Childbirth is not a clean affair. And the first thing you might look forward to after giving birth is a relaxing bath. But you may not be sure if you should take a bath after C-section. Your doctor may advise you on that and tell you when to have it and how.
Meanwhile, you may read this MomJunction post to be prepared for the bath after childbirth.
Can You Take A Bath After A C-Section?
Your doctor may suggest not to take a fully submerged bath until three weeks after the surgery (1). It is to keep the incision area dry and prevent bath water from entering the vagina. You may also strain yourself by getting in and out of the bathtub, which might delay recovery.
However, you may take a shower, but it is important not to scrub or mess the incision area. Also, you should be careful if there is any bandage or wound around the incision. In this case, it has to be dried using a dry cloth or hair dryer to avoid infections that are more likely to occur in the moist areas (2).
Why Should You Be Careful While Taking A Bath After C-Section?
After a cesarean, your body needs some time to recover completely. You may experience pains and aches after childbirth. You may also experience vaginal bleeding and fever that may increase the risk of contracting infections.
Hence most hospitals recommend and provide a sponge bath under special care. Also, getting in and out of the bath may not be easy soon after a C-section.
Precautions While Having A Bath After C-Section
The following are the precautions you may need to follow to avoid complications.
- Allow the water to run gently over the incision. Do not use direct hand-shower or pour water over that area.
- Use antimicrobial soap to keep microbes away from the area. Do not apply soap directly; instead, use your hands to create foam and then apply gently on the incision area.
- Use only lukewarm water while taking a bath. Avoid extremely cold or hot water as it could affect the wounded site.
- Take care not to be harsh over the incision area while you are bathing.
- Once you wash the area, use a clean towel, and pat gently to remove as much water as possible.
- Your doctor may give a medicated ointment to treat the incision. Use your finger to take the required amount and apply over the area lightly.
- Do not use any other creams or perfumes or bath oils over the incised area. They might irritate the area.
- Avoid using the bathtub for about four weeks as they are rarely cleaned every time after a bath and increase the risk of infections.
- Also, if you have vaginal bleeding, this could contaminate the bathtub for you and others using the same tub.
- There is a risk of slipping and falling in the bathtub that may worsen the wound. You should, therefore, wait for the wound to heal completely and then use the tub.
When you follow precautions, a good bath could be beneficial.
What Are The Benefits Of Taking A Bath After C-Section?
Taking a warm water bath after cesarean section might provide the following benefits:
- A warm water bath after cesarean delivery may offer immense physical and mental relaxation. It might relieve you from fatigue and take your mind off the discomfort.
- A warm water bath may relax the muscles of the pelvic region and have a soothing effect on you.
- The bath could help ease hemorrhoids that may irritate and swell after the delivery.
- It may help repair episiotomy and soothe the area to make you feel better.
A C-section is major abdominal surgery, and it takes time for you to recover before you resume normal activities. Following your doctor’s advice aids your chances of healing physically and emotionally. While taking a bath may seem like a good idea, remember all the things mentioned above to enjoy a good bath, and reduce the risk of infections. For a submerged bath in a tub, you may have to wait until the incision heals.
So, when and how are you planning your first bath after a C-section? If you have anything more to add to our suggestions, write in the comment section below.
2. After Your Cesarean Birth; University of Washington Medical Center (2008)