PERSONAL HYGIENE AND CARE DURING PREGNANCY
Your knowledge about personal hygiene and care of the pregnant patient will
help to make her feel comfortable with her own body and less anxious about the effects
of external substances on her developing fetus. Some modifications of certain activities
may be required. This lesson will cover health concepts, which should be taught to the
pregnant patient so that she may be able to enjoy her pregnancy to the fullest while still
providing care for a healthy baby.
PERSONAL HYGIENE DURING PREGNANCY
As a practical nurse, you have the opportunity to assist the expectant mother in
attaining healthier patterns of living and to reinforce health-promoting behaviors. Skin
care, hair care, breast care, dental care, bowel elimination, vaginal douching, and
clothing are all important to the pregnant patient.
a. Skin Care. The glands of the skin may be more active during pregnancy and
the patient may tend to perspire more. Frequent baths or showers are recommended.
(1) Baths can be therapeutic--relaxes tensed and tired muscles, helps
counter insomnia, and makes the patient feel fresh and sweet smelling.
(2) Baths may pose a physical maneuverability problem which increases the
chance of falling late in the pregnancy; showers are recommended, but with caution
when getting in and out and moving around in the shower.
(3) The possibility of infecting the vaginal tract as a result of tub baths is
considered highly unlikely.
Tub baths are contraindicated after rupture of the membranes.
b. Hair Care. The hair tends to become oily more frequently during pregnancy
due to overactivity of oil glands of the scalp and may require shampooing more
frequently. The hair may grow faster during pregnancy and may require cutting more
c. Breast Care. It is important to begin preparing the breast for breastfeeding
during the prenatal period.
(1) A well-fitting support bra should be worn at all times. This will provide
good support for the enlarging breasts. As the breasts enlarge, an increase in bra and
cup size should be worn.