The third trimester of pregnancy can have its challenges. From frequent bathroom breaks to painful contractions, many mothers try to find ways to induce labor and shorten the process.
Many parents tout different methods of inducing labor, most likely passed down from generation to generation. While some ideas are grounded in science, others are likely old wives’ tales.
Some people might recommend a hot bath to induce labor. However, you might want to think twice before you turn that faucet on.
Do Hot Baths Help Induce Labor?
According to WebMD, there is no evidence that a hot bath can effectively induce labor. In fact, a hot bath might cause more trouble in the pregnancy and put moms and children at risk.
A hot bath can cause distress and potential infections. Staying for more than 10 minutes in a hot bath can raise your body temperature. A feverishly hot body can increase the risk of abnormalities in babies. There might also be a chance of miscarriage for some mothers (however, more evidence is needed to back this claim.)
Staying too long in a bath can also raise the possibility of an infection. Bubbles, bath bombs, and bath salts can cause itching and pain in open wounds. Bath salts are also known for changing the pH level in the genital area, leading to problems such as itching, dryness, yeast infections, and UTIs.
While hot baths are not recommended for pregnant and laboring moms, a warm bath is a better alternative. A quick warm bath can have some benefits in your pregnancy and labor. While it can’t promise to induce labor, a warm bath can make your third trimester more bearable.
What are the Benefits of a Warm Bath for Mothers?
Warm baths are meant to relax your body, and you want that during your third trimester. A warm bath helps you get into a better position and allows your baby to move further out of the birth canal.
Meanwhile, some moms benefit from water immersion to relax their bodies, use less epidural anesthesia, and potentially shorten labor time.
However, warm baths aren’t for everybody. Some people might not want the hassle of filling a tub and fumbling around it. Meanwhile, mothers with complications such as preterm labor and blood-related infections might also want to skip soaking in water.
In the end, having a warm bath is a mother’s choice. Some moms might benefit from having me-time in the tub, while others can’t or won’t prepare a bath while pregnant. If you choose to have a warm bath, remember that it’s not your one-way ticket to induce labor, and you want extra precaution before, during, and after bathing.
Other Natural Ways to Induce Labor
Unfortunately, neither a hot nor warm bath can help you induce labor. But you can try other natural ways to induce labor.
However, many of these methods don’t have a lot of scientific evidence to back them up. Instead, most of these tips come from anecdotes from other parents. While some of these methods can help you labor earlier, they’re not scientifically backed up. You will first need to refer to your doctor about these activities.
With that said, here are some ideas on how you can induce labor besides taking a bath:
Although experts have found no connections between exercising and induced labor, walking around the neighborhood can help reduce stress and strengthen your body.
Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine that originated in Asia. It has been used by many pseudoscientists and doctors to help women kick-start their labor. However, not a lot of evidence exists that confirms these claims.
Sex is a pleasurable activity that might help in inducing labor. Mothers can release oxytocin while experiencing pleasure, a hormone that can trigger contractions. Nipple stimulation can also create the same effect.
Having sex while pregnant is generally safe. However, you should avoid having intercourse after your water breaks. You can also consider talking to your doctor before having sex with your partner.
Eating/Drinking Certain Food
Some people might consider consuming a specific drink or food to induce pregnancy. While most of the foods suggested can’t promise to induce labor, they might still have some benefits to them.
Common food suggestions include dates, castor oil, and red raspberry leaf tea. Consult your GP before trying any food, drinks, or supplements, especially if they’re not FDA-approved.
Whether you move around, get pricked by needles, or be a little frisky, the best thing to do during your third trimester is to wait for your labor. If you’re not experiencing complications, just sit back and wait for Mother Nature to do her magic.
What temperature is safe for mothers to bathe in?
A warm (not hot) bath should be 98F (36C) and below. Any higher than that can raise your body temperature and affect your baby.
Can I Have a Warm Shower While Pregnant?
You can have a warm shower while pregnant, as long as it’s at a safe temperature. Showers are quicker compared to baths, so you lower the risk of developmental problems and infections.
Many parents try creative ways to induce and hasten labor. For a lot of moms, this part of pregnancy is one of the most painful and frustrating experiences. So having a way to quickly get pregnancy over with is nothing short of a miracle.
Having a hot bath sounds good, in theory. However, a hot bath can negatively affect your body and baby.
However, that shouldn’t stop you from having a quick warm bath. If you feel comfortable enough to get into a tub, a warm bath can help calm your nerves and open yourself up for your baby. But warm baths aren’t a guaranteed solution.
The best thing to do is just relax and wait for labor to come. We get that contractions suck, and you just want to see your baby come into this world. But waiting for your due date means less hassle and worries, and your baby will be as healthy and radiant as you dream them to be.