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. Here’s the deal with taking hot baths while trying to conceive.
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,” according to the study.
Why Miscarriage Can Occur Because Of A Hot Bath
Spending 10 minutes or more submerged in hot water can bring your core body temperature higher than 101 F, the Mayo Clinic 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, not to get their core body temperatures too hot, like over 100,” Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, MD, Clinical Professor of OB/GYN at Yale tells Romper.
But Here's Why A Hot Bath While TTC Can Be Okay
This only applies to already-pregnant women, and not those who are TTC. So if you’re hoping for a baby, can you hop in the tub? Absolutely, advises Dr. Minkin. “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,” Dr. David Diaz, a reproductive endocrinologist and fertility expert at West Coast Fertility Centers in Fountain Valley, CA, explains in an email to Romper. This means their normal environmental temperature is 98.6 degrees, so they function best within the body's naturally warm, moist environment.”
“Our natural core body temperature is maintained by multiple thermo-regulatory mechanisms designed to protect us from excessive heat build-up,” Dr. Diaz continues. “Dilation of our blood vessels, perspiration, and increased breathing all work to cool the body and maintain normal temperature at all times. It is therefore unlikely that a long bath, sauna, or a hot tub would affect the number and quality of a woman's ‘oocytes' (eggs)."
This Is What You Shouldn’t Put Into The Tub When You’re TTC
Even though you can take a steamy hot bath, you’ll still need to be careful about what you put in the water. “You shouldn’t use bath bombs or other oily products,” Dr. Kim Langdon, MD, an OB/GYN tells Romper. Sure, they might smell good and give your bath a spa-like experience, but there is a risk that bath bombs can give you a yeast infection (via Healthline), since they can adjust the acidity of your vagina. And if you’re TTC, you want your lady parts to be fresh — and not itchy.
A Hot Bath Can Also Make It Harder For Conception To Occur
And here’s something else to consider. If you’ve had sex and then take a bath afterwards, you might 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),” advises Dr. Minkin. That’s why you might want to wait a while before sinking into the tub. Obvs, you can still bathe, but a shower might be better, especially right after sex. (And yes, you can still get pregnant if you take a shower after, because you’re not sitting in the water.)
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 so that you optimize your chances of becoming pregnant. And in the meantime, you might want to settle for a warm bath. After all, once you’re pregnant, you’ll have to get used to more lukewarm bath water, anyway.
Li, D., Janevic, T., Odouli, R., Liu, L. “Hot tub use during pregnancy and the risk of miscarriage” 2003.
Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, MD, Clinical Professor of OB/GYN at Yale
Dr. David Diaz, a reproductive endocrinologist and fertility expert at West Coast Fertility Centers in Fountain Valley, CA
Dr. Kim Langdon, MD, an OB/GYN
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