My first week after my son was born, which was my first delivery, I was desperately looking on the internet for ways to make private parts better. I thought all is good once I pushed my baby out, but Boy was I wrong!
Every part of me was aching, and my downstairs was CRYING for help! Thank Goodness, I found out about Postpartum Sitz Bath. If you had a midwife or a doula, I’m sure they would have mentioned about Sitz Baths after childbirth.
I didn’t have one, and I found out the hard way!
What is A Sitz Bath?
You are probably wondering what kind of bath that I’m talking about. Interestingly, Sitz bath is a relatively ancient practice that has been used to hemorrhoids, constipation or other perineal discomforts.
A postpartum Sitz bath is a warm (or cold) shallow bath with water just enough to cover your hip. You just sit in the tub for 10 minutes and try and relax. The big difference between taking a regular bath vs. Sitz bath postpartum is that you only use little water (about 2- 3 inches).
When you are sitting on a tub full of water, there are chances that the water could get way up through your vaginal opening and possibly causing infection (which is the last thing you would want)
5 Benefits of a Sitz Bath:
If you had a vaginal delivery, all pushing would have put a lot of pressure on the muscles around the anus resulting in hemorrhoids. And, they are so PAINFUL. I felt so uncomfortable down there because of these damn hemorrhoids! I felt so itchy, and it made passing stool all the more difficult. Warm water is great for hemorrhoids as it reduces itching and swelling.
Don’t be fooled thinking that labor is the last painful episode of pregnancy. Postpartum is just as painful( if not more). I don’t want to sound like a cynical person here, but that’s the reality. But don’t worry, it gets better, and you can walk like a normal person within a few days.
Your doctor will probably give you some pain medications like Ibuprofen. I popped a few tablets for the first two days. After which, when the pain was bearable, I opted for natural pain-relief methods like taking a Sitz Bath.
No matter what kind of birth you had, vaginal or a C -section, it is going to take some time for your body to come back to its usual self. Even the basic functions like going to pee or poop are going to be affected.
Most of us experience some degree of constipation in the first week postpartum. Sitz baths are a great pain relief especially after passing #2.
All your lady parts will be extremely sensitive after birth. You will probably have some open wounds, a lot of swelling, cuts, and tears after delivery. If you had Episiotomy, you would have some stitches as well. And, there will be blood (lots of them).
Sitz baths help keep your perineal area clean which is the key to prevent infection.
Taking care of a newborn is exhausting. You will really appreciate the time you get to be by yourself. I, honestly, loved having Sitz bath. I took them at least twice a day.
Sitz Bath Ingredients:
Now that I have convinced you that you should try postpartum sitz baths, I will let you know what to add to a Sitz bath to make it very effective. You can only fill the tub with warm water and add nothing else if you want to. But, I like to put some of the ingredients listed below for best results.
Epsom Salts are a must for taking Sitz baths, in my opinion. Epsom salts are very soothing, anti-inflammatory and alleviates perineal pain.
Please note that Epsom salts are not your regular kitchen salt. Epsom salts are Magnesium Sulfate, which releases magnesium in the water and is absorbed through the skin. If you had a medicated birth, then Epsom salt bath is believed to act as a Detox helping the body to flush out toxins.Get a good quality Epsom salt like this one here.
I am not a big believer in adding essential oils directly to water. But, I have seen a lot of recipes online that call for essential oils. If you are comfortable using EO’s, you can. But, I recommend using a good quality, organic,therapeutic grade oils like this one.
Adding herbs to the Sitz bath turns into a Herbal Sitz bath. Herbs are an excellent addition to a Sitz bath, and they possess medicinal properties that fasten healing. I have written a post on how to take herbal sitz bath, here is the recipe you can refer to.
Witch Hazel is excellent for treating hemorrhoids.Witch Hazel contains Tannic acid that is said to reduce swelling, bleeding and other discomforts that come along with hemorrhoids. Witch Hazel can be added to a sitz bath, or you can even make a perineal spray to use after going to the potty.
When Can You Take Sitz Bath?
All of this sounds great, but, can you take a sitz bath after giving birth? Is it allowed? Well, generally, it is safe to take sitz bath right after giving birth. My nurse told me to take a bath two hours after giving birth. It may sound awful, but it made me feel like a human again.
Talk to your health care provider and get an OK from them. If you have had any complication or a C-section, they might ask you to wait a couple of days. But, otherwise, it is generally safe to take a sitz bath within the first week of postpartum.
Sitz Bath Recipe:
To make the best out of sitz bath, I highly recommend using herbs to it. You might be feeling scared to add herbs to the sitz bath, but really it’s safe to use them.
Now, you would want to talk to your midwife or doctor first. If everything went smooth and you didn’t have any complications, it is generally safe to take a herbal sitz bath.
Adding herbal amplifies the soothing effect of sitz bath, and it fastens postpartum recovery. Not only that, some herbs even lift your mood and make you feel refreshed. Now, who wouldn’t want that?
If you opt for a simple Sitz bath recipe, try this one.
Here is what you need:
1/4 Epsom Salt.
2 tablespoon Witch Hazel
A couple drops Essential Oil (If you are OK with using essential oils. If you don’t want to add oils directly to the bath water, you can diffuse them.) instead.
How To Take A Sitz Bath:
It is very easy and effortless to take a Sitz Bath at home. Simply follow these instructions and you are all set.
Sitz Bath Instructions:
- Clean The Tub: Obviously, you are not expected to clean the tub. Ask your partner or a friend to help clean the tub. You must have read about bleach to clean the tub, but I am going to suggest a natural alternative. Bleach has a lot of adverse health effects, and I can’t imagine using it when your body is vulnerable (with open wounds!) Call me paranoid, I would not use bleach especially when there are better alternatives. If you choose to use bleach, use diluted bleach and rinse it thoroughly. If you are like me and don’t want bleach, use this instead.
- Fill the tub with Warm water:You don’t need to fill the tub full, in fact, you shouldn’t. Just fill the tub up to 2-3 inches of water. You need just enough water to submerge all your lady bit. You can use warm or cold water, but I only used warm water. Don’t make it too hot, you might end up burning the wounds. You can choose the water temperature that you tolerate well.
- Add the Extras: Once the water is ready, add Epsom salts, ,essential oils, and the herbal tincture (if you choose to use one) to the water. You can even diffuse oils if you don’t want to add them to the bath.
- Wear a T-shirt :Since you are not going to be fully immersed, you are going to feel cold. I suggest you wear a T-shirt before you get into the tub.
- Relax:Sit there and relax for about 15- 20 minutes. You can listen to good music or even watch something.
- Pat Dry: Important! Make sure to pat dry before you put on your dress. I used to take a quick shower to rinse out all the bodily fluids before I got out of the tub because let’s face it there is a lot of blood (and sometimes pee too!) don’t use any soap, if you do take a shower.
- Repeat 2 – 3 times a day.
If you don’t like the idea of filling the tub every time you want to take a sitz bath, then these over the toilet, postpartum soak basins might work for you. They basically fit over the toilet bowl, you can fill it with warm water, sit and soak for 15 minutes.
Let’s Wrap Up:
Postpartum Sitz Baths are amazing and I think every mama should try it after delivery. They made a big difference in my postpartum recovery.
Have you ever tried a Sitz Bath After Birth? Do you have any tips on taking postpartum bath? Please do share in the comments below.