Taking a bath should be a time to rejuvenate, relax, and get squeaky clean. However, when a woman becomes a mother-to-be, maintenance and hygiene routines in the bath can get a little complicated. And no, it’s not only because of a growing baby bump that an expecting mother might have to change up how they do things.
Not only does an expectant mom have to be cautious about water temperature when there’s a bun in the oven, but she also needs to be wary of what types of soaps and cleaners she uses too. Suddenly when there’s a tiny growing human in the mix, mothers-to-be get an early jumpstart on honing their mom-senses, scanning over labels to make sure everything is safe for the baby and her body.
And let’s not forget how much fun it is twisting and contorting like a pretzel, just to make sure mom can get the perfect shave. And when the baby bump loves to get in the way of things, it just makes life and bathtime all the more interesting.
Mothers in their first and second trimesters need to be prepared because it’s going to be a ride when it comes to taking baths. Treacherous slippery tubs, stressing over filtering water, and making sure to relax, but not too long, unless mom doesn’t mind risking overheating the baby, are just a few of the things that change when bathing while pregnant.
15 No More Super Hot Baths
Some like a lukewarm bath, and expecting mothers might want to get used to a lower water temperature as the new normal. Although studies have shown that there is minimal harm to a baby when bathing while pregnant, mom still needs to be mindful of the temperature level.
According to The Bump, expecting mamas want to keep the water below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Saunas and jacuzzis are off limits, but baths are not.
Soaking in the bathtub in super hot water is going to have to be off limits for a while. It’s just too risky for the baby. It won’t take long for a baby to overheat inside the womb, although mom might be feeling completely different, drifting away into a state of relaxation and bliss, brought on by hot water.
Don’t get me wrong, hot water is great for soothing away tired aching swollen ankles, and putting a quick halt on back pain, and tired muscles. Luckily, mom does have other options to help soothe aches and pains from pregnancy and carting around a hefty baby bump, that doesn’t require a sweltering water temperature that is pushing 100 degrees.
When in doubt, mom should consider getting a thermometer for the bathtub to be on the safe side. Mom can still use mood lighting, and play music that still makes bathing relaxing and exquisitely serene.
14 Ditching Soap With Certain Chemicals
Bubble baths are simply divine. However, any expecting mother is going to have to look over their bath products with a fine tooth comb. Any bath products that are in containers with a BPA liner, contain phthalates, or other harmful agents need to get the boot.
A safe bet for many mamas is choosing bath products designed for babies, as they usually do not contain harsh chemicals.
Even though mom may love her tried-and-true bath products, once there’s a baby on the way, she will need to take some precautions. Unfortunately, a lot of bath products, cosmetics, and cleaning supplies may contain chemicals and compounds that can be downright toxic for a growing baby in the womb.
During pregnancy, mom’s body and skin are especially sensitive, and hazardous chemicals can quickly be absorbed into the skin and reach the unborn baby. Just because products advertise that they are safe, doesn’t mean they are.
And while mom is busy checking out which bath products to keep, and which ones she should toss out, she should consider how certain bath products affect her skin. Doing a bit of research and getting rid of soaps that are drying, harsh, and potentially risky for baby’s health is a good thing. It might even encourage a mom to get into DIY bath products or switch to natural soaps.
13 Shaving With The Baby Bump Takes Some Acrobatics
Mom might want to break down and make an appointment to get waxed on the regular because shaving with a baby bump can get a little zany. A lady experienced with shaving might think she can handle getting her legs hairless and smooth with ease, but when there’s a risk of twisting up like a pretzel or slipping and falling, it’s not worth hurting the bump.
Luckily, there are some products available that can help mom shave a little easier, with an extender attachment. Similar to those products for elderly people to help reach stuff, except instead of a hook or grabber at one end, there’s a shaving razor. Yay! Right?
If mom is not the adventurous type and doesn’t want to run the risk of a nick, cut, or bleeding from a blind false move, asking the significant other for help is an option. Some spouses or partners are willing to help mom look her best, and don’t feel weirded out answering such a request.
If all of the above sounds pretty exhausting and crazy, it can be. And if it’s all too much, seriously, moms should feel absolutely no guilt for choosing to undergo laser removal, or making an appointment to get their body sugared or waxed.
12 Installing A Bathing Chair Or Safety Bars Becomes Necessary
Who knew that it possibly come down to this? But when mom is carrying a bundle of joy, her balance may become less reliable, as her center of gravity increasingly gets thrown off from a growing baby bump.
According to What To Expect, that baby bump pushes a woman’s center of gravity forward, which makes it tricky staying perfectly upright while walking. Also, the hormone relaxin makes a woman’s joints looser.
Women during their third-trimester definitely want to take caution when getting around, and especially around the bathtub.
Just in case there isn’t anyone around to assist mom with getting safely in and out of the tub, it may be helpful for mom to bathe using a special chair, or to install safety grab bars around the shower or bathtub. Bathing while seated and using an extendable shower head and a hose is helpful for pregnant women.
Safety bars and bathing chairs are small measures that an expecting mom can take, which may help prevent mom from accidentally slipping, falling, and give mom more stability when wobbling in and out of the bathtub. And even if mom installs safety gear for the bathroom, she might still want to pass on using oil beads or bath bombs that can make things extra slippery and dangerous.
11 Sorry, No More Bath Bombs!
Oil beads look like a lot of fun, especially when you can just throw one or two into the bathtub for a luxurious spa-like experience. Expecting mothers with a generous baby bump may want to pass on using bath bombs or bath oils.
The average bathtub can be a pretty slippery and slick place as is, especially if mom hasn’t installed a safety bath mat, or because her center of gravity may make her prone to being more clumsy than before pregnancy.
Some bath bombs or beads may have ingredients that are no good for an unborn baby, so mom should double-check labels on bath products. And it’s a no-brainer that bath oils can increase the risk of falls.
Moms don’t have to skip on using bath products that smell nice. There are plenty of available options, such as using essential oils that are safe for a pregnant woman, or herbal teas like chamomile. According to Mom Prepares, parsley, or pennyroyal essential oils risk inducing an unwanted miscarriage if used in the bath.
Pregnant moms need to be careful what they add to their bathwater, as a lot of substances can cross the placenta’s barrier, and cause harm to the baby. Unfortunately, bath oils won’t help baby slip out easier, just increase mom’s risk of an accident.
10 Keep Bath Time Short (Only 10 Minutes)
Spending an hour or two in the bathtub, surrounded by candles, calming music, and catching up with a good book may sound like a moment of bliss. However, pregnant moms may want to make some changes to this vision of serenity when bathing.
Keeping candles and listening to music is perfectly fine, and it’s okay to have a warm bath without harming the baby. But moms do need to make sure not to linger too long in the bath because getting wrinkly fingers and toes is not the only possible side-effect.
Spending too much time in the bath is no good for pregnant women, because their skin is sensitive, and the baby is hyper-sensitive to temperature changes and whatever products come in contact with mom’s skin and bloodstream.
According to an obstetrician and gynecologist from California, Taaly Silberstein, moms want to limit soaking in the tub to 10 minutes.
By all means, mom should live it up while in the bath, setting the mood to relax while getting clean. Mom should exfoliate her skin gently for improved blood circulation and skin health, and massage her feet and ankles.
In order to keep the good vibes going, mom should apply a pregnancy-safe nourishing and moisturizing body lotion to finish up.
9 Use Epsom Salts For Health Benefits
Okay, so mom knows that she needs to minimize her time spent soaking in the bathtub. So, if mom really wants to let her hair down and relax away tired aching muscles, and swollen ankles and feet, what options are there?
Epsom salt is here to rescue mothers from the pregnancy blues and has been used for centuries by bath aficionados and healers worldwide.
When mom soaks for a short amount of time in a bath of Epsom salt and warm water, the aches and pain can melt away like magic.
Epsom salt is not only inexpensive, but it’s available with added natural scents and can have colors added to it too. Epsom salt is a crystallized form of the minerals magnesium and sulfate combined, and it’s good for the skin and body. According to Healthline, mom should mix around 2 cups of Epsom salt into their bath water, and can enjoy soaking away into sweet heavenly bliss for 12 to 15 minutes.
It is important that mom keep the water temperature warm, and not too hot, to prevent overheating baby. Epsom salt works its magic quite quickly, so there’s no need to stay in the tub for ages. Epsom salt is a pregnant mama’s best friend for bath time, as it helps lower stress levels, alleviates cramps and sore muscles, and heals the skin.
8 Clean The Bathroom With Natural Products
Honestly, pregnant mamas should treat themselves like the amazing goddesses that they are, and reduce the amount of cleaning and housework they might find themselves doing. Not only is overexerting the body a bad thing while pregnant, but contact with certain cleaning agents can be hazardous for mom and especially an unborn baby’s health.
Yes, a mom can take precautions like donning a pair of rubber or latex gloves, wear eye goggles, and wash up thoroughly after cleaning. Chemicals can go airborne, or be absorbed by skin that is not covered.
An even better choice is for mom to use natural cleaning agents, which are safer during pregnancy, and even more environmentally friendly.
Mom’s skin is very sensitive when pregnant, and a lot of elements and compounds can easily find there way into mom’s bloodstream, and pass through the placental barrier impacting the baby. So, it may behoove mom to consider using things like lemons, baking soda, vinegar, and other safe but effective cleaning agents when maintaining the bath.
According to Parent, cleaners that contain phenols, or glycol ethers may increase the chance of miscarriage. Cleaning agents like ammonia and bleach might trigger nausea so ventilation is a must. If mom is able, hiring a cleaning service is more than helpful.
7 Take Baths Regularly
Being pregnant can be downright exhausting. After all, growing a tiny human from scratch takes a lot of energy, time, and care. No matter how tired mom might be feeling, one thing she should not skip out on is taking a bath regularly.
It is perfectly okay for mom to opt to shower, or just wash up, but it is important that mom maintains a regular hygiene routine. Keeping clean is good for boosting mom’s self-esteem, and giving her time to de-stress.
According to Medical News Today, pregnancy lowers a woman’s immune system and increases skin sensitivity. So, if mom is not regularly fending off germs and bacteria, and instead decides to stay in bed all day, or avoids bathing out of fear of falling, she increases the risk of both herself and the baby coming down with a virus or experiencing a skin infection.
Some pregnant women avoid baths out of fear that it will harm the baby. But according to The Bump, that old wives' tale can be put to rest.
Baths are safe for pregnant women, as long as the bath water is set at a reasonable temperature. During the first trimester, women need to be careful about water temperature and risking overheating.
6 Be Cautious When Adding Aromatherapy Oils
What could go wrong with using natural elements derived from plants? Well, expecting mamas need to be choosy over what aromatherapy oils they add to their bathwater, or place on their skin.
Not all essential oils are safe for use during pregnancy and may cause negative skin reactions, or even induce a miscarriage. And moms should realize that a little bit of oil goes a long way, so there is no reason to use a whole bottle of oil for the bath.
Especially if mom is new to using oils, she will want to read up on what is safe, possible side-effects, and possibly consider consulting an expert in aromatherapy. Don’t get me wrong, I love aromatherapy oils and essential oils as much as the next gal. However, no matter how lovely an oil may smell, further research needs to be done before use. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Plus, when it comes to anything to tantalize the senses, pregnant mamas want to be careful because of increased sensitivity to developing nausea, and ending up hugging the porcelain throne.
If mama doesn’t want to end up in the smallest room of the house grasping her baby bump, she’ll want to be cautious. According to Baby Centre, oils like rosemary, nutmeg, jasmine, and clary sage should be avoided while pregnant. Risks include high blood pressure, or triggering contractions.
5 Install A Rubber Mat In Tub To Prevent Slipping
Thanks to pregnancy hormones and an emerging baby bump, a pregnant woman is more likely to risk falling, stumbling, or feeling off balance while walking. The ligaments become looser to allow baby to make their exit but also can contribute to an uneasy step when out and about.
Bathtubs are particularly prone to being a slippery place for mom to lose her balance, and potentially hurt herself and the baby bump. So, in addition to avoiding bath products that leave behind a slick and oily surface, mom should make sure to install a bath mat to prevent unwanted slips when stepping inside and out of the tub.
It is also helpful for mom to consider wearing shower shoes with treads on the bottom, installing safety grab bars, and having a bath mat with some traction underneath. Mom should take care to dry off carefully and remove any excess water when exiting the bath. Any slips and falls should be followed up with a check-in with mom’s OB/gynecologist, and being more cautious throughout the pregnancy.
Moms should relish the opportunity to treat her bathroom to a new decorative bath mat for increased safety and pamper herself with a more beautiful bathroom. There are also alternatives to bath mats, such as decals to help prevent slipping and sliding in the tub too.
4 Pass On Salt-Based Body Scrubs
Epsom salt is not really salt, but body scrubs that actually contain salts should be passed over by pregnant moms. Since pregnancy causes increased skin sensitivity, and salt is naturally a drying agent, there are risks for mom and unborn baby when using a body scrub.
Scrubbing too harshly with a salt scrub can not only cause micro tears, redness, and irritation of the skin, but it can remove precious moisture too.
Specific body scrubs using salt may have additional ingredients that might not be so healthy for a pregnant mom and her bundle of joy. According to Organic Beauty Now, moms should be aware of any essential oils used in their body scrub, as not all oils are good for pregnancy health, or an unborn baby.
However, mom doesn’t have to give up using body scrubs to exfoliate her skin. Exfoliation is a great way to keep skin in glowing health, enhance blood circulation, and reduce the risk of stretch marks. Mom should switch to using sugar-based body scrubs, or consider polishing her skin with scrubs using rice.
Mom should also think about using skin brushes, exfoliating loofahs, and other methods of keeping pores cleaner, sloughing dead skin cells, and keeping a radiant appearance.
When choosing body scrubs, it is good to use it within a reasonable time frame, as many do not contain preservatives which typically hinder the growth of harmful bacteria.
3 Break Out The Skin Brush
When pregnant, it is important to not only brush your hair and teeth, but to also brush your skin. Skin brushing has been used since ancient times to keep skin healthy, youthful looking, and more resilient.
Pregnancy may give mom an awesome glow naturally, but a mama’s skin can always use an added boost for vitality and building immunity. The skin is the body’s largest organ and is subject to damage from UV rays, dead skin cell buildup, and bacteria living on the surface.
Using a dry brush regularly, circling the body over the heart, and covering pressure points from head to toe is a process that is relaxing, stimulating, and healthy. Skin brushing improves the immune system and feels invigorating.
Skin brushes are a great way to stimulate the skin cells to repair any damaged areas, enhance blood circulation, and exfoliate the body without the use of harsher body scrubs.
Most skin brushes are outfitted with natural bristles from vegetable fibers and have long handles made from sustainable wood sources for reaching those difficult places. Using a skin brush regularly is something that mamas who are expecting definitely want to make a part of their daily hygiene routine, before jumping into the bath for a relaxing soak.
2 Filter The Bath Water Before Bathing
Pharmaceutical drugs, plastics, and climate change has caused water to become infiltrated with undesirable contaminants. Although municipal water treatment plants filter a lot of unwanted tidbits, harmful compounds, and chemicals from our water, there are still things that manage to lurk about which can be harmful to a pregnant woman and her baby.
In order to have a healthier pregnancy, reduce contact of contaminants with the skin and bloodstream, and enjoy peace of mind, using a water filter for the tap is a good investment. Personal water filtration systems vary but are a simple and affordable method of cleaning the water used for bathing.
Pesticides, chlorine, lead, and dioxins can contribute to the development of birth defects, or difficulty for a child to reach milestones after birth. According to the Princeton Journal Watch, exposure to contaminated water is a contributing factor to low birth weight.
The Daily Mail had a piece regarding expectant mothers and contaminated water and recounted a study where 400,000 babies showed a clear link between birth defects and chlorination, and chemicals called trihalomethanes.
Water filters are available for purchase that may use carbon filters, bentonite clay, and other measures to finely filter out contaminants that are easily absorbed by the skin.
1 Take Showers Versus Baths
Not everyone loves the idea of soaking in a bathtub, especially when it becomes a struggle to get in and out of the tub without suffering a slip and fall. When mom desires an alternative to get squeaky clean and enjoy peace of mind, there is always the shower.
Showers can be outfitted with safety bars, in case mom does have a potential accident, or needs something to help steady her balance entering or exiting. Showers encourage less water waste and potentially get the job done a lot faster than drawing a bath and soaking.
Just like baths, mom still needs to be careful not to tarry in the shower for too long, and to avoid super hot showers to prevent overheating. It’s easy to get comfortable in a steamy shower, but for an expecting mother, she’ll want to keep things short and keep the water temperature at a reasonable level to prevent potential neurological damage for baby.
Even when taking a shower, mom’s skin will readily absorb whatever chemicals might be lurking in the tap water, if she chooses to forego a water filter.
When living with a baby bump, bathing with an extendable shower head and a hose are perfect for the expecting mother.
Sources: The Telegraph, Romper, Wellness Mama, SixWise, BabyCenter, Healthline, What To Expect, Mom Prepares, Fit Pregnancy, Parents, The Bump, Water Online, Medical News Today, Organic Beauty Now, Baby Centre UK