Postpartum Sitz Baths: Reasons & Procedure

Did you just have a baby and are super uncomfortable with things down there? You must be tender and sore, may have had a few stitches, or worse had been through an episiotomy.

Giving birth is considered one of the most joyful things in life, but it comes with a lot of pain and problems. One of the problems is the pain in the perineal area that you might not be too comfortable to discuss with anyone.

Even if you had a delivery without tearing or episiotomy, you might be in immense pain due to the pressure exerted during the labor. To relieve yourself from this pain temporarily and aid in healing the stitches all you need to do is soak yourself in a sitz bath.

Sitz originates from a German word called “sitzen” that translates to sit. So yes, a sitz bath is all about sitting in a few inches of water with your hips and perineal area submerged in water.

There are many sitz bath kits available in the market that you can buy either before your delivery or order right now. You can also find disposable ones online. Many hospitals also give you a sitz bath kit when you leave the hospital.

Your doctor might not discuss your lower region with you post-delivery, and your head may be filled with so many questions related to the pain. Instead of accepting the pain as a part of giving birth, you can take a sitz bath to get comfortable.

The stitches may hurt, the swelling will not let you sleep well, and walking is far away till the stitches aren’t dissolved. You are not allowed to sit in a hot tub of water. Sitting in water can cause a lot of pressure and force the water up to your vagina. So all the mess that is supposed to come out may go back in which is not advisable. This is why doctors ask you to take a bath while standing up for the first few weeks. 

Your health practitioner or nurse may or may not ask you to take a sitz bath. You can ask them if it is okay for you to do it. Generally, it does not have any side effects if done in the correct manner but consult your doctor before going ahead. 

Reasons Why You Should Take a Sitz Bath Postpartum

  • You are not allowed to use any soap down there yet but it is important to keep the area clean and hygienic. A sitz bath will give you both the benefits. It will lower your risk of getting an infection in the stitches.
  • Hot and cold packs are known to relieve pain for ages. We all have tried it. Hot showers relax your muscles. Imagine how well it will relax your lower region. Many people recommend cold water during a sitz bath. You can try both warm and cold water and decide which one suits you best.
  • Delivering can cause soreness due to stretching, inflammation, itching and all other sorts of irritating symptoms. A sitz bath will help the muscles relax, allow blood to flow properly, and aid in healing. This will reduce your recovery time.
  • Doctors use dissolvable stitches on the tears after delivery. The longer the stitches remain there, the uglier scars they leave. Not to mention the discomfort each stitch brings with it. Sitz bath helps in dissolving the stitches quickly as soon as the tear heals.
  • Some women get hemorrhoids after delivery. A sitz bath can heal it very efficiently when done regularly along with other medications prescribed by the doctor.
  • Taking a 15 to 20-minute sitz bath session twice or thrice per day gives you some me-time. You will have time to relax from the demanding life you are going through and the one that you will face in the near future.

How to Take a Sitz Bath at Home

Firstly you need to get a sitz bath kit for yourself if you do not have a bathtub or do not want to sit in a bathtub. These kits are super easy to use and sit perfectly well on top of your toilet seat. In both cases, you need to make sure that the sitting area is cleaned properly and disinfected. You do not want to get any infection on your stitches.

Since you will only immerse the lower part of your body in water, wear a T-shirt that covers the upper body well. Stay warm because you will sit in the water for 15 to 20 minutes. Your body is already weak, and you do not want to sit naked for such a long time in hot or cold water. 

Decide if you want to use hot or cold water. Do not use extremely hot or cold water. It should be just enough temperature that your female parts should get comfortable. The water should also be just enough to cover the swollen area and the stitches. 

You can also add Epsom salt or special herbal salts made for a sitz bath. Due to its properties of reducing the swelling, assist in healing, and preventing infection, these salts prove to be beneficial. Lavender essential oil also is used by many women. It is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal. It also helps in relaxing and skin regeneration that can help in getting your lower body closer to its previous state. Keep a clean towel handy to dry yourself after your session. You can keep a couple of clean and disinfected towels solely for this purpose. 

Sitting in water for so long may also lead to peeing. It may sound gross but peeing in warm or cold water can reduce the stinging that you experience while normally peeing. Relax and pee in the tub. Be sure to clean yourself with clean water later. 

Continue doing this as often as you like for 15-20 minutes. Every time you feel pain or discomfort head straight to your bathroom for a sitz bath. It is easy and helpful for your postpartum pains. 

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