Most pregnant women experience backaches or aches in their legs and feet during their second and third trimesters.
These aches and pains can lead to sleepless nights, difficulty moving around, and leave you feeling tired and frustrated. One of the best and most natural ways to alleviate pregnancy aches and pains is to soak in an Epsom salt bath.
The crystals of hydrated magnesium sulphate are not actually a salt, but a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate.
Epsom Salt Bath During Pregnancy
Soaking in an Epsom salt bath during pregnancy offers many benefits, such as relieving aches and pains without the risks of pain medication. Here are 4 great benefits of taking an Epsom salt bath during pregnancy:
#1: Epsom Salt Provide A Magnesium Boost
Many of us have heard that cramps and aches can be relieved by increasing magnesium levels. It’s also an essential mineral for building and repairing body tissues, as well as regulating blood sugar levels. Some women experience irritable uterus, which can be alleviated by extra magnesium.
While it might make sense to take an oral magnesium supplement, only around 20-50% of ingested magnesium is absorbed. There are also a number of drugs and conditions that interfere with magnesium absorption, such as celiac disease and type 2 diabetes.
However, some magnesium can be absorbed through the skin when soaking in a bath treated with Epsom salt. A study conducted by the University of Birmingham in 2004 supports this idea. Researchers measured the magnesium levels of study participants before and after taking baths with dissolved Epsom salts. The results suggested prolonged soaking elevates blood levels of magnesium with no adverse effects.
The research indicates the ideal concentration for using Epsom salt baths is 2 cups of salts per standard size bath. Ideal soaking times is at least 12 minutes, two to three times per week.
#2: Epsom Salts Reduces Swelling
Magnesium also acts as an effective anti-inflammatory. A meta analysis reviewed a number of studies and found magnesium can have a dramatic impact on inflammation throughout the body.
As your baby grows, there is a higher demand placed on your muscles and ligaments. While your body is producing relaxin, a hormone to help the ligaments loosen and stretch in preparation for birth, it can have some negative effects.
Many women find certain areas of their body suffer more than others dealing with the change to their centre of gravity. You might also suffer from haemorrhoids, which can be relieved by the anti-inflammatory effects of Epsom salts.
Whether it's the small of your back, your hips or your feet, a warm Epsom salt bath is a natural way to ease pain and reduce inflammation.
#3: Epsom Salts Soothes Skin
As your baby grows, so does your belly. The skin begins to stretch and at times can feel tight and itchy. This feeling can vary from mild to intense.
Many pregnant women find having a warm bath with Epsom salt eases the itchiness. The magnesium sulphate soothes the skin and calms the overstretched feeling. The salts can exfoliate and soften the skin when used as a body scrub.
#4: Epsom Salts Offers Stress Relief
Sometimes, just the simple act of soaking in a warm bath is enough to remove the tension of the day. Magnesium helps your body to produce more serotonin, and reduce the effects of adrenaline. Low levels of serotonin can lead to depression and irritability. Promoting higher levels of serotonin make us feel happier and relaxed. Serotonin also promotes healthy sleep, so taking a bath at night in Epsom salts can help you to enjoy a better night of sleep.
Taking a warm bath is one of life’s little pleasures. When you’re pregnant, taking the weight off your feet and relaxing in warm water with the added benefit of Epsom salts can improve your health and wellbeing.
It’s important to make sure the water is the right temperature. Soaking in very hot water can raise your body temperature and is dangerous for your baby. Epsom salts are a natural laxative but should never be ingested during pregnancy, unless under the guidance of your doctor and in certain medical situations.
Always check with your care provider before using Epsom salts during pregnancy, especially if you have any medical conditions.