Bath Temperatures For Pregnant Women: What’s Safe?

When it comes to bath temperatures, how hot is too hot?

It used to be thought that women should avoid taking baths all together while pregnant. Over time, and with the help of new research techniques, we now know that expecting mothers have no reason to be afraid of taking baths. And yet, doctors urge pregnant women to steer clear of saunas and hot tubs due to the stress that excessive heat can place on the baby. So, when it comes to taking a bath at home, how hot is too hot? 

Especially during the first trimester, it is very important to keep an eye on the temperature of your bath water. The water should not be any higher than 36 degrees Celsius, or 98 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a good idea to invest in a bath thermometer at the beginning of your pregnancy; you can continue to use it once your little one arrives. As a rule of thumb, you should be able to get into the water without having to ease yourself in. The idea is to keep the water around your body temperature, so your bath shouldn’t be making you sweat or change the colour of your skin to pink.

If the bath water is too hot, you run the risk of damaging your baby’s developing cells. Remember, you can cool off by sweating but your baby can’t, so it is best to stick to using warm water as opposed to hot. The hot water can also cause you to feel faint due to a lowering of your blood pressure. Even during your warm bath, stay in the tub while it drains to allow your body to slowly cool down to avoid a sudden drop in blood pressure. 

There is also much debate over whether or not moms-to-be should indulge in the use of bubble bath and bath oil products. The concern is that they may cause vaginal infections, such as thrush. But Catherine Lynch, professor and interim chair for the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of South Florida, says that because your cervix is closed, “there is no danger of these products reaching your baby”. 

So don’t deprive yourself of a nice luxurious bubble bath, just keep the temperature warm and soak in the benefits. De-stress, reduce the swelling in your feet and even prevent premature contractions!  

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