During pregnancy - especially your first - being unsure of the do's and don'ts can be a huge source of anxiety.
'Better not eat that.'
'Are there chemicals in that?'
'Will I even fit in that?'
As if it wasn't tough enough giving up soft cheese, sushi and wine; now they want to take away our baths our as well?
Baths are one of those things that are typically regarded as a bit of a pregnancy no-no, bath salt or no bath salt. Obviously, you're well within your rights to err on the side of caution of this one…
When your back is killing you; your feet, your ankles - even your wrists - the idea of taking that pressure off and floating buoyantly in the tub in what feels like zero gravity is better than all the wine and cheese in the world.
Cutting baths and indulgent bath products out completely is actually an unnecessary sacrifice. You just need to know which parts of the bathing experience need baby-proofing.
Simple as that.
So, bath salts. Baby friend or baby foe?
"The trick to making a baby-proof bath is in moderating both the products used and the bath water temperature"
Under the right circumstances, bathing with bath salts during pregnancy is completely non-harmful.
The trick to making a baby-proof bath is in moderating both the products used and the bath water temperature. Provided that you keep a close eye on both of these factors, there is no reason why you can't indulge in a soak from time to time.
Having said this, it is medically advised that you avoid bathing if you fall into any of the below categories:
- You are a high-risk pregnancy
- You are in your first trimester
- You have no way to keep tabs on bath water temperature
The reason that hot baths in particular are considered dangerous for pregnant ladies is actually because of how much it raises your core temperature. See also sauna, jacuzzi and steam room.
As your baby hasn't yet developed enough to regulate his or her own temperature, it depends on you to do this.
Being embedded in the womb, your baby's temperature is already higher than yours by default - that's thanks to all that insulation.
When you get hot, your blood pressure lowers and this affects the blood flow to your little one.
Alongside things like dizziness, slip hazard, and any chemicals found in certain bath ranges, baths can be harmful unless controlled.
So what are the conditions?
How Do I Have a Pregnancy-Safe Bath?
First and foremost, scalding hot baths are out.
According to the The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) the temperature of your bath water should not exceed 37°C. If you need an easy way to remember that, just think body temperature.
With baby-brain, this can be difficult to commit to memory so if you're in doubt - first take your own temperature, then run the bath to match.
The super-important thing to note is that you don't want your temperature to raise by more than 2°C and stay raised for more than 10 minutes.
If you spot that your temperature is creeping up, that is your cue to cease bathtime.
Secondly: avoid products containing perfumes.
hese are moderated because of their ability to upset the balance of things in your more… intimate area. Messing with the delicate acidity of this area can lead to infection which is not only is extremely uncomfortable, but can be passed on to your little one during birth.
Lots of products are labelled pregnancy-safe, but by-and-large, artificially perfumed items are risky.
What you can use however are Epsom salts. This is made up of a Magnesium compound geared at soothing aches and pains, relieving itching and stress.. so it was perfect to soak in (just don't swallow it!)
Usually I would be all over the essential oils, but during pregnancy you have to be very careful. There is a long list of oils you are recommended to avoid during certain trimesters of pregnancy (from cedar wood to rosemary), so you should omit these completely during your first trimester.
(Although you can check out some approved ones for use during your second and third trimesters here.)
Be wary though: not only do essential oils need to be significantly diluted in base oils- they can also make the bath very slippery.
When you're trying to relax, having to think about all of these rules and regulations can be exhausting, so to be on the safe side, I would typically opt for a natural, unperfumed bath salt (or homemade bath bomb)
Pregnancy Tips for Bath-time:
If you miss the smell of perfumed bubbles, I always found that scattering some lightly-scented candles around the bathroom did the trick. Remember to avoid concentrated essential oils, though!
Look out for products that list Parabens, Phthalates, or Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) on the label. You'll often find these in shampoos and conditioners, but they can sneak into bath ranges. Avoid these like the plague.
If you're at all concerned, why not make your own batch of baby-safe bath products with only pregnancy-approved ingredients. You can check out how to make your very own bath bombs here.
Buuuuuttttt.... just to be on the safe side, please check all bath products over with a healthcare professional before use. Everyone's body and pregancy is unique!