2020.01.17 - Pregnant women and thermal waters

Pregnant women and thermal waters

In the values of our society, children settle on one of the first places, so are pregnant mothers. Perhaps this is why it is questionable if a mother-to-be could or should go to thermal baths since we are more concerned about their health and that is why we take all risks into consideration. So, let's take a look at the pros and cons of pregnant women going into thermal baths and wellness.

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We start right at the end: if a pregnant mother wants to go to a wellness center or other thermal baths, but has any doubts about it, first consult her gynecologist or, if they are not available, the spa doctor. If she has further doubts, she should give up bathing as she is not obligated to go and she is the only one who knows what’s best for her and what’s not. Before you make your decision alone or with help, let's review the aspects you need to take into consideration!

Let’s start with the cons!

If we look at only the banalest but still existing source of danger, we cannot leave out that baths are dangerous places because you can easily slip on the wet floor. If the place is very crowded, there are other physical threats for pregnant women - just think about running, sliding youngsters! It is not the thermal bath itself that carries the danger, but the large mass of people. Bathing in hot water is also contraindicated in the case of endangered pregnancies and opened uterus. 

The most common source of fear is the risk of infection.  Pregnant mothers can live a full life especially during the first trimester of pregnancy, but who needs an infection which who knows what complications can cause later if not cured completely. Naturally, infections can be collected anywhere, and bathwater is properly disinfected according to today's European expectations, but the devil does not sleep, mistakes can happen. Hot water pools, in particular, should be avoided in which pathogens can reproduce faster and more easily. Furthermore, the water of the thermal water pools is cleaned by constant changing, not by chlorinating the water itself. It is chlorinated only after the pool is drained. From this point of view, it is definitely more recommended to visit natural waters and avoid crowded places.

Another important aspect is timing. In the third trimester, especially not long before birth-giving it is not recommended to stay in warm water for a longer period. 

The temperature itself is important too. Hot water can cause uterine contractions and relax the uterine sphincter muscles. All of this increases the risk of preterm delivery. It is true that our body has an internal temperature control system, so even when sitting in hot water, our internal temperature is maintained at 36 degrees, so the fetus senses nothing from the outside heat, but it is completely unnecessary to overload the regulating (circulatory) system. Fortunately, most thermal baths have more than just one hot water pool. There are plenty to choose from regarding the temperature of the water. The healing thermal water is often mixed with cold water or is cooled down before entering the pool, so everyone can choose their best-fitting temperature.

The mineral composition of water itself is less of a threat for expectant mothers, as they would have to spend a lot of time in these types of waters to experience any significant effect on themselves. Nevertheless, it is worth asking your spa doctor whether it is recommended for pregnant women or not. Pregnant women should be especially careful concerning thermal waters containing radioactive isotopes such as Lake Hévíz.

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Now let’s see the pros!

If we are able to deal with the risks above properly and choose the most appropriate option, pregnant mothers can benefit more from the thermal water baths.

Pregnant women should not rest all day while they are waiting for childbirth, regular exercise is important. Of the various forms of movement, swimming is the most harmless. If you don’t do it in a hot pool, this kind of movement is very healthy and better compared to land-based sports since your already overused joints get to rest a bit during swimming. Also, the risk of a physical injury from falling is also almost zero as you move in the water.

We don't like the word pregnancy nowadays because it underlines a very prosaic aspect of pregnancy to its high-handedness. Despite this, the feeling of pregnancy is very much a part of having a baby. This is why gravity-free, weightlessness is very desirable for pregnant women, even if only for the time they are immersed in the pool water. They can finally float freely, without pressing any extra weight on their ankles, waist, or spine. Their muscles do not have to constantly adjust for altered weight distribution. This experience gives pregnant women a chance to live through this really trying period of their lives more positively and to feel truly blessed, with pregnancy.

In connection to this, research has shown that pregnant women who regularly go to thermal baths sleep more calmly - even later in pregnancy, when restful sleep is interfered with by their tummies and that they cannot take up any comfortable sleeping position.

The spiritual effects of water cannot be overemphasized.  It is no coincidence that the baby is floating in water in the womb, and one of the most ancient methods of giving birth was doing it in water. This is starting to become a fashion again. The state of motherhood and water are in a mysterious relationship with each other, and while eliminating the dangers that exist, it would be a sin to forbid mothers who are expecting a baby from this magical relationship.