Can I take a bath during pregnancy?

Pregnant? Relax in a Bath Safely With These Tips

Pregnant Woman Lying in Bath.
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You may have heard that taking a bath while pregnant was a no no. The good news is that adage is simply an old wives tale or folklore. Baths are perfectly safe in pregnancy, if you follow a few simple rules:

  • Keep your bath water warm, not hot. 98.6 degrees is just perfect and feels great.
  • Your water is not broken.

If you meet this criteria you can take a bath every day until you give birth, even several times a day if you're suffering from pregnancy symptoms like backache.

To ensure water temperature, simply use a child's bath tub toy thermometer. You allow it to float and then read how hot the water is, adjusting it as needed.

The reason to avoid hot water or hot tubs is that water above your body temperature, particularly in the first trimester, has the possibility of causing problems with your baby. This could cause potential increase in mom's body temperature, which might reduce blood flow to the baby and cause stress. Normal body temperature is about 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, so keep your baths at or below 100 degrees. 

Some mothers even use water as a pain relief method for labor. Here the temperature is also monitored to keep it around the 100 degree mark for the safety of your baby and you. This form of pain relief is second only to epidural anesthesia, which is why is it very popular.

Pain relief is one of the reasons that women use a bath in pregnancy.

It can be easier to relax in the water. You may feel your aching joints relax as you feel the weight lifted by the buoyancy of the water. It might just be your trained down time to mentally chill and soak. Just because you are pregnant does not mean that you have to give this up. Just pay attention.

"I loved baths before I was pregnant," says Mandy. "When I was pregnant for the first time, my grandmother offhandedly told me not to take a bath. She said that I could hurt the baby. She couldn't tell me how or why it worked that way. I asked my doctor and she said that was nonsense, enjoy a bath, just don't let it get too hot."


Cluett ER, Burns E. Immersion in water in labour and birth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD000111. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000111.pub3

Geissbuhler, V., Eberhard, J., (2000) Waterbirths: A comparative study, a prospective study on more than 2000 water births. Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy Sept-Oct; 15(5):291-300

Gentle Birth Choices Harper, Barbara, R.N., Ch. 6

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