Can a Hot Bath Help Induce Labor?

Pregnancy is a wonderful thing. It’s such an exciting time, waiting to meet your beautiful baby. However, there is no hiding away from the fact that it can be very difficult and also very long!

Many people reach their due date, and their little bundle of joy still hasn’t made an appearance. It can get to the point where expectant mothers are keen to try and induce Labor so they can meet their new-born as soon as possible.
There are loads of different proposed methods for inducing Labor, but one that many people try is having a hot bath. But can this actually help to induce Labor? Well, keep reading to find out!

How Can a Hot Bath Induce Labor?

The short answer is, yes! Having a hot bath can help to induce Labor, but why?

Relieves Stress

Well, one of the things that can actually prevent you from going into Labor is if you are very stressed and uptight. Unfortunately, this is very common in pregnancy seeing as it is such a physically and mentally demanding experience.

In order for your body to induce Labor, it needs to feel secure and relaxed. It’s actually a natural defense mechanism of the human body to hold in contractions and prevent Labor when it doesn’t feel safe, and stress is something that can cause your body to feel unsafe

Therefore, it is very important that you try to relax and rest up in order to make your mind and body feel safe and secure to promote the induction of Labor.

Having a hot bath is something that can really help to relax you. We all know how lovely it can feel to have a good warm bath with bubbles and candles after a busy day! It’s something that helps you to rest your mind and really just completely relax. This can then help you to de-stress and so can in turn help to induce Labor.

You can even add some nice essential oils, such as lavender, to help make it even more relaxing! More to read: What Can You Eat While Pregnant

Increases Oxytocin

So, as mentioned above, hot baths are a great way to help you relax, and something which relaxation does that is great for inducing Labor is that it stimulates the production of oxytocin. This is the hormone that puts our body into Labor. It is made in the hypothalamus and, when secreted, it promotes contractions of the uterus which, in turn, promotes Labor. Oxytocin is sometimes given as a drug during Labor to help make contractions stronger and speed up the birthing process for those struggling.

Therefore, the fact that a bath can increase the levels of this hormone shows how great it is as a way to induce Labor.

So, jump in a nice warm bath and try to completely relax, and the levels of oxytocin should start rising!

Ripens the Cervix

Another reason why having a hot bath is a great way to induce Labor is because the hot water ripens the cervix.

What does this mean? Well, cervical ripening is the process of the cervix becoming softer, which is something that happens before Labor contractions start. The cervix needs to be soft in order to help with cervical dilation, which is essential for the actual process of giving birth and allowing easy passage of the baby through the cervix.

Risks of Having a Hot Bath Whilst Pregnant

Whilst having a hot bath is a great way to induce Labor, many people have concerns over whether it is something that is safe, and if it can bring any potential harm to them or their unborn baby.

Having a hot bath is perfectly safe for you and your baby, as long as you don’t have the water at too high a temperature. The temperature of the water should not go to or exceed 39 degrees Celsius. It is best to keep the water at a warm, and not too hot, temperature so that it is comfortable, relaxing and pleasant.

Something you should completely avoid is using a hot tub or Jacuzzi. Using one of these during pregnancy can actually increase the risk of your baby being born with issues such as spina bifida or brain defects. However, if you have a warm bath at sensible temperatures, you and your baby will be absolutely fine, and it is a great way to help induce Labor.

A great way to monitor the temperature of your bath so you can fully relax whilst trying to induce Labor, is to use a kid’s water thermometer. This will allow you to make sure that you are keeping the temperature of the water within safe levels.

Read more: The best labor advice you need to know for first time moms

Another potential risk that comes with having a bath whilst pregnant is that there is a small chance that you could contract infections which could bring harm to you and your baby. However, this is easy to avoid. You need to make sure that you limit the amount of time you spend in the bath to about 15 or 20 minutes. Furthermore, you should avoid any bath products such as oils and bath bombs which contain ingredients that could irritate your vagina. However, some oils and bath salts are okay, and if you’re in doubt all you need to do is ask your doctor.

One other key thing to take note of, is that you shouldn’t have a bath after your water has broken. This is because any germs or bad bacteria residing in the water could more easily make their way into your uterus at this point, and then could in turn bring harm to you and your baby.

So, there you have everything you need to know about trying to induce Labor by having a hot bath. It is a method that has been proven to successfully induce Labor through a variety of ways, however primarily through its action of helping you to relax and de-stress. There are a few risks you do need to be aware of and precautions you should take, however it is a great way to induce Labor so you can meet your bundle of joy as soon as possible! And who doesn’t love a good pamper session?

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