Pregnancy and birth can take a toll on your body and you will have to take extra care of yourself after delivery. Delivery can be stressful and even if you didn’t have an episiotomy or tear, there will be pain and tenderness in your perineum. Whether you just want to feel cleaner or are looking for pain relief, a sitz bath is one of the best ways to help you postpartum.
You can take a sitz bath even if you did not have a vaginal delivery because it can be soothing for all postpartum moms especially if you had a long labor or have hemorrhoids. Don’t worry about it interfering with your C-section incision as the water will not touch that area.
What is a Sitz Bath?
The word “sitz” comes from the German word “sitizen” which translates to sit. A sitz bath is a shallow bath that you can sit in with only your bottom and hips submerged for cleaning the perineal area.
You can do sitz bath in a bowl that is designed specifically to insert into the toilet or by filling a regular bathtub with a little bit of warm water. Some people prefer to do their sitz bath in cool water. When done two to four times a day for 15 to 20 minutes, a sitz bath will prompt fast healing and pain relief.
Benefits of Sitz Bath
Some of the benefits of sitz baths include:
- Pain relief and itch relief postpartum especially after an episiotomy or hemorrhoids
- Improving blood flow to the perineum, thus reducing inflammation and swelling and promoting healing
- Relieving itchiness due to stitches
- Soothing soreness that happens due to stretching of the vagina and perineum during childbirth
- Keeping your area down there clean and lowering the risk of infection
How to Use a Sitz Bath
Whether you choose to use a kit that you can fit in your toilet or a bathtub to do your sitz bath, here are methods that you can follow.
For the fitted toilet bowl kit:
- You can buy a sitz bath kit online or from your local drugstore but make sure to rinse it well before using it.
- Place the basin in the toilet and ensure that it is fitted properly.
- Add warm or cool water and any medication that your doctor has suggested to the bath before you sit down. Make sure that there is enough water so that your perineum is covered.
- Sit in the bath for up to 20 minutes and add warm water when necessary. If your kit has tubing, you can use this to add water or medicine to the bath.
- Once you are done, do not scrub or rub yourself. Use a soft towel to soak up the water and pat dry.
- Don’t forget to clean the basin well and thoroughly rinse all the parts and prepare it for your next sitz bath.
For a bathtub sitz bath:
- Thoroughly clean your bathtub with 2 tablespoons of bleach mixed with half a gallon of hot water.
- Fill the bathtub with warm but comfortable water, up to three to four inches.
- Soak for 15 to 20 minutes and when you are done, pat dry with a clean towel.
- Rinse out the bathtub well.
Other Tips to Keep in Mind
When doing a sitz bath either with the kit or in the bathtub, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Do not use very hot water. If you want to use cool water that’s fine as well since cool water helps to reduce swelling better than warm water.
- Don’t soak for more than 20 minutes at a time. Too much soaking can cause your stitches to fall apart.
- You can add Epsom salt, lavender oil, chamomile tea, or witch hazel for additional help with pain relief.
- Do not use a sitz bath kit or a tub which is not cleaned and disinfected well as this could cause a bacterial infection.
- Do not add bubble bath gel or any other soap to the sitz bath.
If you experience an increasing amount of pain in your perineal area and notice swelling, increasing redness, or oozing of fluids from your stitches, contact your doctor as soon as possible.