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If you have had a vaginal birth, you may be experiencing pain and/or discomfort around the vaginal and perineal region, which is normal for any natural delivery. This pain can be even more intense if you had stitches.
In order to ease the pain and recover quickly, a postpartum sitz bath is a great thing to have. You may be thinking what is a sitz bath? I honestly hadn’t heard of one until after I had my first baby.
Some will use a sitz bath for hemorrhoids but they can be super helpful for your postpartum recovery too (and let’s be honest there is a good chance hemorrhoids after pushing out your precious ball of joy).
Your sitz baths can either be warm or cold and is a shallow bath that you can sit on and soak your bottom in for around 20 minutes. You can use your normal bath or a shallow basin.
You can have a sitz bath by simply using plain water or you can add some salts, oils, and other herbs for additional healing benefits.
Here are some beneficial postpartum sitz bath ingredients you can use:
Postpartum Sitz Bath Ingredients
This herb has anti-inflammatory properties that are also naturally soothing and promotes healing.
Epsom salts –
They are rich in magnesium and can help reduce stress and get rid of toxins. They can also soothe any swelling and can help you relax. (These are the epsom salts I use!)
Lavender oil/flowers –
Lavender is not just a relaxing flower but it is also antibacterial, antifungal, and an antioxidant. You can also use a few drops of lavender oil for more convenience.
Witch Hazel –
This has been known for its medicinal properties since a long ago and is used to treat hemorrhoids. It’s also anti-inflammatory and used to treat skin issues.
Unrefined sea salt –
It’s antibacterial, so you know, it’s good for keeping your skin clean. It also contains a lot of minerals to help with the healing process.
This herb is antibacterial and antifungal and is also used to stop bleeding.
Essential oils –
When picking out essential oils, choose those with soothing and healing properties like sandalwood or frankincense. Avoid harsh oils like tea tree oils since they could sting.
These are the common ingredients in sitz bath recipes that you can use and combine to create your own sitz bath concoction. Once you have your mixture, you can put it in a muslin bag and swirl it around your hot bath in order to distribute it around. You can then wait for it to cool down before getting in.
Depending on your preference, you can put as many herbs as you want, or you can simply just use water. There are a lot of factors that might be taken into consideration so it is essential to always consult your doctor to determine what’s best for you.
When it comes to when you can start taking a postpartum sitz bath, it is best to ask your doctor for the best time for you although usually, you need at least 24 hours after delivery before you can have a sitz bath.
Sitz Bath Instructions
1. Before starting, make sure that your bathtub/ basin is clean. When using diluted bleach, make sure you rinse it really well.
2. Fill the tub with water (warm or cold) around 3 to 6 inches, just up to your hips and not higher.
3. Only get naked from the waist down and leave a top on so you won’t get cold.
4. Add your herbal mixture (or skip this step)
5. Sit and relax for about 10 to 20 minutes.
6. Be careful when getting out of the tub since you could feel a little dizzy.
7. When drying off, pat gently using a soft, clean towel. Avoid any rubbing motion.
You can have a sitz bath up to 3 times a day or as recommended by your physician. If you are using a basin instead of a bathtub, make sure it fits well over the toilet seat.
Benefits of postpartum sitz baths
Dissolving perineum stitches –
A sitz bath can help in dissolving stitches gradually and heal them quicker.
To clean the area –
You wouldn’t need to use soaps or scrubs since a sitz bath is enough to keep the area clean. It’s simple yet effective and can make all the difference especially postpartum when everything is still messy down there.
Speed the healing process –
After the trauma your perineal area has gone through after childbirth, a postpartum sitz bath can help heal the wounds faster by increasing blood circulation in the area. Epsom salts and other oils you may use with the sitz bath could also help promote healing and fight infections.
Relieve pain –
The warm water is soothing, relaxes the muscles, and can help ease any irritation, inflammation, and itching.
Treat hemorrhoids –
This is a lifesaver if you have developed hemorrhoids after giving birth. You can also use a hemorrhoid cream after the bath to make it even more effective.
Childbirth can be exhausting and the work doesn’t end there. A relaxing bath can bring comfort, relief, and also help you recharge.
Perineal trauma can last for a couple of weeks after childbirth and taking a postpartum sitz bath is one way of relieving this pain and can also help you heal quicker and feel more comfortable.