Will a warm bath help get contractions going? Let an experienced labor nurse help you know how a warm bath will help or not help when you’re ready to get your labor started!
But first, how do I know all of this?
Hi, I’m Hilary — The Pregnancy Nurse 👩⚕️. I have been a nurse since 1997 and I have 20 years of OB nursing experience, I am also the curly head behind Pulling Curls and The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. 🩺 I have helped thousands of expecting families have their baby, as well as what they can do to be more comfortable at home before being in active labor. Plus, I’ve had three of my own. SO, let’s talk baths.
Can a Warm Bath Induce Labor?
It’s a good question, but I doubt you’re going to love the answer.
Because as far as inducing labor (meaning, going from no labor, to starting labor and progressing to active labor) the answer is no. All of that is done with hormones and your body.
But the answer also has some nuance.
Before we get started, please notice it says WARM bath. Pregnant women (or birthers) should not have HOT baths. It really just warms your baby up too much. This is from the minute of conception through delivery — so just something to remember and tell your friends.
What Does a Warm Bath Do?
It helps you relax. That’s really what baths do. If you hate baths, I probably wouldn’t take one — because it may not help you relax.
I do think it’s a great thing to do the day before your induction though.
When you relax, muscles may loosen up and baby may find their position better, or they can drop further into the birth canal. That’s the good news.
If you’re in early labor, a bath may help baby find their right position and help labor happen at a quicker pace, possibly. It may also do nothing, but if you enjoy it that’s a big win either way.
But, a bath alone will not start contractions.
Honestly, one other thing that really helps people relax is taking a prenatal class. Getting confident about the labor room can help your brain relax into labor as well!
What Else Can a Bath Do?
One thing I want to mention is that baths can be tricky when you’re 9 months pregnant.
Beyond the temperature possibly being an issue baths are hard. They’re slippery, and it can be REALLY hard to get out. I would definitely not take a bath unless your partner is there to help you get out (or at least stand by).
I know it sounds crazy, but it’s just super easy to slip and hurt yourself — so be careful.
What if I Don’t Like Baths?
I like baths, but I don’t love them that far into pregnancy. It’s just HARD To hoist myself out of the bathtub.
I mostly actually recommend warm showers. Just letting the water hit your back in early labor can be a NICE distraction and can also help all those muscles relax. Bonus if you have a massaging shower head.
I recommend letting the warm water hitt your back and shift your hips side to side (hopefully letting those hips relax at the same time).
In fact, that’s one of the things I go over in my natural pain management bonus video in The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. We go through lots of household things you can use (like racquetballs) to help your body relax during early labor and labor longer at home.
If you’re not sure you’re quite ready, check out my free beginning prenatal class.
I hope this post helped answer any questions you had about taking a warm bath during pregnancy and if it can help induce labor. For more natural pain management options check out The Online Prenatal Class for Couples at the link above.
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments!
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A nurse since 1997, she has worked in various fields including pediatrics, geriatrics & hospice.
She has 20 years of labor and delivery experience in the San Jose, CA and Phoenix, AZ areas.