One of the best and safest ways to relieve your pregnancy aches and pains is taking an epsom salt bath while pregnant.
Epsom salts (scientific name is magnesium sulfate) look similar to regular table salt, but it’s different chemically and has different uses. Beware, epsom salt has a distinct bitter taste and is not for flavoring foods. Instead, it is a natural laxative (if you can bear the bitter taste). However, it should not be consumed by pregnant women.
Epsom salts are considered FDA Pregnancy Category D when ingested, and should only be consumed under the care of a healthcare provider in specific medical situations. Do NOT drink epsom salt if you are pregnant UNLESS your doctor has given you specific instructions.
Epsom salts are perfectly safe for soaking in pregnancy, and they can give safely give you relief from common pregnancy aches and pains, including back aches, muscle tension, leg cramps, and general achiness.
The Benefits of an Epsom Salt Bath Soak
Many obstetricians and midwives do recommend epsom salt baths while pregnant for relieving many of your discomforts. Consider dissolving two cups of Epsom salts in warm water, and soak in it for at least twelve minutes.
Epsom salt baths offer many health benefits to pregnant women:
1. Epsom bath salts in pregnancy helps you get more magnesium in your body. Research has shown that soaking in an Epsom salt bath for at least 12 minutes increases blood magnesium concentrations. During pregnancy, magnesium is essential mineral you need to help build and repair tissues in your body. This mineral also regulate your blood sugar levels, and it can help control cholesterol, too.
Pregnant women should aim to get 350 milligrams of magnesium per day. You can get magnesium from the foods you eat, a prenatal vitamin, and also from epsom salt baths.
Most Americans are deficient in magnesium, and since it’s an important nutrient you need in pregnant, soaking in a warm bath with Epsom salt (which is magnesium sulfate, and therefore high in magnesium) is one of the easiest ways to get a boost of this nutrient.
2. Epsom salts are an anti-inflammatory and will decrease your pregnancy aches and pains. Take an epsom salt bath while pregnant is one of the best ways to reduce inflammation and ease muscle aches – whether it’s from your achy back, from carrying all that weight around, or for your sore legs. When you take an epsom salt bath, magnesium ions are absorbed by your skin, and these ions interfere with the pain receptors in the brain, which will decrease any pain you’re feeling. In a nutshell, epsom salts are a natural, anti-inflammatory pain reliever.
3. Epsom salts relax you and improve your mood. When you soak in a nice, relaxing epsom salt bath, magnesium is absorbed through your skin and helps your body produce more serotonin, a chemical in the brain that controls your mood and emotions. Low serotonin levels can make you cranky, irritable and depressed. Higher levels of serotonin can make us feel relaxed and happier. Since serotonin also affects your sleep, taking an epsom salt bath can help you have better night’s sleep, too.
4. Epsom salts remove toxins from your body. The sulfates in Epsom salts offer a natural detoxication for your body. It flushes out toxins and metals from your cells, which decrease pain and helps your body eliminate harmful substances. Another perk of epsom salts is that it also exfoliates your skin.
5. Epsom salts can help with hemorrhoids. Though no one likes to talk about it, pregnant women are more prone to constipation and hemorrhoids. Taking a soak in a hot bath with epsom salts can help decrease your hemorrhoids, due to its anti-inflammatory nature, and help you to feel better. When you’re taking an epsom salt bath while pregnant, the warm water will also relax your anal sphincter, making your rectal area feel better.
Other Uses for Epsom Salts in Pregnancy
There is some evidence that magnesium sulfate (epsom salts) can be used to effectively treat preeclampsia and reduce pregnancy complications.
In a 2002 study, published in the British Medical Journey, researchers found that epsom salts injected directly into a pregnant woman’s bloodstream can decrease the risk of preeclampsia from turning into the more dangerous eclampsia by 50%. This was a huge international research study that involved more than 10,000 women.
Safety Tips for Taking an Epsom Salt Bath While Pregnant
When you’re pregnant, go ahead and take an epsom salt bath to relieve your pregnancy discomforts. However, just be care to keep the water at a comfortable level. Take care to make sure the water is not too hot or steamy. You don’t want to scald yourself, and you do not want to get too hot. And you definitely don’t want to risk increasing your body temperature, as this can increase the risk of complications.
So if you’re taking an epsom salt bath while pregnant, and you find yourself sweating and feeling overheated, get out of the bath tub to cool down.