Given the right precautions for the health of the expectant mother and her baby, magnesium-rich Epsom salt baths are a great way to relax at home. Because many women of childbearing age suffer from magnesium deficiencies (a crucial mineral for optimal health), this age-old home remedy may offer substantial benefits to women, including acting as a de-stressor and alleviating aches and pains commonly experienced by pregnant women.
The science behind Epsom salt baths is still disputed, but the anecdotal evidence from pregnant women who claim to have benefitted from these baths is vast. Magnesium is one of the three major electrolytes necessary for optimal bioregulation, so it should come as no surprise that many women report feeling healthier and more vibrant after taking salt baths.
Epsom salt baths are incredibly easy and straightforward to prepare. To make one, simply add a small amount of Epsom salt (roughly two cups) to a warm bath, get in and let the soothing magnesium go to work. Pregnant women should be cognizant, though, of using water that is too hot or staying in hot baths for too long, as extended periods of exposure to high levels of heat may endanger the health of the fetus.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the biggest benefits that women have reported from Epsom salt baths and how they could help you.
Epsom Salt Baths for Mental Health
Many people are aware of the phenomenon of postpartum depression, characterized by deteriorating mental health in new mothers following the birth of a child, but the incidence of depression during pregnancy is unfortunately often overlooked.
Although more research is needed, there is some scientific evidence that salt baths may improve mental health in those who take them due to magnesium’s proven capacity to reduce markers of depression in rats.
Another study, this one on humans, found that regular magnesium supplementation (248 mg per day) resulted in substantial decreases in depression and anxiety symptoms in participants given the mineral.
Although the mental health benefits may vary between individuals, scores of pregnant women have reported increased relaxation following Epsom salt baths.
Potential Relief from Pregnancy-Related Pain
Aside from the mental health boosts, the most common benefit reported by pregnant women who take salt baths is a relief from the many aches and pains commonly experienced during pregnancy.
Magnesium deficiency has been linked to chronic inflammation, a key driver of the aches and pains seen in pregnant women with shifting hormones. This may explain, at least partially, the pain-neutralizing effects of Epsom salt baths frequently reported by the expectant mothers who take them.
Salt Baths May Relieve Itching
As the skin around the belly stretches to accommodate a growing baby, many women report itching as one of the most common effects of pregnancy. A variety of effective methods may reduce itching in affected women, with Epsom salt baths included among them.
Epsom Salt Baths as a Therapeutic for Hemorrhoids
An increased incidence of hemorrhoids, a condition characterized by the swelling of veins in the rectum, is often reported by pregnant women. Constipation, also common in pregnant women, is one of the known causes of hemorrhoids.
In addition to seeking relief from constipation as a means to address hemorrhoids, many women also take salt baths to reduce the pain and discomfort.
Researchers believe that the magnesium in salt baths, owing to their anti-inflammatory properties discussed earlier, may play a role in tamping down the characteristic rectal inflammation seen in hemorrhoids.
Again, the science behind Epsom salt baths is still up for debate among health practitioners. Some claim that the magnesium in these baths, which is absorbed through the skin, is responsible for the multitude of health benefits reported by pregnant women. Others claim that the amount of magnesium absorbed in this manner is negligible and cannot explain the anecdotal evidence of its benefit. Regardless, many pregnant women feel better after a salt bath with relatively low risk for adverse effects, so it’s a safe way to cope with emerging health issues during pregnancy.
Related Content: The Benefits of Delayed Cord Clamping
In the past, the common practice was to pass Dad the surgical scissors and have him perform a quick snip just before the newborn babe was whisked away to be cleaned, measured and dosed with vitamin K. Any delay in cord cutting was viewed as unnecessary in promoting general health for the baby or mother. However, recent research suggests that a delay of even three minutes can have a significant positive impact on infants.