In bygone times, some people believed that dirty bathwater could cause internal infections during pregnancy. However, nowadays doctors know that, unless water is forced into the vagina, it does not travel into your body. Even then, it can’t reach the womb.
Enjoying a bath
Whilst some people prefer a refreshing shower, a long relaxing bath can be the ideal way to relieve the aches and pains of pregnancy.
Indeed, when it comes to contraction pains, your midwife may well suggest a few trips to the bathroom for a pain relieving dunk in the bath.(One of the many appealing aspects of a birth pool, of course.)
Some doctors may advise you to keep to showers if your waters have broken or you have passed your mucous plug (which keeps everything in place, plugged at the opening of your cervix, throughout pregnancy until labour is due). After this time, only the clean water of a hygienically prepared birthing pool or a clean water bath for relief (ie not all soapy) is advised.
Throughout pregnancy, make sure your baths are not too hot. Especially in the early months, you do not want to raise your body temperature to a point which might affect the fetus. Make sure you do not stay too long in water which is hotter than 38.9 degrees C and preferably take baths that are cooler than this.
As you get bigger, you have more bump to lift in and out of the bath. Make sure you steady yourself carefully, or call your partner to help you out! If you find your bath is very slippy, think about using a bath mat. The last thing you want to do is put your back out only weeks before giving birth.
If the room has steamed up a little, you might feel dizzy. Ideally, try to take baths when you know someone else is in the house to call upon in case you feel faint.
Beware that some soaps and bath oils might carry warnings against using them in pregnancy. This is almost always merely precautionary to cover manufacturers, but some do contain essential oils which are not safe during pregnancy.
There are some fabulous, luxurious bath ranges on the market for expectant mums who deserve a little bathtime pampering. Mamas & Papas do a great range (it’s worth dropping a hint to get their gift box!) and bigger branches of Boots will have good antenatal bath product ranges too.