Labor contractions are beginning and the attending doctor wants you to stay at home a little while longer. Labor pains are new and irritating at first and some pregnant women find great relief in a warm bath. Taking warm baths can help relieve tension and pain throughout pregnancy, but too warm could lead to birth defects and lack of oxygen to the baby. 

Lukewarm From the Beginning

In the first trimester, keeping body core temperature stable is important to having a healthy pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advise pregnant women to keep body core temperature under 102°F during pregnancy. This is especially important during the first trimester when overheating the body can lead to an increased chance of birth defects. 

Keeping Baby Cool and Mom Comfortable

Running shallow baths that feel comfortable to the touch is safe through every stage of pregnancy. One rule of thumb is to test bath water on the forearm or elbow. These two areas of the body are very sensitive to temperature. If it feels hot, it’s too hot for baby.

The Best Way to Run a Bath

Just like kids, pregnant women in the midst of early labor may want to hop right in that bath tub while the water is running. This is not a good choice. The first water out of the faucet will be cold or cool. If mom gets in the tub while the water is running, she may not notice the water getting hotter. Baby water thermometers that float on the surface can help mom regulate water temperature. Water should always be kept below 102°F. For added safety, have the someone take the pregnant woman's temperature throughout the time in the water. It only takes about 10 minutes in hot water to raise core body temperature.