Have you ever sat back and wondered about The Effect of Cold Water Bath During Pregnancy? We all have! It can be incredibly challenging to work out the ‘Ideal Temperature’ of that cherished and well earned bath, and there are no shortage of advocates in both the ‘Hot’ and ‘Cold’ Camps!
Read on to learn more about the effect of cold water baths during pregnancy, the benefits, drawbacks, and other important aspects!
Cold Water Bathing During Pregnancy
Recently there has been a rise in the “Cold Bath” or “Ice Bath” trend which used to be incredibly popular amongst Elite Athletes, but is now affordable, accessible and practical for Amateur Hobbyists and Average Households. Although this method has been in use for many Centuries, as per Clinical Trials, Science now exists to back up their Medical Benefits. Some Parents are now looking at how the Medical Benefits might positively Influence their Pregnancy.
Effect of Cold water bath during Pregnancy – Trimester Variance
A Cold Bath is relaxing in itself, and Bathing in general is considered to be helpful to your Hygiene levels, which is great for your overall health. Therefore, taking a Cold water bath in any trimester of your pregnancy is perfectly safe. Perhaps the way you take your bath is what will change as your baby bump grows. But there is nothing to worry about at all. Here is a simple guideline for each trimester.
Extremely cold baths should be avoided during this period. Additionally, be careful not to spend too much time in the bath or shower. Ten minutes is all that is required for a relaxing experience. At the time of writing, no comprehensive studies have been carried out into the Ideal Bathing temperature during the First Trimester, so think ‘Cool’ rather than ‘Cold’. It’s also worth considering the use of Organic Soaps throughout your bathing routine, in order to minimise exposure to Synthetic or Harmful Substances.
Feel free to have your regular cold water baths unless your Midwife or Doctor advises you otherwise. As always, make sure that the water is not too cold for you. Consider soaking your legs longer if they are aching or if they are swollen. It’s also perfectly fine to consider ‘Partial Submersion’ if you find bathing your full body to be uncomfortable.
Just like in the other phases, check and regulate the temperature of your cold water accordingly. During this phase, your baby bump has grown in leaps and bounds, and manoeuvring around can be challenging. To ensure your safety, always ask for assistance where needed, and in case you experience dizziness, nausea, or any difficulties, consider terminating your bathing session immediately.
Having said that, the main effect of having a cold water bath during pregnancy is that it will reduce the amount of stress you are likely to experience during your day-to-day life. As we all know, stress can have a negative impact on any pregnancy hence causing serious health challenges for both the baby and the mother.
Effect of Cold water bath during Pregnancy – Advantages
Of course, there are numerous advantages that you, as an expectant mom, can gain from having a cold water bath. However, precaution should be taken not to use extremely cold water, which can be harmful to you and your baby. Some of these advantages include:
Reduced Risk of Premature Birth
There is Studies to suggest that Cold Temperatures may be a Protective Factor. Conversely, Extreme heat is seen as an aggravating factor.
As you are aware, an expectant mom is prone to swelling due to water retention in the body. Cold water helps reduce swelling in the feet and legs, which is a common complaint during pregnancy. If you find Cold water bathing uncomfortable, then you may wish to explore using an Ankle Ice pack or a Foot Spa to provide partial exposure, whilst still receiving the Anti-inflammatory benefits!
A healthy mother’s blood circulation is essential for proper foetal development and overall health. Taking cold water baths can improve circulation, which in turn helps prevent blood clots and other circulation-related complications.
Body Temperature Control
Sometimes due to hot weather, consumption of a heavy meal, or while fighting bacteria or flu, the body temperature may rise. If your body temperature gets too high, a cold water bath can help reduce it to Comfortable levels.
Relief From Itching
Have you recently experienced itching all over your body that you didn’t have before? There is no cause for alarm. Itching is a common complaint during pregnancy, especially in the later stages. Due to it’s numbing effect, taking cold water baths can help relieve this to a great extent.
Even if you are not pregnant, a cold water bath can be very relaxing. With your body working at a higher level and it being more difficult to maintain the pregnancy, a cold water bath can be both invigorating and refreshing, hence reducing stress and fatigue and promoting relaxation.
Have your moods recently been at an all-time low, and you don’t know what to do to improve them? Don’t continue to be in that miserable condition. Pregnant women have been shown to feel happier and more relaxed after taking a cold-water soak.
The rest we get from sleeping for at least 8 hours is very important in keeping us active and rejuvenated during the day. As an expectant mom, your body will be crying out for it’s Beauty Sleep! Consider taking a cold water bath before bedtime as it helps to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. Researchers believe this is due to your body releasing Chemicals such as Melatonin in response to the drop in temperature, which in turn triggers a ‘Sleepy’ response in your Body.
As your body stretches and the weight increases with each passing second, pain that you were not previously experiencing may begin to creep in gradually. However, you don’t have to worry or use painkillers when there are natural methods like cold water baths that are ideal for reducing the pain. Cold water baths on a regular basis will help to alleviate the discomforts associated with pregnancy-related aches and pains.
Having trouble answering those long calls in the bathroom? You are not alone, and we can all agree that the experience is not something to write home about! Luckily, getting into the habit of bathing in cold water can help improve digestion and alleviate constipation, which is a common problem during pregnancy. It is believed that the Cold Water stimulates your Digestive system, particularly your Stomach Acids, which then accelerates your Metabolism.
Women, pregnant or not, love their skin deeply, and they can do a myriad of things just to look good. But did you know that cold water can help tighten the skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite, stretch marks, and other skin conditions that are common during pregnancy?
Another major effect of a cold bath during pregnancy is that it boosts the immune system. And how is that possible? You may ask. Well, studies have shown that taking a cold bath regularly reduces the risk of contracting bacterial infections and other ailments.
Better Mental Health
Last but not least, having a cold shower during your pregnancy will improve your mental health significantly. According to scientists, exposing the body to cold water activates the body’s nervous system positively, resulting in a happier and improved quality of life. This Can also be useful for Managing Postnatal Depression.
Effect of Cold water bath during Pregnancy – Risks
The disadvantages of Cold Water baths are few and far between, and generally only a risk if taken to an extremity. It’s worth consulting with your GP or Midwife in advance if you intend to exposure yourself to particularly low temperatures for a sustained period of time.
Taking an extremely cold bath can cause your body’s temperature to drop abruptly, which can lead to hypothermia.
Warning signs can include:
- Memory loss
- Slurred speech
If you experience any of these sensations during your Bathing experience, consult with a Medical Professional.
Stress on the Cardiovascular System
Anything that has a negative impact on the heart should be avoided during pregnancy. Ice-cold water lead to severe vasoconstriction which then stresses your cardiovascular system. Potentially, this can lead to complications such as reduced oxygen supply to the foetus since the heart finds it harder to pump blood throughout your body.
In normal circumstances, cold water can cause contractions of the muscles. It therefore goes without saying that very cold water can cause contractions in the uterus, which can be harmful to the developing foetus, especially during the first trimester.
Risk of Miscarriage
Due to the contractions mentioned earlier, exceedingly cold water can potentially increase the risk of miscarriage, especially during the first trimester when the baby is still developing and vulnerable to external factors. It is best to avoid very cold baths at this stage of your pregnancy or to just keep the temperature at a level that is comfortable and healthy for you.
Is Taking a Cold Shower at Night While Pregnant Safe?
Definitely yes. Taking a cold shower at night is as safe as taking it at any other time of the day. Nonetheless, make sure to gradually reduce the temperature from lukewarm to a level that you can comfortably stand in. At the same time, do not stand too long in the shower. This is because blood vessels constrict or compress during a cold shower, thereby reducing the amount of blood supply to your head and other exterior body parts. This reduction in blood supply can lead to dizziness or fainting, which can negatively affect your pregnancy.
So, having looked at the effects, advantages, and disadvantages of taking cold water baths during pregnancy, you may be wondering, what about swimming in cold water? Is there any difference? Let’s explore!
Is It Safe to Swim in Cold Water While Pregnant?
If you can comfortably enjoy cold water baths, then you can enjoy swimming in cold water too. According to gynaecologists and obstetricians, swimming is one of the best and safest exercises for pregnant women seeking to keep fit and healthy. Why is swimming considered a safe exercise? This is mainly because it is a low-impact exercise that focuses on increasing the aerobic capacity and building strength. The good news is that you can swim as a workout exercise late in your pregnancy without risking your health.
Even so, there are a few things to check when going for a swimming session during your pregnancy. They include:
Always ensure that you are not swimming in extremely cold water. Very cold water can make your body go into shock and trigger other illnesses that can be detrimental to the development of your baby.
Due to the soothing effects and reduced risk of falling associated with swimming, which are great factors any expectant woman would consider, there may be a tendency to overdo it. Remember the old adage that says too much of anything is poisonous? Well, overdoing this noble exercise can lead to nausea, vaginal bleeding or discharge, and abdominal pain.
Ensure that you take enough water or any other healthy drinks to keep hydrated while swimming, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Also, take heed not to drink caffeinated or alcoholic drinks, which may accelerate dehydration.
Effect of Cold water bath during pregnancy – Wrap Up
In ancient times, expectant moms were advised not to take baths or swim in cold water because their babies would catch an infection. As bizarre as it may sound now, it was once quoted as Gospel! Nevertheless, as more scientific research was been carried out, it was discovered that there is no link whatsoever between babies in the womb contracting infections and their moms’ exposure to cold water.
Forget the goose bumps and the shivers. For a few seconds, think about all the health benefits you will gain from regularly taking invigorating cold water baths in the comfort of your home. Just imagine how this will make your pregnancy more enjoyable. Then, boldly stand in the refreshing jets of cold water spraying from your shower head. Or, if you prefer it, step into your meticulously prepared bathtub full of clean, cold water and have the best bath of your lifetime.
Moderation is key – Don’t aim for an Arctic Blast, and don’t plant yourself in the Bath for hours on end. Your Midwife or Doctor will guide you on the ideal Temperature and Timings based on your Babies development, and your Medical history.