Postpartum Sitz Bath: Benefits & Instructions on How to Do One
A Postpartum Sitz Bath is a special bath that a woman can take after they’ve given birth vaginally.
Here it’s described as, “A sitz bath or hip bath is a bath in which a person sits in water up to the hips and is used to relieve discomfort and pain in the lower part of the body“.
Sitz baths have many benefits that can help new moms during postpartum recovery.
Taking them really helped me after birth.
And I’m sure your lady parts are screaming for one right now!
So in this article, we’ll go over some of the benefits as well as how to take one!
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Benefits of Postpartum Sitz Baths
Keeps Everything Clean
Postpartum is just straight-up messy! And now you have an open wound.
Taking a sitz bath will not only help keep everything clean but will also help lower your risk of getting an infection.
Sitz baths can help relax the muscles which can help reduce pain associated with tearing and getting an episiotomy.
They also help with soreness due to the perineum stretching when giving birth.
Postpartum sitz baths not only promote healing but can even speed up the healing process by improving blood flow and circulation to the area.
They can also reduce swelling and inflammation caused by childbirth.
If you have stitches it may even help dissolve them.
Stitches and hemorrhoids can make things a little itchy down there so taking sitz baths can help give it some relief.
Helps With Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids suck and can get pretty painful.
Hemorrhoids can occur from being pregnant and from childbirth.
Lovely side effect don’t you think?
But now, unfortunately, you have to deal with them during postpartum.
Luckily though sitz baths can also help give you some relief with any itching or pain you may experience with them.
Relaxation Time for Mom
Try to make it a relaxing time for yourself.
I mean you DID just give birth to a beautiful baby. And that’s a lot of work!
You deserve it Momma!
You could bring a book, play music, light some candles maybe? Or just enjoy some of the time you have to just sit and do nothing for a moment.
I know it’s hard to always have someone there to watch your little one every time you want to take one, so if you don’t have anyone available to watch the baby while you take a sitz bath, be sure to have a safe place for the baby in the bathroom so you can watch them while you do it.
How Do You Do a Sitz Bath After Birth?
1. Make sure everything is CLEAN
You want to make sure your bath is clean clean clean! Germs and bacteria could enter the wound and cause infections.
And you don’t want that.
So be sure to CLEAN YOUR BATH BEFORE YOU TAKE A SITZ BATH.
How Do You Clean a Sitz Bath?
You can buy plastic sitz baths that fit over your toilet like this one here.
They normally come with instructions and their own cleaning solution but if they don’t you can mix 2 tablespoons of bleach with a 1/2 gallon of hot water.
You want to be sure to scrub it and rinse it out super good.
When you’re done taking your sitz bath you can clean it so it’s all ready for the next time you use it.
Can You Take a Sitz Bath in a Bathtube?
You absolutely can take your postpartum sitz bath in a bathtub!
But of course you must clean it before you use it.
You can also clean it by mixing 2 tablespoons of bleach with a 1/2 gallon of hot water, scrub it, then rinse it out thoroughly.
2. Add Water
If you’re using a bathtub you only need to fill it up a couple of inches (about 3-4). Just enough so that the water comes up to your hips when you sit down.
What Temperature Should a Sitz Bath Be?
Should your postpartum sitz bath be hot, cold or warm?
In this study, they compared cold vs. warm water where 40 patients all took cold and warm sitz baths and then rated their pain after 30 minutes and again after an hour. The results showed that taking cold sitz baths were much more effective in relieving perineal pain.
So cold water will help with swelling and pain relief much more than warm water will.
But using warm water has it’s own benefits too. It helps promote blood flow and circulation to the perineal area. And women say it’s much more comfortable to sit in as well.
So you decide what would be best for you. You could even do a different temperature with every bath you take if you wanted!
Like do cold one time and warm the next time.
But do NOT use hot water! Even though it may be relaxing, hot water can actually burn your lady bits!
So hot water is a no-no.
3. Add Your Specials
You don’t have to add anything but water to your postpartum bath, but some women prefer doing so. Your health care provider may recommend you add something as well.
Ones that I hear of a lot of are herbs (you can check out this herb sitz bath recipe here), essential oils, Epsom salt, and baking soda.
You can also buy pre-made postpartum sitz bath soaks online or at the store.
Depending on your doctor they could say to soak for 5, 10, or even 20 minutes.
So be sure to ask what they recommend.
Also, if you’re using a bathtub for your sitz bath, you could leave your shirt on (I mean your butt is gonna be the only thing in the water anyway).
That way you won’t get too cold when you’re sitting in there.
Some women will even place a bath towel on the bottom of the tube to make it more comfortable.
If you’re using a portable sitz bath that you place on your toilet seat, you won’t have to worry about any of that. You’ll be able to keep all your clothes on when using it.
5. Pat Dry
When you’re all done be sure to gently pat yourself dry. Rubbing it will irritate it and make it hurt worse.
It’s also a good idea to keep some extra washcloths nearby for any bleeding as postpartum bleeding can get pretty messy.
You can also air dry if you’d prefer to do that as well.
How Many Times a Day Should You Do a Sitz Bath?
Depending on your health care provider, they could suggest doing it, 1, 2, or even 4 short ones every day for 1-3 weeks after delivery.
So be sure to ask what they suggest.
Can a Sitz Bath Cause an Infection?
Sitz baths are at a pretty low risk of causing any harm and normally only happens if your bath isn’t cleaned properly before use.
Since you’re still healing down there you want to make sure that germs and bacteria don’t enter the wound as that will cause an infection.
So as long as your portable sitz bath or bathtub (whichever one you’re using) is cleaned properly before using it, you should be just fine.
But if you start noticing redness, puffiness, or worsen of pain and/or itching, stop taking sitz baths and contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Take Care of Yourself Momma
Be sure to make time to take these wonderful after birth recovery baths.
I know life with a newborn and motherhood can be crazy, but caring for yourself during this time is super important too.
And newborns sleep all the time! So it may be easier than you think to squeeze one in.
Even one a day will help!
Also, be sure to talk to your doctor and see what they recommend and suggest before you start taking your postpartum sitz bath.
Your health care provider will know more about what state your body is in and will know better what to suggest you do and such.
(Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor or health care professional of any kind. I am just a Mom going off of her own experiences and research. You can read my disclaimer policy here.)
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Are sitz baths part of your postpartum care? Did they help? What kind of things did you add to yours? Tell me below in the comments! And if you liked this post, give it a share! Thanks!