A hot bath is known to be a method to help reduce the stress levels of people.
This is true during pregnancy, as hot baths are also known to induce labor as it facilitates some hormones to help the body get into labor.
You just have to make sure the temperature of the water is not too high as it can also cause distress to the mother and the baby inside of her.
Doing something to help induce labor is very common, especially for those who are already past their due date.
In this article, let’s find out the reasons causing hot baths to induce labor and more.
Hot Baths to Induce Labor
The human body produces a hormone called oxytocin which is produced in the hypothalamus and secreted to the bloodstream via the pituitary gland.
This pea-sized gland regulates the body’s functions and well-being.
Oxytocin, on the other hand, is what most call the “happy hormone” or the “feel-good hormone” simply because it acts as a chemical messenger in the brain.
In pregnancy, oxytocin has two main functions which are as follows:
- Contraction of the womb – This is during childbirth when the uterine muscles are stimulated by oxytocin causing them to contract, allowing the delivery of the baby.
- Lactation – In breastfeeding, oxytocin aids in the flow of the milk to the ducts of the breast allowing it to pass through the nipples of the mother.
The connection between hot baths to induce labor and oxytocin is very significant.
Another theory that is believed to be true about hot baths inducing labor is cervical ripening which happens before the contraction begins and the cervix starts to dilate.
Risks in Taking Hot Baths to Induce Labor
Just like any other methods known to induce labor, there are also potential risks in hot baths to induce labor which are as follows:
Anything that enters the body, especially during pregnancy, can be a risk for infection.
Therefore, when taking hot baths, always remember to avoid harmful products that might contain chemicals that pose danger to the pregnancy and the baby such as:
- Bubble bath
- Bath bombs
2. Increased Water Temperature
A pregnant woman should not bathe in water above 102.2° F. This is likely to happen when staying in the water beyond 10 minutes.
Other Ways to Help Induce Labor
Taking a hot bath to induce labor is just one example. There are also other ways which are as follows:
- Intercourse – Semen is known to contain prostaglandins that help in the ripening of the cervix.
- Chiropractic care – This helps align the spine of the pregnant woman, allowing the baby to pass through the birth canal easily.
- Walking – Let gravity take part in bringing the baby down.
- Eating spicy food – This makes the digestive system contract, channeling the contraction to the uterus.
- Raspberry tea – Raspberry contains high levels of vitamins and minerals which makes it effective in facilitating contractions and labor.
How to Safely Use Hot Tubs During Pregnancy
Hot tubs are discouraged during the first trimester to avoid possible dangers.
Although there is still no scientific basis that hot baths help induce labor, it’s also known to relieve stress thus aiding in contraction and labor.
The following are points to remember when taking hot baths during pregnancy:
- Get your doctor’s approval before getting in the tub
- Refrain from staying in the hot tub for more than 10 minutes
- Stay in the part of the water where the water is less hot
- Never get in the tub if you have a fever
Other Alternatives to Hot Baths in Pregnancy
If a hot bath is not possible for you, here are some alternatives that you can do instead:
- Take a regular warm bath – This is another way to enjoy a soothing bath but without posing risks. Just make sure that your bath area is not slippery.
- Warm foot soaks – This is relaxing and safer for pregnant women. You can also throw in some salts to make it feel a lot better.
- Drink a hot cup of tea – If the other alternatives are not an option, then having a hot tea while reading a book is also a good idea.
Also see a related post: Curb Walking to Induce Labor
With the support of the due date being already past the date of delivery, doing the necessary methods to help induce labor should be considered.
Just make sure that you have the clearance from your attending obstetrician allowing you to do the methods that are suitable for your pregnancy situation.
Also, you should always remember to do the things that help induce labor only when it is safe for you and the baby.
And remember, even if a hot bath won’t work, you still have to de-stress anyway.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a hot bath safe for pregnant women and their babies?
Yes, as long as the water is not too hot (at least below 102.2°F).
And make sure you follow the safety protocols to help reduce the common risks of hot baths and pregnancy.
Can a pregnant woman give birth while having a hot bath?
Yes, a pregnant woman can give birth during a hot bath. However, make sure to inform your spouse/partner or companion that you are about to take a hot bath.
Giving birth during a hot bath is possible as warm water helps induce labor.
Waterbirth is a common practice nowadays, but you need to have a licensed water birth coach or midwife to assist you in the process.
These trained individuals should be present in case you are about to have a water birth to avoid emergency or harm to the mother and the baby.
How long should a pregnant woman be in the water?
10 minutes maximum as a prolonged stay in hot water raises the body temperature and this is very harmful to both the mother and the baby.
Ideally, there is a specific temperature allowable for hot baths during pregnancy.
Iesha is a loving mother of 2 beautiful children. She’s an active parent who enjoys indoor and outdoor adventures with her family. Her mission is to share practical and realistic parenting advice to help the parenting community becoming stronger.
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