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Here’s What The Experts Say About Taking A Hot Bath When You’re TTC

Let’s get to the bottom of this old wives’ tale.

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Trying to get pregnant is a mind game. Your body is tense. You’re stressed out. You can’t relax. If ever there were a time for a soothing soak in the tub, now would be the time. Except if you’re trying to make sure that you don’t do anything that could compromise conception, you might be avoiding your tub altogether — but you probably don’t have to.

Where did all the worry about taking hot baths and pregnancy come from in the first place? Well, this isn’t an old wives’ tale, but one actually steeped in science. In the study, “Hot tub use during pregnancy and the risk of miscarriage,” researchers found that being in a hot tub (or simply a really hot bath) during early pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage. In fact, being in a hot tub or whirlpool in early pregnancy “was associated with a twofold increased risk of miscarriage.” So, here’s how experts translate that knowledge into your bathroom at home, and whether or not a hot bath is OK if you’re TTC.

Hot baths may pose a risk to fetuses, so they’re discouraged during pregnancy.

Spending 10 minutes or more submerged in hot water can bring your core body temperature higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit, Romper previously reported. And if you’re early on in your pregnancy, there is a chance that the baby could have an increased chance of neural tube defects. “We do discourage women, particularly early in pregnancy, from getting their core body temperatures too hot, like over 100 degrees,” says Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Yale School of Medicine.

This only applies to people who are already pregnant, and not those who are TTC. So if you’re hoping for a baby, can you hop in the tub?

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But a hot bath while TTC can be OK.

Fill ‘er up, Minkin says. “I have never told a woman trying to conceive not to take a bath, but I think a reasonably warm bath should be fine,” she says. Because, as it turns out, your eggs like the warm environment. “A woman's eggs are stored in the ovaries, which are ‘intra-abdominal’ organs, located deep inside the pelvis,” says Dr. David Diaz, a reproductive endocrinologist and fertility expert at West Coast Fertility Centers in Fountain Valley, California. This means their normal environmental temperature is 98.6 degrees, so they’re made to thrive in a warm setting.

“Our natural core body temperature is maintained by multiple thermo-regulatory mechanisms designed to protect us from excessive heat build-up,” Diaz says. “Dilation of our blood vessels, perspiration, and increased breathing all work to cool the body and maintain a normal temperature at all times. It is unlikely that a long bath, sauna, or a hot tub would affect the number and quality of a woman’s eggs.”

A hot bath might make it harder to conceive, depending on the timing.

If you have sex and then take a bath immediately afterward, you could be giving your partner’s swimmers a bigger challenge. “One possible concern is that water in the vagina could interfere with sperm transport (not that we have a lot of evidence for that),” says Minkin. So, you might want to wait a while before sinking into the tub, or consider taking a shower instead. (And yes, you can still get pregnant if you take a shower after.) If you’re set on soaking in a bath, Minkin suggests waiting 10 to 15 minutes after sex before settling into the tub, to give the sperm time to arrive at the egg.

You’ll also want to be mindful about any products you’re adding to the tub, experts say. If bath bombs or oils make you more prone to yeast infections, steer clear — having itchiness and discomfort down there will obviously make you less interested in sex and TTC for a bit.

In short, taking a hot bath while you’re trying to conceive is totally fine. But like everything else, you might have to make some minor modifications to optimize your chances of becoming pregnant.

Study referenced:

Li, D. K. (2003, November 15). Hot Tub Use during Pregnancy and the Risk of Miscarriage. American Journal of Epidemiology, 158(10), 931–937.


Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gyneolocy at the Yale School of Medicine

Dr. David Diaz, a reproductive endocrinologist and fertility expert

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