What Is A Sitz Bath & What Are Its Benefits?

Sitz Bath After Birth

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Congratulations mommy! Now that you have gone through the trials and tribulations of labor and your baby is finally here, there are many medical precautions to take and several procedures to follow. One of the things that your doctor will recommend is taking a sitz bath. If your doctor has directed you to take one or she mentioned it and you simply want to know more about it, consider reading our post below. Here, we look at some information on taking a sitz bath after birth and how it helps.

What Is A Sitz Bath After Birth?

A sitz bath after delivery is therapeutic warm water bath. Sometimes, you can add some healing herbs as well. Doctors typically recommend sitz baths for women after their delivery. For a sitz bath, you need is a bathtub or a basin that fits on the toilet seat. You just need to dip your hips in the water during a sitz bath [1].

The warm water provides relief from various conditions such as perineal pain or hemorrhoids (anal fissures) [2].

[ Read: Episiotomy Care ]

How To Take A Sitz Bath?

You may take a sitz bath in your bathtub or buy a basin available in medical stores for the same purpose. These basins are designed to fit over toilet seats.

  • Fill the tub or basin with warm water. Four to six inches of water is sufficient for your sitz bath.
  • Sit in the bath so that your hip submerges in the water. Your perineum (the area between your vulva and anus) must be completely soaked in the water.
  • Sit for 15-20 minutes, stand up and completely dry your wet body with a clean towel.
  • You may feel dizzy after sitting in one position for a while. So, when done with your sitz bath, stand up carefully to avoid falls.
  • Drain the used water. Clean the tub or basin with water and a disinfectant [3].

You may do a sitz bath 2-3 times a day or as recommended by your doctor. It is always better to take a sitz bath after your bowel movements [4]. Using a basin may be easier for some women in the postpartum period than taking a sitz bath in the tub [5].

[ Read: When To Take bath after c section ]

While Using The Basin:

  • Make sure it fits well over the toilet seat before you dip your bottom in the water.
  • The basin comes with a plastic bag and tubing for ease of use. You can fill the water in the basin through the tubing and drain the excess water in the toilet. Once done, clamp the tube to prevent water overflow. Before you sit in the basin, fill extra water in the irrigation bag. You may need more water if the existing water in the basin cools off.

Benefits of Using a Sitz Bath after Birth:

A sitz bath after childbirth helps to heal a woman’s perinea.

  • During a natural birth, there is often a need to widen the vaginal opening for the ease of delivery. It is done through a process known as an episiotomy. It is a technical term for the incision made in the vaginal opening. Often, the perineal area also experience lacerations during a vaginal delivery. These tears may reach the anal and the rectal areas as well. After delivery, both natural tears and the episiotomies are repaired using stitches. The cuts heal after a few weeks. But there may be a lot of pain or discomfort in the perineal area after birth. A sitz bath helps heal the area faster and also provides relief from pain. You need to wait for at least 24 hours after birth before you can take a sitz bath [6].
  • A sitz bath helps to reduce any irritation in the anal, rectal or vaginal area in your sitz bath postpartum period.
  • A sitz bath aids circulation in the perineal area, and thus promotes healing in the area. It also helps to reduce any swelling you may have due to your episiotomy.

[ Read: Postpartum Rectal Bleeding ]

Points to Consider for your Postpartum Sitz Bath:

Perineal tears are normal for most women during a vaginal birth. These lacerations are unavoidable during a normal delivery.

  • Some research suggests that taking a sitz bath after giving birth using cold water may be more effective in relieving pain in the perineal region. Some women may find cold water sitz bath beneficial for postpartum perineal healing as the coolness soothes sore skin. But it is a matter of preference. Ask your doctor what may be better for your health [7]. Doctors often recommend using cold packs for postpartum perineal care. So, cold water in sitz bath may also be useful for some women [8].
  • Many people add herbs or salt to their sitz bath depending on their reason for its use. But, practice caution when taking a sitz bath [9]. The salt in the water may be painful for you. Some herbs may also not be right for you. It is better to follow your doctor’s instructions when taking a sitz bath after birth. A safe herb for your sitz bath after birth may be witch hazel as it is often used for the treatment of hemorrhoids. Ask your doctor about its use for you and the correct dosage for your sitz bath [10]. Other useful postpartum sitz bath herbs for you may be calendula, chickweed and aloe vera. Your doctor can guide you to the right herb if you may need to use one.
  • Use of essential oils such as lavender may also aid the healing process of your perineum after birth. If you are not allergic to lavender in any form, ask your doctor if you can use it in your sitz bath to promote healing [11].
  • Always pat dry your perineum and bottom area with a soft and clean towel. Wiping carelessly may infect the area or delay your healing time.
  • Stop taking a sitz bath if you feel any discomfort in the area or if the perineal area bleeds.

However, there is a lot you can do to heal quicker from these cuts and bruises that result due to the birthing process. A sitz bath is just one way to heal your perineum. But it is an effective way to relieve the perineal trauma that may last for weeks after birth.

Did you do sitz bath after birth? Did you use any herbs with the bath water? Did you experience relief? Tell us here. Leave a comment below.

[ Read: Postpartum Cramps ]

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