Your body is changing everyday and this is an exciting time in your life! You may still be working and looking for some extra relief from aches and pains. A hot shower sounds like the answer to all of your problems, but is it the best choice?
Knowing what is the right thing to do and trying to avoid situations that could be harmful for your unborn child is of the utmost importance when you are pregnant. Your worries are totally understandable! You want to do the right thing and ensure you do not cause any unnecessary harm to yourself and your child.
Taking a hot shower has many soothing benefits when your body is going through changes, and places that were not sore before can definitely become sore and tired as the pregnancy progresses. We take long and hot showers to relieve the stresses of our day and leave our worries behind us. But could having a hot shower be harmful to yourself or your unborn child?
The biggest cause for concern when having a steaming hot shower is increasing your core body temperature. This can cause you to overheat, experience discomfort and can even lead to fainting.
Whether you are pregnant or not, hot showers are also known to:
- Increase blood pressure
- Irritate the skin
- Make the skin itchy
- Dry out the skin
- Increase the potential for a dizzy spell.
When you combine these factors with pregnancy, you might need to try and find an alternative form of relaxation. Have your shower, but take notice of how hot the water is and turn it down a notch.
When you are thinking about having a soak in the tub, assessing the heat of the water is even more important. In the bath you are submerged in the water, so if it is particularly hot, you might find yourself overheating quite quickly. That water is completely surrounding your tummy and unborn child, so it is important to take some extra care with the water temperature.
Have you ever noticed yourself sweating while having a good soak in the bath? This is an indication that the water might just be a little too hot!
So, you need to unwind and relax. What are the alternatives to a long and hot shower during pregnancy?
Ask your partner to give you a foot massage or a back rub. Hopefully they say yes! This also provides you with quality couple time as you continue through your pregnancy. Nothing is more valuable than bonding through the experience of pregnancy. It might even help you both maintain a sense of calm during the labour stages if you have been working together in partnership throughout the pregnancy.
Not everyone can have a handy massage partner unfortunately. It does not mean you have to miss out though! There are so many pregnancy massagers that are easy for an individual to use on themselves. They are often inexpensive and can really do the trick when you need to relax and rid yourself of aches and pains. Who needs a partner anyway, right?
From personal experience, I have found the following to be the areas that need the most attention during pregnancy:
Aim to have your partner focus on these areas throughout the week, or find yourself a pregnancy massager that focusses on these areas. You will thank me later!
Make sure you are getting enough rest
Never underestimate the importance of sleep, particularly when pregnant. Who knows when you will manage to get a full night of rest after the baby is born!
Many of us do not achieve the required 8 hours of sleep per night, even when we have the best of intentions to do so. So many changes are happening in your body right now and sleep is the best way to ensure you have energy each day and feel as refreshed as possible. Our bodies do most of their important work when we are asleep, and what could be more important than growing a healthy baby?
As your pregnancy progresses, you may find it difficult to get comfortable when you are trying to fall asleep. Tossing and turning all night long will definitely not help you to wake up refreshed and ready for the new day.
I had a body pillow to sleep with during my pregnancies. It was such a relief to rest on my side with my leg over the body pillow. It also helps to keep your spine in alignment and I found it helped with my back pain. To be totally honest, I still use one now as it helps me get comfortable and cosy and I find it takes the pressure off my back.
If a long body pillow is not something you feel you would like, there are also pillow wedges that are much smaller that might also do the trick. These are able to support your back while you sleep and keep you in a comfortable sleeping position during the night.
If you are a tummy sleeper, this could be difficult when you are pregnant, as your tummy expands. There are different types of pillows that could assist with this, although I have not tried them myself. One idea I have seen is a special bed that has a hole, or space, in the area that your tummy would normally lay. You lay on your stomach and your pregnancy belly sits in the open space. This might be a solution for you if you have tried everything else and find that nothing is working for you.
As your tummy grows, it becomes firmer and you might even start to see some stretch marks. These are a sign of baby love and a fact of life, although many women do not like them. If you soothe your skin as your tummy grows, it may lessen the presence of stretch marks.
Soothing your skin also gives you a chance to connect with your unborn child. Your unborn child will feel your movements and respond to the calming effect that you are providing.
Your baby can sense your moods and feelings from inside the womb. Skin soothing can really relax you and your unborn child, much like the hot shower you were thinking of having. You can soothe your skin in a variety of ways:
- Rub moisture cream over your belly
- Trickle warm water over your tummy while in a bath that is not too hot
- Use specific creams to help with stretch marks
- Oil your skin
- Lay a warm face cloth over your tummy in colder months.
Any of these options are a great way to relax and soothe not only yourself, but also your unborn baby.
You deserve it! With all that you are going through, spend some time on yourself and take some time to be present in the moment.
We can get caught up in everything that is going on around us. You do not want to rush through your pregnancy without taking the time to enjoy what is happening. It is important for you to think of yourself and really take that time out of your day to do something nice for yourself.
Pampering can take many different forms:
- Read a good book that you have waiting for you on the bookshelf
- Go to the movies with a friend
- Organize a lunch date and catch up
- Go for a scenic drive
- Pack a picnic lunch and find a nice spot to sit and eat
- Window shopping
- Put on some relaxing music and chill.
If you have the money to do so, you could book yourself in for a facial, manicure or pedicure. If you are saving money for your baby’s arrival, then you and a friend could get together for a girly night and pamper each other. There are endless ideas, but the most crucial thing is that you do something that makes you feel good. Something that is just for you.
If you have a friend who is pregnant as well, it might be a lovely idea to provide them with a pamper pack to ensure that they take time out of their day to enjoy the moment as well. You might just make their day! You could also use the pack as a sneaky incentive for a get-together so that you can both relax.
Once baby arrives, your life will revolve around your little bundle of joy. We do not think this will happen to us, but it does. So take the time now and really make an effort to pamper yourself and enjoy the last few months or weeks of your pregnancy.
When your baby is growing inside of you, it feels and senses your emotions. If you are stressed, they can feel the tension as well. I remember always trying to remain relaxed and calm during my pregnancies because I wanted my baby to feel that way as well.
One way to reduce some tension, rather than having a hot shower while pregnant, is to play some relaxing music. They say that music is the key to access vital educational aspects of our brains for strong growth and development. Music triggers not only our emotions, but also our senses and creativity.
I remember reading once about a mother who played classical music to her unborn child throughout her pregnancy. This child demonstrated an extremely high IQ in their early years of life. So basically, you can have the best of both worlds here. Relaxing yourself and at the same time, providing your unborn child with educational potential!
Although this particular situation may be unique and there may have been many other factors at play, it is certainly something that has stuck with me over the years. Playing some great music can only be a positive thing regardless.
I would play a mixture of classical along with some tunes that you like and find relaxing. It is probably not a good idea to play hard rock music though. Unless you want your child to come out of the womb swinging a guitar! Heavy rock music might cause some stress to your unborn child and increase their heart rate. So, opt for a more soothing and relaxing genre of music while you are pregnant. Give it a go and see how you feel. Remember, this is all about you!
Treading your own path
When you first tell people you are expecting, they want to provide you with all of the advice under the sun. In fact, they feel compelled to do so! They will tell you what worked for them, what did not work, what they should have done better. You will hear it all!
Tread your own path. You will know what is right for your body if you listen to the signs it is giving you.
Our bodies are so amazing at letting us know what we should, and should not be doing. Tune in to what your body is telling you and let your common sense kick in as well. If you do not feel well after a shower, then listen to that. Next time, have a shorter shower, or one that is not as hot.
If you are massaging your neck or back, and it feels amazing, then keep doing it!
If you have been on your feet all day window shopping and your ankles are starting to swell up, take that as a sign to lie down and put your feet up. Your body is telling you to stop. It has had enough for the day. Listen to the signs your body is sending to you. Enjoy your pregnancy and make sure you do your research if you have particular concerns about whether or not you are allowed to have a hot shower or bath. Ask your doctor for their opinion as well if you cannot find the answers you are seeking.