during pregnancy

Can You Take a Bubble Bath During Pregnancy? Please Say Yes, Please Say Yes!

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If there’s one thing a pregnant woman is intimately familiar with, it’s exhaustion. And aches and pains. Also, sore muscles. Back pain, put that on the list. Swollen, achy feet? Check! OK, so maybe the list is longer than ONE thing. The fact is, pregnancy is unbelievably hard on your body! Even if you have a textbook easy and normal pregnancy, your body HURTS. Especially towards the end. You know what helps tired, achy, sore bodies feel better? A nice, warm, relaxing bubble bath. But you may have heard that women shouldn’t take bubble baths during pregnancy. So is that one of those definite no-nos? Or another old wives’ tale passed down over generations to suck every ounce of joy from your life? We’ll break it down for you (hint: it’s good news).

Bubble baths during pregnancy can feel a lot like what I imagine heaven feels like. It’s so difficult to find any comfort in those final weeks, so floating weightlessly in warm water is really enjoyable.

Image: Giphy

I remember during my first pregnancy, I was MISERABLE. I was hot and swollen and everything hurt so much. While the idea of soaking in warm water when it was 110 degrees outside wasn’t exactly pleasing, getting some relief for my tired bones took priority. I mentioned it to an older friend of mine, and she looked HORRIFIED. “You can’t take a bath! You’ll cook the baby! And water will get into your vagina and you’ll get an infection!”

<record scratch> I’m … sorry? What the actual hell?

Apparently, there is some, uh, questionable information floating around about bubble baths during pregnancy. Even with the google at our fingertips, some people just love to hang onto old, outdated information when it comes to pregnancy and child birth! I’ve heard some doozies through two pregnancies, but “cooking my baby” was quite possibly the most insane.

So what IS the deal with bubble baths during pregnancy?

Here is the good news: you can take as many damn baths, with or without bubbles, as your pregnant heart desires. Take 3 a day, live it up! There is no reason that pregnant women can’t soak their bloated, tired bodies in a nice, relaxing bath whenever they want. But, as with everything that has to do with pregnancy, there are some considerations to take.

  • Make sure the water isn’t too hot. Generally speaking, the water shouldn’t be above your own body temperature (98.6 degrees). Any hotter, and you risk raising your bodytemp. A body temp of more than 102.2 for longer than 10 minutes can cause some problems, including a drop in blood pressure, dizziness or weakness, and a possibility of birth defects (especially in the first trimester). So keep the water reasonably warm, and keep your soaks to around 10 minutes.
  • Stay away from hot tubs, saunas, and steam baths! For all of the reasons stated above. Raising your body temp is potentially dangerous, so stay out of very hot water. Hot showers are fine, but again, keep them short.
  • If you add bath oils or anything, be careful. There’s no reason you can’t turn your warm bath into a nice aromatherapy session, but be very careful when using oil or anything that will make the surface of the tub slick. Your center of gravity is waaaaaaay off, and you probably can’t see your feet anymore. Let’s face it, you’re a fall hazard! Also, be careful with bath salts. According to Michelle Ornstein, an aromatherapist in Los Angeles, bath salts that contain Dead Sea salts have a very high mineral content, and they can heat the water past an acceptable and safe temperature.
  • And don’t worry: water can’t “get into” your vagina and somehow reach the baby. It pains me that this even needs to be said, but here we are. Your baby is fully protected within the amniotic sac. Bath water can’t get in, and you won’t harm the baby with your bath oils.

So go on, all you pregnant mamas: lower yourself (carefully!) into a nice warm bath, and let some of your aches and pains melt away. Light some candles, play some soft music, and try not to drift off to sleep during your 10-minute soak.

(Image: iStock/monkeybusinessimages)