Whether you have reached or passed the due date, it is only natural to be preoccupied with labor once you have hit the fourth trimester of pregnancy.
The internet is replete with urban legends, half-truths, and scientifically proven facts on induced labor.
One of such half-truths and urban legends is the fabled correlation between a hot bath and induced labor, especially at 37 weeks of pregnancy.
There is a general researched-backed consensus amongst health experts that taking a hot bath can be disastrous to the fetus at every stage of pregnancy.
Studies suggest that taking a hot bath at the first stage of pregnancy can lead to birth defects including spina bifida known to affect a child’s spine.
Taking a hot bath to induce labor at 37 weeks of pregnancy has been noted to reduce blood, oxygen, and nutrient inflow to your womb-based bundle of joy.
Needless to say, this may have a life-threatening disastrous effect on the baby.
Experts recommend a temperature limit of 98 degrees Fahrenheit for expectant mothers.
It is best to stick with bathing warm water that lacks the capacity to raise the body temperature higher than 107 degrees Fahrenheit in ten minutes.
You may want to turn a blind eye to hot tubs, saunas, and steam baths during pregnancy.
Will a Hot Bath Induce Labor at 37 Weeks?
While there is no conclusive proof that it is overtly possible to induce labor with a hot bath after 37 weeks, there are few indications of its possibility.
Apart from the proven risk of birth defects, why spend the whole day in a hot tub taking a hot bath to induce labor at 37 weeks risking avoidable infections when there are safer labor-inducing methods.
1. Light exercises
At 37 weeks of pregnancy, the goal is to use exercise as a labor-inducing activity and not another stubborn calorie-burning exercise.
Any central nervous system calming exercise including a long light walk is recommended.
Even if you are free from any pregnancy complications, it is best to avoid stressful exercises like running that may increase the heartbeat rate as they can be very unhealthy.
They are known to either reverse or prevent labor. It is also recommended that you engage in hips widening and pelvic relaxing exercises like sitting on the birthing ball, pelvic tilts to induce labor at 37 weeks.
2. Sexual Intercourse
One of the symptoms of labor is the contraction of the uterus. Having an orgasm during sex will contract the uterus leading to labor.
Also, sexual intercourse leads to the natural release of prostaglandins, a key ingredient in labor-inducing drugs.
Due to the baby bump and other body changes, gentle and less intense sexual intercourse is greatly recommended.
Generally, sexual intercourse during pregnancy is not without risks some of which may harm the unborn child, you should consider talking to your doctor if you have concerns.
It is highly recommended to avoid sexual intercourse altogether once the water is broken.
3. Diet and Homoeopathy
You are not only what you eat during pregnancy, your baby is also what you need.
At 37 weeks of pregnancy, you should be mentally prepared to meet your baby, and eating to induce labor seems to be a viable option.
The theory that some food including pineapples and spicy foods can help induce labor is increasingly gaining momentum.
While there is no conclusive proof to that effect, trying out fruits like a pear is well established to be beneficial to expectant mothers and their babies.
Herbs like red raspberry leaf tea and evening primrose oil are completely safe and effective to induce labor at 37 weeks.
Homoeopathy is closely linked with the use of herbs to induce pregnancy.
It typically involves using a labor-inducing type of herb called the caulophyllum. While there are copious scientific studies reinforcing its effectiveness in inducing labor, it should be sparingly except in the rare occasion of the absence of a better alternative.
4. Nipple stimulation
Due to hormonal, biological, and physiological changes, many women experience more sensitive nipples during pregnancy.
Gentle nipple stimulation can lead to the release of oxytocin hormone, which increases sexual arousal, and induces labor at 37 weeks by increasing contraction.
Not only does oxytocin increase uterus contraction, it reduces bleeding after childbirth, and also plays a key role during lactation.
Experts only recommend nipple stimulation to induce labor for relatively low-risk pregnancies.
It is best to speak to an expert before deciding to induce labor through nipple stimulation.
You may want to focus on the areola, exercise reasonable care while using your nipple stimulation tools.
There is no doubt that a vast number of pregnant women have asked the question, will a hot bath induce labor at 37 weeks at least once at the latter stage of their pregnancy?
In short, the answer to this recurring question remains that it is scientifically unproven that a hot bath can induce labor.
It is best taken with a pinch of salt.
However, it is scientifically established that taking a hot bath to induce labor at 37 weeks is unhealthy.
It can lead to birth defects and deny the unborn child the supply of needed nutrients for survival.
Light exercises, sexual intercourse, nipple stimulation, diet, and homeopathy are safe labor-inducing methods at 37 weeks.
See another post: 5 Strange Signs Of Labor
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a Hot Bath soften the cervix?
Pregnant women especially at the middle and late pregnancy stage should avoid taking a hot bath.
The theory that taking a hot bath can soften the cervix to induce labor remains largely unproven.
Pregnant women should rather stick with a warm bath for its relaxing and preterm labor prevention benefit at every stage of pregnancy.
Bathing in a hot tub exponentially increases body temperature which has a disastrous effect on the unborn child.
It may prevent blood and nutrient inflow from the mother to the unborn child.
It is also proven to cause birth defects in babies amidst other dangerous complications.
Can soaking in warm water induce labor?
Soaking in warm water can trigger the release of the oxytocin hormone which is greatly associated with uterus contraction.
This makes it highly possible for labor to be induced by soaking in warm water.
The release of the oxytocin hormone eases stress and aids relaxation.
Soaking in warm water is generally safe as the child is protected by the amniotic sac in a well-fortified womb. The opposite is the case if the water is hot.
Can I take a bath during labor?
You can take a bath during labor during the early signs of labor provided that the amniotic sac is not broken.
Taking a bath during the early stage of labor is one of the easiest ways of relaxing and getting psychologically prepared to meet your bundle of joy.
Also, taking a bath will enable you to decipher whether you are going through active or early labor.
To avoid complications, it is best to avoid hot water during labor as your surest bet is a nice warm, soul-soothing bath.
You may also take a shower to ameliorate some labor discomfort.
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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