The stress and physical aches that come as part of the package are something no pregnant woman can deny. This is why a nice relaxing hot water steam during pregnancy can seem like the perfect recipe to relax. Some family members and friends may even suggest the idea.
But how safe is it, exactly? Are there any risks and benefits to indulge in hot water baths during pregnancy? Can hot water steam harm the growing baby? This article sheds some light on such topics.
Is It Safe To Take Hot Water Steam During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, it is important to have all aspects of your body just right, including body temperature. This is why it is so dangerous to have a high fever during pregnancy. It can result in compromising the health of both you and your baby.
High body temperature can have numerous side effects, up to and including miscarriage, and birth defects in the spinal cord. It can also cause underdevelopment of the brain of the baby. So, it is crucial to maintain a healthy body temperature.
Taking full body hot water steam during pregnancy works against that. Therefore, it is not safe or wise to take a steam bath during pregnancy. This means no sauna, hot tub, or steam room.
Related Reading: 12 Early Pregnancy Tips To Avoid Miscarriage
However, not all options are closed off for you. You can still take warm baths, as long as the water is not too hot. You can also inhale steam to relieve yourself of a nose block. Just make sure your whole body is not exposed to steam, especially for long periods of time.
Why Taking Hot Water Steam Is Not Safe During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, our body temperature is already higher than usual. The supply of blood to the skin gets increased, not to mention how many hormonal changes you will go through.
When you take hot water steam during pregnancy, your body’s usual methods of cooling down, like sweating, will not work. Thus, the core temperature of your body rises even more. This can be very dangerous for both you and your unborn baby.
This risk is even higher during the first twelve or so weeks of pregnancy.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Using Hot Water Steam During Pregnancy?
There is not a lot of available information on how using steam rooms and taking hot water steam during pregnancy can affect you. However, we can use logic and the existing research to know this. From that, we can know some of the possible side effects or disadvantages of using hot water steam during pregnancy.
1. Increase in core body temperature
When you are pregnant, it is important to maintain a normal body temperature. Having too high of a body temperature can be deadly for the baby. Babies in the womb are not able to regulate their body temperature on their own.
The body temperature shouldn’t go more than 102.2°F (39°C) during pregnancy. It takes only 10 -15 minutes in hot steam to cross this benchmark.
When your body temperature rises due to steam, the heat can reach the baby and harm them. They cannot endure this, especially for a prolonged amount of time.
2. Birth defects
Your body temperature rising drastically when you are in your first trimester is more dangerous than other times. Many babies born under such circumstances are observed to have some kind of birth defect. Usually, it is a neural tube defect, affecting the brain or spine.
Related Reading: 13 Health Problems That May Affect Premature Babies
The last thing you need during a time when you already often feel nauseous and dizzy is something that could make you faint. So it is wise to avoid full-body hot water steam, as exposure to it for more than about 15 minutes can make you lose consciousness.
This is because when your body heats up, more of your blood flows to your skin to help you sweat and cool down. This means less blood is available to flow to your other organs, particularly your brain. This, in addition to all the hormonal changes you are going through, is enough to make you faint.
This is mainly a risk if you are using a public steam room that other people use as well. These rooms may contain germs that were carried there by other people. While it is a well-known fact that heat can kill several bacteria, some bacteria can survive heat, and even thrive in it.
During a time when your immunity is lower than usual, it is better to not take any chances.
Related Reading: 9 Common Infections During Pregnancy You Should Be Aware Of
5. Worsens asthma
If you have asthma, you know that sometimes, heat is a trigger. So it goes without saying that spending a lot of time in a steamy room is not the best idea. Taking hot water steam during pregnancy can potentially irritate your respiratory system and aggravate your asthma.
Hot Water Steam During Pregnancy: Precautions To Take
While it is not recommended to take full-body hot water steam during pregnancy, if you feel like you need one, there are some precautions you can take to ensure you do not experience the side effects.
- Make sure it is only once in a while. No matter how tempting it might be, do not make it a daily ritual
- When you do it, make sure you do not stay in the steam room for more than 10 minutes, at most
- Inside the steam room, stay away from the vents from where the steam is coming in
- If you are using a hot tub, get out immediately if you start to feel nauseous or faint
Is Facial Steam Safe During Pregnancy?
It can be extremely dangerous to expose your whole body to steam. However, facial steam during pregnancy is generally considered to be safe. You should be careful not to use a lot of heat, and it should still only be for a short amount of time, but you can still take steam on your face during pregnancy.
One way steam is used for facial procedures is by wrapping your face in a hot towel. This will probably not cause harm. Or if you are having a beauty facial done during pregnancy then it is fine when done once in a while
Just make sure you follow moderation.
Can Steam Cause Miscarriage?
Not enough research has been done to know for sure if steam alone can cause miscarriage. However, we do know that the high body temperature caused by fevers is very dangerous, especially in the first trimester.
So, we cannot rule out the possibility of steam doing the same, as it also increases your body temperature. Thus, we can deduce that exposure to too much steam can increase the risks of birth defects and miscarriage.
When Can You Take Hot Water Steam During Pregnancy?
As mentioned above, taking hot water steam during pregnancy for the full body is very dangerous, especially when it is just plain steam. However, there are a few instances when taking hot steam can be safe, even beneficial.
Inhaling steam, usually mixed with something else, is a common home remedy for blocked nose and other symptoms of a cold or sinus. Let us explore these methods and figure out how safe they are.
Steam with Vicks during pregnancy
Inhaling steam with Vicks during pregnancyis generally considered and even beneficial if you are experiencing symptoms of a cold. If you have a sore throat, a blocked nose, or a cough, inhaling Vicks and steam can help relieve you. Just add a little bit of Vicks Vaporub to hot water and inhale the fumes.
Karvol Plus Steam inhalation during pregnancy
Karvol Plus is a capsule that can is used to relieve nose blocks and other symptoms of a cold. It is commonly inhaled as steam. However, it has not been confirmed that the use of it is safe during pregnancy. So Karvol Plus steam inhalation during pregnancy is not recommended.
Menthol steam inhalation in pregnancy
Menthol is often used to relieve physical aches and pains. It is also used to relieve congestion and cold. It is an organic compound. So, if you experience those symptoms, menthol steam inhalation in pregnancy can be a remedy.
Zandu Balm steam during pregnancy
Zandu balm is commonly used to relieve pain. It is commonly used for headaches and body aches. But it is also used to remedy cold. Many women who experience these symptoms inhale Zandu balm steam during pregnancy, so it is generally considered safe.
Easi Breathe capsule during pregnancy
Easi Breathe Inhalation Capsule is often used to relieve cold, blocked noses, cough, and even asthma. If you want to inhale Easi Breathe capsule during pregnancy, it is best to consult your doctor first, to ensure it is safe for you.
Related Reading: 11 Indian Home Remedies For Cold During Pregnancy
Some Alternatives For Hot Water Steam
When you are pregnant, it is natural to try to seek relaxation and relief where you can find it. A hot steam bath may seem like the perfect option, but it is far from ideal. And besides, there are other options you can look into.
Prenatal massages and prenatal yoga are two such options. They will bring a lot of relaxation to your stiff muscles and can also help keep you in shape. You can also go to the swimming pool. That will make you feel lighter, and if you decide to swim, can help you keep your body fit.
In your everyday life, you can take warm baths and use warm packs when you experience body aches. You can also use accessories like a body pillow, or a pregnancy belt to support your growing belly.
Even though it can seem fairly tempting to take hot water steam during pregnancy, you should remember that your body is not the same as it was before you got pregnant. You should avoid any activity that raises your body temperature to unhealthy levels.
However, there are some instances where inhaling steam, rather than exposing your whole body to it, can be beneficial. If you use the right ingredients, it can relieve symptoms of cold, like nose block and cough.
And besides, if relaxation is what you yearn for, there are several other things that will help with that!