Epsom Salt Bath While Pregnant
Epsom salt has been popularly used in baths, since time immemorial, to attain relief from aches and pains . Contrary to its name, it is not a true salt as it lacks sodium chloride, with magnesium sulfate being its major component. Owing to its anti-inflammatory and stress relieving properties, it has worked wonders for pregnant women, making them feel relaxed.
Can you safely use Epsom salt during Pregnancy
Though it comes in the FDA pregnancy Category D for consumption, its external use has not been listed. Moreover, there has also been no records of any adverse effects till date. However, a gynecologist’s advice is required when one intends to use it for treating diabetes, swollen feet, and edema [2, 3].
What are the benefits of Epsom salt bath when Pregnant
As a pain reliever
When used in baths, it serves as a wonderful remedy for leg cramps and back pain – common discomforts during this time . The magnesium ions of the salt come in the way of pain receptors in the brain, thus combatting with inflammation and pain .
For swelling and edema
Apart from being a strong anti-inflammatory agent, its magnesium sulfate content enhances blood circulation, minimizing fluid buildup. Hence taking a foot bath in Epsom salt would work towards reducing swelling that mostly occurs during late pregnancy [5, 6].
However, if you notice excessive swelling of your face and hands, contact your doctor right away as it might be a sign of preeclampsia .
For stretch marks and overall skin health
Since magnesium sulfate soothes your skin when used as a scrub, exfoliating and softening it, this bath is beneficial in minimizing the reddish streaks of stretch marks which commonly occur during this time [2, 3, 7]. Its anti-inflammatory properties also help with pregnancy-related acne and hives.
Because of its magnesium content, which raises the body’s serotonin levels, an Epsom salt bath before bed helps in rejuvenating your mood as well as providing a good night’s sleep [2, 3].
As a laxative
It is a natural laxative, helping in increasing the intestine’s water content as well as cleaning waste matters from the colon . Though ingesting Epsom salt when pregnant is not a safe option, you can soak yourself in it for about half an hour and repeat this at least thrice a week to get relief from constipation [2, 9, 10].
An Epsom salt sitz bath would help women suffering from hemorrhoids due to its anti-inflammatory property. Moreover, acting as a detoxifying agent, it even draws out the toxins from the rectum minimizing itching and swelling [3,12, 15]. However, in case the hemorrhoids get worse, consult your doctor [13, 14].
Nausea and morning sickness
The presence of magnesium in the salt helps to relieve nausea. So, a bath would help with morning sickness that mostly occurs during the first trimester of pregnancy [17, 18].
Prevention of preterm labor
Magnesium sulfate plays a major role in preventing preterm contractions, possibly by reducing the levels of calcium in the muscles of the uterus, which would otherwise have triggered them to contract .
How to prepare an Epsom salt bath
Depending on the condition you are using it for either soak your feet in the water or take a complete bath.
- Take about two cups of Epsom salt and add it to your bath water .
- Soak in it for around 15 minutes .
You may even add apple cider vinegar (two to three teaspoons) and baking soda (one to two tablespoons) for a detox bath to cure hives or vaginal yeast infection [3,17,20]. However, consult your medical practitioner before doing it.
Safety tips for taking an Epsom salt bath in pregnancy
- Make sure that the temperature of the water does not exceed 100°F, as overheating yourself can be dangerous for the unborn baby [1,15].
- Avoid adding essential oils like lavender and eucalyptus to your Epsom salt bath, as there are a lot of doubts regarding their safety.