There are many important things to think about in terms of keeping mother and baby safe during pregnancy and the daily bathing routine is one of them. Taking a shower or bath might seem harmless enough but there are risks that every pregnant woman should know about to keep her and her unborn baby safe.
Where there is water there is the risk of slips and even more so when pregnant, especially in the later months when the weight and size of the baby can make for a more difficult time keeping balanced with your new centre of gravity. Ensure there is sufficient floor coverage by way of bath mats and be equally aware that bath mats can act as a trip hazard if the edges are torn or rolled up.
Stepping in and out of the shower or bath is particularly hazardous after your bathing session as the base will be wet so take particular care at this time. If you are using any surfaces such as as a towel rail, door handle or such to balance yourself with as you move, be absolutely certain those fixtures can take the amount of pressure you apply to them to support yourself.
Another safety factor for pregnant women to consider is the temperature of the water they’re bathing in. If you are accustomed to taking very hot relaxing baths from your pre-pregnant days, that doesn’t mean it’s good for you and your baby during pregnancy. In fact hot water bathing should be avoided completely due to the high risk it poses to the unborn baby. A hot shower or bath can lead to your core body temperature rising to levels that could cause birth defects and a number of other issues including the risk of miscarriage. The risks are highest during the first trimester but it is best to avoid hot bathing for the entire pregnancy to be on the safe side.
Furthermore, your own body temperature when raised too high increases your heart rate and reduces blood flow to the unborn child. Other activities to avoid are taking saunas or spending time in hot-tubs. Of course relaxing back in a bath during a long and oftentimes uncomfortable pregnancy can be a wonderful way to ease stress and it is possible to still do so providing you proceed with caution. Keeping your temperature at or slightly below normal is key and therefore the bath or shower should be just warm enough to keep your comfortable. Be aware of any signs of overheating such as sweating, increased heart rate or a red face and remove yourself from the bath should this occur.
It’s imperative that any activity you do decide to take is discussed with your health care professional so as you can be certain that you and your baby are kept safe. And if you’re feeling a little down because you can’t enjoy your steaming hot shower or long hot soak in the bath, remember, your little baby will be here before you know it and you can return to your daily bathing routine happy in the knowledge that you took the best care of your baby during your pregnancy.