Okay, Mama, time to get real. It’s time to talk about your va-jay-jay. If you had a vaginal birth, there is a LOT going on down there. You pushed a watermelon through a straw. That’s no mean feat. Now though, it’s time to heal.
One of the best ways to do that is to take a postpartum sitz bath. Taking a sitz bath for your postpartum recovery was one of my absolute favorite ways to take care of my lady bits after I gave birth to my son. I think you’re going to love it too!
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What is a Postpartum Sitz Bath?
What is a postpartum sitz bath, you ask? It is only my secret (well, not so secret) weapon against postpartum recovery.
Some people will tell you that taking a bath after childbirth is at the top of the “what not to do after giving birth” list, and that’s true. You don’t want to sit in a full bath tub full of water. All of that extra water will create added pressure that will push the water up into areas you don’t want it to go. That can lead to infections since everything is VERY tender and exposed down there.
A sitz bath isn’t that.
For a sitz bath, you just want to sit in a couple of inches of water, just enough to submerge your lady bits without adding too much pressure. They make trays like this one that you can place over the toilet to get the same effect, but that just always seemed so unsanitary to me. To each her own though.
How to Take a Postpartum Sitz Bath
*Make sure you double check with your doctor before taking a sitz bath. Most will say that it is no problem, but if you had any complications or really bad tearing, they may have you wait a little bit. Better to be safe than sorry.
1. First and foremost, clean your tub!
You have open wounds going on down there, and that isn’t even taking into account if you had tearing or an episiotomy. You want that tub cleaned and sanitized. I’d suggest bleach and then make sure it is rinsed VERY well.
2. Use just enough water to cover your nether regions.
Remember, you don’t want that water going up. Just a couple of inches should be fine. You can use warm or cold water, but personally I like warm since I found it to be more relaxing.
There are a ton of suggestions out there about different herbs that you can add to your sitz bath, but I’m simple and I didn’t want to spend a ton of money. I also wanted to err on the side of caution since we were talking about open wounds here. I didn’t want to risk getting any leaves stuck in strange places.
If you wanted to use one of those other herbal sitz bath mixtures, I would suggest putting them in a cheese cloth or wrapping them in a coffee filter first so that you don’t risk anything getting suck where it shouldn’t. (You could even use pantyhose in a pinch)
Some great additions would include lavender essential oil or witch hazel. Either one of these would be great to aid in your healing. Lavender has relaxing effect as well being a great pain reliever. And witch hazel is amazing at fighting infections and reducing skin irritation. (I use this one daily!) You can even get Epsom salt that has essential oils added to it. One less step!
4. Relax in the bath for 15-20 minutes 2-3 times a day.
That’s it. I’d suggest wearing a t-shirt or something over your top. You’ll probably get a little cold otherwise. 20 minutes can seem like forever if you’re cold. And that just isn’t relaxing.
You just want to sit in the bath and maybe swish your hips side to side to get the water moving around. Don’t rub anything with a wash cloth either, especially if you have stitches. You don’t want to risk pulling them out too early and opening your wounds back up. And that’s it! Not too bad right?
I Love Sitz Baths for Postpartum Recovery for Several Reasons:
To shorten healing time. Epsom salt is anti-inflammatory and can help to boost blood flow to the area, which in turn will help speed up recovery. (Win-win!)
Pain relief. Remember that anti-inflammatory thing? It definitely helps with the pain and swelling. And there’s just something so soothing about sitting in some warm water when everything hurts.
To freshen up. Honey, you’ve got a lot going on down there. If you’re anything like me, you don’t feel clean. Sitting in that water really made a HUGE difference for me and the way that I felt. Feeling clean also gave me a better outlook on my day. When you’re dealing with sleep deprivation and a hungry newborn, you’ll take all the good juju you can get.
Treat hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are a nasty side effect of pregnancy and labor unfortunately. Thankfully though, taking a sitz bath can really aid in your recovery and get those things out of here!
Dissolve stitches. Stitches in your lady bits are so freaking uncomfortable! While a postpartum sitz bath won’t dissolve them TOO quickly, it will help to keep them from hanging around longer than absolutely necessary.
And let’s face it, having 20 minutes to yourself a few times a day can only help. Having a few minutes to sit quietly by yourself and just breathe without having to worry about your new baby can be amazingly refreshing. Becoming a new mom is a huge adjustment, you need to give yourself time to process. Take your 20 minutes to practice a little self-care, Dad will be fine.
Any Other Tips for Postpartum Recovery?
Yeah! There are MANY things that you can do to help you heal faster besides just taking a sitz bath postpartum. Read this full guide for things that you can do to heal faster after childbirth.
Did you try a postpartum sitz bath? How did it go? Leave me a comment below or join the conversation in our Facebook group.
Until next time!