Epsom Salt Bath to Induce Labor – True or False?

By Maria Wilcox •  Updated: 08/05/22 •  9 min read
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Can an Epsom salt bath induce labor? Maybe! Though Epsom salt on its own isn’t likely to get you rearing and ready to go, a warm bath may help. In this article, we’ll be looking into why warm baths with Epsom salt may help you go into labor, and also, when you may wish to avoid hot baths. We’ll even offer other natural ways to induce labor that you might not have thought of. Let’s dive in.

Can Epsom Salt Bring on Labor?

Epsom salt, in and of itself, isn’t likely to bring on labor.

Epsom salt is a mixture of magnesium and sulfate. It was originally discovered in Epsom, England, hence the name, and shouldn’t be confused with table salt. 

Epsom salt is coarse in appearance and rough to the touch. Despite these characteristics, Epsom salt dissolves easily in water. 

Epsom salt baths are used to soothe sore muscles and may impart a small number of nutrients to the body. Many athletes use Epsom salt to soothe sore muscles after a game. Epsom salt has been used for centuries to help people relax. It has also been used for various medicinal purposes.

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Does Epsom Salt Bath Help Induce Labor?

With all of these facts in mind, you may be thinking Epsom salt sounds like a good idea for pregnancy. And indeed, in most instances, you may be right. 

However, it is important to note that there isn’t any one thing that can cause you to go into labor (outside of medical induction, of course). Many natural means of labor induction are good for inspiring your body to go into labor, but you cannot force the process. 

Take it from me. I was pregnant with my daughter for over 41 weeks. I spent a lot of time trying various methods to get myself into labor, starting much before the 41-week mark. Nothing worked – I hadn’t even dilated.

Once I stayed up all night long with contractions. I tried everything that night, including a warm bath. But by morning, the contractions had slowed. After performing several tests my doctors concluded that I needed to be induced. 

I was told to go to the hospital for an induction, and my baby was born on the same day.

So, why do I share this story? Because I want to show you that despite your best efforts, your baby may not come out by the use of natural remedies. Still, Epsom salt has its place in pregnancy, provided that you keep safety first. 

epsom salt bath induce labor

Can You Use Epsom Salt While Pregnant? Epsom Salt Benefits

You can use Epsom salt while pregnant. There are many benefits to doing so.

The following are a few advantages to adding Epsom salt to your next warm bath:

  • Muscle Soothing: Epsom salt is known for relieving tight and sore muscles. Anybody that has been pregnant knows how pregnancy can wear on your body. It is for this reason that Epsom salt can be of great benefit to pregnant women. Its ability to soothe sore and achy limbs is invaluable. Moreover, this relaxation, if anything, can help aid the labor process, though it may not directly cause labor to start. 
  • Aids Digestion: Making a sitz bath, or bath with hot water, even without the addition of Epsom salt can help relieve constipation. Adding Epsom salt only capitulates the benefits of a sitz bath. Pregnant women often struggle with heartburn, indigestion, and constipation. Thus, a hot bath of any sort is a good idea when experiencing digestive issues. Remember to never consume Epsom salt while pregnant.
  • Anxiety Killer: It’s no secret that a hot bath works wonders for dissipating stress. There are many anxieties that come along with being pregnant. Taking an Epsom salt bath can help melt those away; at least for the time being.
  • Skin Soother: Last but not least, using Epsom salt in bath water can be beneficial to your overstretched skin during pregnancy. Epsom salt has been used to cure many skin issues including eczema. Thus, you can try Epsom salt in your bath water to gently soothe irritated skin on your baby bump, or anywhere else on your body.

Note: Got clogged milk ducts post-partum? A warm Epsom salt bath just might help release those clogged ducts to offer you some relief! 

woman in white bath tub

Does Epsom Salt Bath Help Pregnancy Swelling?

According to medical sources, Epsom salt may help reduce swelling of all types. Epsom salt is often thought to be a helpful way to soothe arthritis, lupus, and gout. Therefore, Epsom salt is likely to aid in reducing pregnancy-related inflammation as well.

Epsom Salt Bath Soften Cervix

There is no notable medical evidence that supports the idea of Epsom salt softening the cervix. However, Evening Primrose Oil, also known as “EPO”, might be useful for these purposes.

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Are Epsom Salt Baths Safe in Pregnancy?

By and large, most Epsom salt baths are considered safe in pregnancy. However, there may be times when you may want to reconsider taking an Epsom salt bath.

If you’ve got high blood pressure or are in active labor, you’ll want to consult with your doctor before taking an Epsom salt bath.

For those with high blood pressure, the sodium contained in Epsom salt might not be good for your health. Studies show that our bodies absorb some of the salt and minerals found in Epsom salt baths. Therefore, this may negatively affect your blood pressure if it is already compromised.

Can You Bathe in Epsom Salts When Pregnant?

Women in active labor will want to avoid taking hot baths unless supervised by a midwife or doctor. This is especially true if you have already received an epidural. Talk to your doctor for more advice on how to safely labor in water. 

Lastly, you’ll want to make sure your water is the right temperature when taking an Epsom salt bath. Taking an overly hot bath can have devastating consequences for both you and your baby. It is for this reason that doctors advise against pregnant women using hot tubs. 

Therefore, you’ll want to keep your bath at 98.6 to 100 °F. Taking a bath that is too hot may make you dizzy, overheated, and may compromise the safety of your baby.

Guaranteed Ways to Induce Labor

Outside of using Epsom salt baths to induce labor, there are other natural remedies you may try to kickstart the process. Just remember that none of these guarantees that your labor will start. Your baby will come out when he or she is ready–or when your doctor is ready to induce your labor, themselves!

Try the following natural remedies to inspire labor:

Can an Epsom Salt Bath Induce Labor? Well…

So, do Epsom salt baths really induce labor on their own? No. But they do work to relax your muscles which can inadvertently prepare your body for birthing.

Still, Epsom salt has many proven uses and benefits for pregnant women outside of natural induction. For this reason, it may be worth it to give an Epsom salt bath a try.

FAQs

Can a hot bath soften the cervix?

There isn’t enough medical evidence to make a bold claim about hot baths softening the cervix. Evening primrose oil, however, may prove to be a better option for causing the cervix to efface.

How can I make myself go into labor right now?

If you’re at the end of your pregnancy and want your baby out right now, talk to your doctor about safe methods of induction. There isn’t any one specific thing you can do to make yourself go into labor. Some suggested laboring methods may even be downright dangerous! 

Can cold water induce labor?

There aren’t any medical evidences that support the fact that cold water helps induce labor. 

How long should I take a hot bath to induce labor?

A hot bath isn’t likely to induce labor the way you think it will. Keep “hot” baths short at ten minutes or less to avoid overheating yourself and your baby. Always get out of the tub if you feel dizzy, sweaty, or unwell. Never submerge yourself in water above 100F while pregnant.

Can a hot bath bring on labor at 39 weeks?

It may, but it isn’t likely. If it does bring on labor, you were likely already on the cusp to begin with! 

Warm bath to induce labor?

A warm bath relaxes muscles, but it shouldn’t be relied upon to induce labor.

Will a bath stop contractions?

In some cases, taking a hot bath may actually slow labor. This is because the bath can relax your muscles to the point where they stop contracting. This is often a helpful tip for those experiencing preterm labor

Can warm baths help dilate?

Thus far, there is no medical evidence to support the claim that a hot bath can help a woman dilate. 

Maria Wilcox

Former instructor with an M.A. in Education turned grateful stay-at-home mama to one, I look to share helpful insights related to babies, toddlers, kids, and families for the benefit of real people just like you.

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