Summary: Pregnancy is an exciting and overwhelming journey for any expecting mother. However, during this time, women need to take extra care of their health and wellness, including maintaining a healthy diet, getting enough rest, and avoiding harmful substances and activities. Considering hot showers during this time, it is critical to assess its effects on both the mother and the developing fetus.
1. Hot Shower during pregnancy – Is it safe?
Apart from being a source of relaxation and comfort, hot showers offer various health benefits such as improved blood circulation and inflammation reduction. But as much as cold showers can be unbearable, hot or warm showers may not be advisable for pregnant women.
Experts recommend that pregnant women should avoid exposing their bodies to extremely high temperatures, which may result in sweating or overheating. This is because extreme heat significantly elevates the core body temperature, which may pose a risk to the fetus. Pregnant women are already at risk of dehydration and fatigue, resulting in low blood pressure and hypotension. Hot showers may lead to further declines in blood pressure, potentially resulting in dizziness and fainting.
While a hot shower can be acceptable when it is warm or lukewarm, one can ensure it is safe by limiting shower duration to 10-15 minutes and keeping shower temperatures around 98°F or lower. Pregnant women should avoid hot tubs, saunas, and steam rooms entirely.
2. Effects of hot shower during early pregnancy
The first trimester is a sensitive period of pregnancy, with susceptibility to miscarriage and other complications. Therefore, expectant mothers should exercise considerable caution. During the first trimester, hot showers’ effects may vary; hence, it’s essential to note the risks involved and limit the frequency and temperature of the showers.
Hot showers during the first trimester carry additional risks of birth defects compared to later stages of pregnancy. High water temperature may lead to neural tube defects in the developing fetus. As a standard safety measure, pregnant women should take moderate or cool showers instead of hot water baths.
During the first trimester, hot showers may cause morning sickness to worsen due to the excessive heat and steamy environment. Hot showers may also cause an increase in body temperature and blood pressure, leading to dehydration, muscle cramps, and light-headedness. If possible, pregnant women should opt for lukewarm showers, which will help avoid complications.
3. Hot showers during the second trimester
The second trimester is a period of relative comfort and well-being for many pregnant women. Most of the first-trimester physiological changes subside, primarily because the body is getting used to the pregnancy. However, this does not mean that showering in hot water is entirely safe.
Exposure to high temperatures during the second trimester can still be harmful to the fetus. Physicians recommend limiting hot shower sessions to 10-15 minutes, with temperatures not exceeding 98°F. Keeping water temperatures lower helps regulate the body temperature, minimizes stress on the circulatory system, and prevent fetal harm.
Regular hot showers during the second trimester can also cause dehydration due to increased sweating. Additionally, hot showers may cause low blood pressure, which leads to nausea, muscle cramps, fainting, and weakness. Therefore, expectant mothers should take adequate precautions when taking hot showers during this period.
4. Hot showers during the third trimester
The third trimester can be a challenging period for many pregnant women. Baby movements become more apparent, sleep patterns become erratic, and physical discomfort becomes more intense. Hot showers can offer some comfort to pregnant women during this period, mainly for relaxation and natural pain relief in muscular aches and joint pains.
However, expectant mothers should still exercise caution during this period by ensuring that hot shower temperatures do not exceed 98°F to avoid overheating and dehydration. Additionally, hot showers may lead to low blood pressure, leading to a reduction in the amount of oxygen that gets to the baby or the uterine region.
If you must take a hot shower during the third trimester, it’s advisable to ensure someone else is present in the house. This way, if any fainting or dizzy spells occur, immediate assistance is available. It’s also recommended to limit shower duration to 10-15 minutes.
5. Benefits of taking moderate showers
While hot showers need to be limited during pregnancy, taking moderate or lukewarm showers poses no harm to expectant mothers or their fetus. Moderate showers under comfortable temperatures help reduce body stress and promote overall relaxation. This is essential for expectant mothers who are prone to sore backs, general fatigue, or anxiety attacks.
Additionally, moderate showers during pregnancy have been known to reduce morning sickness and bloating while promoting skin health. Besides, reducing stress during pregnancy can help contribute to a successful birthing process, making a moderate shower essential to an expectant mother’s overall pregnancy plan.
To conclude, taking a hot shower during pregnancy always carries risks, and these risks become greater as your pregnancy progresses. However, opting for moderate showers significantly reduces the chances of complications or risks to both the mother and the developing fetus. If you’re unsure about hot showers’ safety during your pregnancy period, always consult your physician before proceeding.