By Austin Abramson, MD
The moment the pregnancy test turns positive your entire life’s focus changes. You are no longer referred to in the singular, but rather in the plural! Pregnancy can be the best of time in your life but with all the body changes, prenatal testing, and doctor’s visits tension can rise. The new mother to be must make time for herself to relieve tension and stress. You also want to feel good about your body as it expands in multiple directions.
A great and easy tension reliever is a warm bath with lavender. You close your eyes, inhale the sweet smell of lavender and drift off into a restful nap. Baths are safe throughout pregnancy. They also help to decrease edema in the feet. Always be careful when moving in and out of a tub because your center of gravity has shifted.
A question that frequently arises is can I take a hot tub, sauna or steam shower? The answer is an emphatic no. High external temperatures can raise the core body temperature. Medical studies have demonstrated if a pregnant woman’s body temperature is too high for a prolonged period of time then there is potential increased risk of birth defects, including neural tube defects. Neural tube defects occur when the bones of the spine or skull do not fuse completely. The neural tube is closed by the 6-7th week of gestation. Therefore neural tube defects cannot occur after this time period if a woman in her child-bearing years is consuming a healthful diet with adequate folate.
Additionally high temperatures can cause dehydration and possible fainting with the risk of trauma. All of these potential problems are easily avoidable by relaxing in a warm, lavender bath. Enjoy.