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Taking an Epsom salt bath may be an effective and safe way for pregnant people to ease aches and pains.
Epsom salt is a crystallized form of magnesium sulfate. People who use Epsom salt as a home remedy believe that their body absorbs some of these minerals.
In this article, learn about the benefits of taking an Epsom salt bath during pregnancy, as well as the possible risks.
As long as pregnant people do not ingest Epsom salt or overheat in the bathtub, they can use Epsom salt baths to get relief from a variety of symptoms.
Most of the evidence about the benefits of Epsom salt baths for pregnancy-related discomforts is anecdotal.
However, doctors and researchers generally agree that they are a safe way to seek relief as long as people take proper precautions.
There are many potential benefits of taking Epsom salt baths during pregnancy. These include the following:
1. Relief from aches and pains
Sore muscles, round ligament pain, and leg cramps are all common during pregnancy. While there is little scientific evidence that magnesium sulfate eases pain, the heat from a warm bath can help to relax the muscles.
2. Stress reduction
Soaking in a warm bath can help to relieve stress. Research on an animal model suggests that magnesium may also be a natural stress reliever and antidepressant.
3. Hemorrhoid help
Constipation is common during pregnancy. Alongside the weight of the uterus and developing baby, this can increase the likelihood of hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins around the anus that can itch or hurt. Soaking in a warm bath may help relieve the discomfort that hemorrhoids cause, while the anti-inflammatory properties of Epsom salts may help to shrink the veins.
4. Increased magnesium levels
When a person is pregnant, their need for magnesium increases.
In fact, research has shown that a magnesium deficiency is common in many women of childbearing age.
Although there is not yet scientific proof, soaking in an Epsom salt bath may allow the body to absorb magnesium.
5. Relief from itching
Pregnant people often experience itching as their skin stretches to accommodate the growing fetus.
An Epsom salt bath may soothe itching. Applying moisturizer after the bath should help to provide long-lasting relief.
To make an Epsom salt bath, fill a tub with warm water and mix in 2 cups of Epsom salt until it completely dissolves.
Pregnant people should limit the time they spend in the tub to 12–15 minutes to minimize the risk of overheating.
Doctors generally consider it safe to soak in an Epsom salt bath.
However, consuming excess Epsom salt could result in poisoning or a magnesium sulfate overdose, which is harmful to a person and their fetus.
Epsom salt baths also pose the risk of a person overheating. If a pregnant person’s body temperature rises too much, it may harm the fetus. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend maintaining a core body temperature below 102.2°F during pregnancy.
Epsom salt baths can provide welcome relief from several symptoms during pregnancy.
However, it is essential for anyone who is pregnant and taking an Epsom salt bath to avoid ingesting the Epsom salt or letting their body overheat.
Epsom salts are widely available in grocery stores, pharmacies, and online.