths or hot showers during pregnancy are still safe.

This article will cover all things warm and hot water related. From hot baths to hot tubs and everything in between, we’ll talk about pregnant women, body temperature, and the risks of having a hot soak when you’re worn out.

Hot baths during pregnancy

Sometimes the only thing that gets us through the day is knowing there’s a hot bath to look forward to before bed. It calms the mind, helps us to relax, and it’s a small thing you can do for yourself that costs almost nothing.

However, if you are one of the very sore, exhausted pregnant women who would like a hot bath, you will have to wait until after you have recovered from delivery.

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Core body temperature

Your body temperature is critical to the healthy development of your fetus. Think of your belly like an oven. The whole “bun in the oven” describes pregnant women!

When a hot tub of water reaches a specific temperature, it raises your body temperature. This can make for an uncomfortably warm environment for your little one and increases the risks of congenital disabilities and other complications.

hot showers during pregnancy

Hot tubs during pregnancy

Hot tubs and baths are not safe for pregnant women for several reasons. Hot tubs, in particular, are a breeding ground for bacteria and can cause infection for mothers-to-be, and hot tub use has been linked to neural tube defects in babies.

To avoid such high heat exposure, especially during the first trimester, keep your core temperature below 101 degrees Fahrenheit. Doing so avoids heat stress, elevated blood pressure, and significant structural congenital disabilities.

Congenital disabilities research indicates that hot water should be avoided throughout pregnancy, which is crucial in early pregnancy. 

If you think you are in the clear or are considering using a hot tub during pregnancy, consult your doctor first.

Hot showers during pregnancy

A hot bath and hot tubs are a hard no, but things are a little less simple regarding hot showers. Hot showers don’t include the same risks, and you aren’t submerged in hot water when you take showers.

Although there are definite precautions that pregnant women should take before considering hot showers, there is a little more leeway and less risk of congenital disabilities when it comes to this method of relaxing and getting clean.

Can you take a hot shower during pregnancy?

The answer here is: maybe. Although this is most likely not the answer women are looking for, it is more complex regarding showering vs. bathing or submerging in hot water.

Let’s dive into why it isn’t such a simple answer…

The first trimester and hot showers

The first trimester of your pregnancy is when you must be careful in anything that exposes you to a hot temperature because of the high risk of congenital disabilities. Neural tube defects associated with raising your body temperature to above 104 degrees Fahrenheit are not worth risking.

For example, a baby born with spina bifida is far more likely caused by maternal hyperthermia due to soaking or showering in baths and showers that are too hot.

Limit shower time

Many women find that a warm shower or a warm bath is not comfortable enough. However, the risk of miscarriage and other issues is not worth sitting in bath water that is too hot or under a hot shower for extended periods.

Instead, consider limiting your time by setting a timer on your phone for ten minutes and then get out of the shower. Maternal use of a hot shower now and then will most likely not hurt your baby, so long as you keep the time short.

Second and third trimester and hot showers

In the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, hot showers are considered safe if you don’t overheat yourself or become dehydrated. Swelling can occur when you are dehydrated, resulting in poor blood circulation, which is also dangerous for babies and mothers.

If you feel dizzy, thirsty, in pain, or at any point worry that you need to cool off, get out of a hot shower immediately. A mom who knows her limits and pays attention to what her body tells her should be OK if she gets out of the water when she feels it’s getting too hot.

A quick rise in blood pressure can also result in preterm labor, so avoid doing anything that will raise your blood pressure quickly.

hot showers during pregnancy

Warm baths and showers

Warm baths are considered safe because they don’t raise the ambient temperature of a pregnant person. There are also several health benefits to soaking in a warm tub or standing under a warm shower.

The risk of warm water

A shower or bath that does not exceed safe temps carries minimal risk to your baby. 

Several studies suggest that there are almost no risks associated with sitting in a warm bathtub during pregnancy.

Be careful when getting in and out of the shower or bath to avoid falls, and always have a towel or rug down on the floor to prevent slips and falls.

Bath salts and scents

The vagina is exposed to all sorts of bacteria when you sit in a sauna. However, if sauna use is out, can you at least relax those sore muscles with salts and bath bombs? Unfortunately, it’s not recommended.

Anything that can interfere with the acidic balance of your vagina can cause problems, especially during pregnancy.

Skin is also more sensitive during pregnancy, meaning you could have a rash, bumps, or dry and itchy skin when you use these things. As such, pregnant women should also be mindful of bath products they use.

It’s best to avoid these altogether until after your postpartum period has ended. After that point, bath salts and related products for use in the tub are acceptable in moderation.

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Hot showers and pregnancy

Babies in utero make nearly all mothers exhausted and need relaxation. Usually, outside of pregnancy, it’s OK to sit in a hot bath or shower to take some time for yourself.

What you need to remember, however, is that being pregnant means that you are no longer doing anything for yourself. There’s another being to consider, and that being is always with you.

In the same way that you would carefully monitor what you put in your body as far as food and drink go, you should be aware of the things you expose outside your body. This includes water, sunlight, sunscreen, shampoo, lotions, and more.

How to do it safely

You can still have time to yourself in the shower or bath. Just be thoughtful and careful, and don’t let the temperature exceed safe levels. Sitting in high temps for just ten minutes can cause complications in pregnancy.

For now, just keep it a little cooler. Light some candles, put on some music, and know that you can crank up the heat after you’ve recovered from delivery. Until then, happy bathing in cooler temperatures!

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