Labor & delivery takes a toll on the body, and while you’re adjusting to post-pregnancy life, it’s essential to give attention to postpartum healing and recovery with extra TLC. The healing powers of a postpartum sitz bath can provide you relief from soreness and pain, and speed up the postpartum recovery process.
Healing Power of the Postpartum Sitz bath
After labor and delivery, a woman’s body begins what can often be described, as a painful process of healing and recovery. After all, having a baby is hard work but that’s only the beginning of it all. The postpartum period is an incredible time to bond with your baby, but it’s also time to heal yourself and adjust to post-pregnancy life. After labor and delivery, it’s important to focus on your own self-care and make sure you give your body the extra TLC it needs to recover. One easy way to help relieve pain and even speed up postpartum recovery is with a postpartum sitz bath.
I didn’t use a sitz bath after my first pregnancy with twins (although I’m sure this would have been a tremendous help during recovery), but did use a postpartum sitz bath after my second pregnancy and found it to be a huge relief and effective pain management technique.
What is a Postpartum Sitz Bath?
A sitz bath is simply a way to soak your perineum as a way to help relieve pain, and the healing power of it can even speed up postpartum recovery. The point of a sitz bath is to relive discomfort and pain naturally, and also keep the area clean.
Healing Powers in a Sitz Bath
Sitz baths have been around for centuries, but more recently women have been adding Epsom salts, herbs and essential oils to make the healing process more effecient. Some of the helming properties of size baths include:
- Warm water (you can use cold too but you won’t have the same benefit as warm water like you’ll read here) increases blood flow which promotes healing and helps to reduce swelling.
- Increased blood flow also helps to heal hemorrhoids, itching and pain.
- It’s an easy way to keep everything clean especially during postpartum bleeding, discharge, wearing a pad and post-pregnancy life.
- When you add Epsom salt, which has incredible healing properties because it’s an anti-inflammatory, it helps to reduce swelling, makes you relax, ease cramping, bring down your stress hormones and is overall, very soothing.
- Essential oils have anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
- Herbs in a healing sitz bath is an all-natural way to speed up healing, reduce swelling and inflammation from their wound-healing and anti-bacterial properties.
- A healing sitz bath can help your body relax which helps with cramping as your uterus descends, constipation and general discomfort after labor and delivery.
How to Use a Postpartum Sitz Bath
You can use a bathtub with several inches of water or you can also buy a sitz bath to place on your toilet (they’re good for hemorrhoids too, so it can be a tool to keep in the house for multiple uses.)
- Fill your bathtub or the site bath with enough water to sit in and cover yourself (3-4 inches.)
- Whether you use cold or warm water is a personal preference, just don’t use hot water because you may burn yourself. I found warm water to be gentler and more soothing.
- If you chose to use your bathtub, just make sure you clean it well beforehand, and rinse out all the cleaning products completely to prevent infection and bacteria.
- You can add Epsom salt and essential oils if you like but make sure your essential oils are pure, high grade and check to see if they need to be diluted first with a carrier oil such as olive oil or coconut oil. (lavender essential oil is anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterials is also a major essential oil know for relaxation, calming and sleep.)
- Sit in your sitz bath for 15-20 minutes for relief. You can repeat this multiple times per day for relief as you need. If you have stitches, limit yourself to once a day.
Using Herbs in a Healing Sitz Bath
To promote additional healing, you can add healing herbs to your sitz bath. Herbs are an all-natural way to speed up healing, help reduce swelling and inflammation due to childbirth because of their wound-healing and antibacterial properties.
Some herb suggestions are:
- Calendula. This healing herb has anti-inflammatory properties which is why you find it in a lot of baby products, but it’s good for ointments and bath teas, too.
- Comfrey Leaf. This is a powerful healing herb, good for external use.
- Plantain Leaf. Known for it’s power to heal inflammation and promote quick healing.
- Witch Hazel. This herb helps to speed up healing and stop bleeding. Yarrow has antibacterial and antifungal compounds that are helpful in replenishing the interstinal flora.
- Lady’s Mantle. I hadn’t heard of this herb until my naturopath mentioned it, and shared that it provides relief for inflammation, speeds up healing time and particularly good for postpartum sitz baths because of the tender area you are soaking.
- Camomile. This commonly known herb is profound for helping you relax and soothing anxiety, as well as inflammation. It is also a natural antibiotic, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial herb.
Here are more ways to help promote postpartum healing after childbirth.