Postpartum sitz baths are the perfect way to soothe and heal your lady parts after you did a bang-up job birthing a human!
If you have never hear of this concept before, don’t worry I will tell you all about it, what to put in a postpartum sitz bath, and why.
We can talk more in depth about all the details later but the cliff notes are, postpartum sitz baths reduce swelling, take the edge off the pain, and promote faster healing.
A sitz bath could likely be one of your favorite postpartum remedies because you have the perfect excuse to be alone at least twice a day and the water feels like a mini spa in the midst of all the new baby chaos.
We earn commissions through our links. Please read the full disclosure for more info.
If you recently had a baby in the hospital you were likely given a peri-bottle to use after birth but may not have been introduced to postpartum sitz baths.
I assumed this would be part of my in-hospital postpartum care, but it wasn’t.
Maybe other facilities do a good job of educating new moms on this topic but the particular hospital I went to left this information out. It definitely wasn’t a part of my discharge instructions either.
Perhaps the reason hospitals don’t put an emphasis on a natural remedy like a sitz bath is because of a belief that it doesn’t provide any more benefits to a postpartum mom than a shower would.
Cleanliness after birth is very important because even if you don’t have an episiotomy or third degree tear, you still have small tears that could get infected if your hygiene is less than optimal.
I only had 2 stitches postpartum but still experienced a great deal of pain and yes…hemorrhoids.
And Oh. Those. Hemorrhoids!
It was honestly the hemorrhoids that had me so intrigued about the comforting powers of sitz baths. But I also wanted natural ways to control pain postpartum so I could avoid taking the pain medications that were prescribed to me.
If you ever wonder why we have an opiod problem in the world it’s probably because new moms get an entire bottle of Percocet for a vaginal birth. Seriously?
Ok, soap box is over now.
But I was breastfeeding and didn’t want that stuff circulating my blood stream and reaching my milk.
That is how I stumbled upon a ton of information about sitz baths.
Benefits of Postpartum Sitz Baths for recovering after delivery
I don’t know about you but by the end of my pregnancy I was so uncomfortable! I couldn’t wait for labor so I could start feeling myself again.
But there is one last hurdle that we moms must endure before our bodies can feel like it did pre-pregnancy. We have to recover from the trauma of birth.
I use the word trauma because no matter what route of delivery, you are going to have some. Even if you have a relatively uncomplicated birth, you still have to fit a tiny human through an even tinier hole.
There will be some pain and postpartum symtpoms to deal with but luckily, they shouldn’t last for too long!
A few of the symtoms you might experience in the recovery period include:
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Perineal trauma, soreness, and swelling
- Vaginal Bleeding
- Stiches to larger tears
- Small tears that do nor require stiches
Partpartum sitz baths are special baths that help ease pain, prevent infection, and promote recovery. They are especially helpful if you had tearing or an episotomy.
One study of 110 women found that sitz baths did indeed lead to faster perineal healing and most of the women in the study found them soothing and comforting.
A warm sitz bath will immediately soothe any stinging sensations you have around tears or stiches. The wam water helps to increase the blood flow to that area of your body so you will heal faster.
Adding things like lavender essential oil to your sitz bath can make you feel fresher down there and also provide some natural pain relief.
How to make a postpartum sitz bath
There are many different ways you can make up a sitz bath.
You can use hot water to increased blood flow to the area which bring healing immune cells.
You can use cool water to reduce swelling and temporarily ease pain.
You can add healing herbs or essential oils to sitz baths to provide a pleasant smell as well as healing properties.
We will get into some specific recipes in a bit but first I want to talk about when to actually take a sitz bath.
When to take a sitz bath
The best time to take a sitz bath is when you are back in your own home, settled in, and able to focus on yourself and your own healing for a few minutes.
I should tell you to wait until your doctor “clears you” for a sitz bath but the reality is you may not see a doctor again until a 6 week check-up. If you used a midwife who does a home visit very shortly after birth, definitely mention your interest. She will likely help you make it up and give you some more helpful tips!
If you suffer from hemorrhoids, you can take a sitz bath with epsom salt right before you need to use the bathroom. The salt can help shrink any swollen blood vessels down there so it doesn’t hurt as bad.
You can also take a cool sitz bath after your shower to reduce swelling. This alternating between a hot shower and a cold sitz bath is very beneficial for reducing inflammation.
There are a few common sense rules when taking a sitz bath.
Be mindful of contaminating the water for your sitz bath so you can keep your wounds clean.
For example if you just went number 2, you don’t want to sit your entire lower half in the tub without cleaning up a bit first.
If you use a sitz bath container, make sure to rinse it thoroughly with clean water in between each use. I would also spray some thieves cleaner or use a mild soap on the sitz bath container once a day.
Postpartum Sitz Bath Recipes
Epsom Lavender sitz bath
2 cups Epsom salt
3 drops Lavender essential oil
Fill bath tub 1/3 full with warm water
Soak for 12-20 minutes
Benefits: Anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, increases blood flow to promote healing, pain relief, hemorrhoid relief
Sea Salt Calendula sitz bath
2 cups sea salt
1 cup dried calendula flowers
Fill bath tub 1/3 full with warm water
Add ingredients and let steep for 4 minutes before you get in.
Soak for 12-20 minutes
Benefits: Powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, relief from cramping, hemorrhoid relief
Apple Cider Vinegar sitz bath
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
Fill sitz bath container with warm water and add apple cider vinegar.
Soak for 5 minutes
Benefits: Apple cider vinegar helps to balance pH and restore normal flora, which is especially helpful if you had IV antibiotics during labor
Witch Hazel Rose Cooling bath
2 tbs rose petal witch hazel
Fill sitz bath container with cool water and add witch hazel
Soak for 5 minutes.
Benefits: pain reduction, helps with swelling, anti-microbial
More ways to heal down there after birth
Other than sitz baths, another great way to speed up healing is to make padsicles. This is basically turning a pad, which you will be using anyway after birth, into a cold pack.
For an easy DIY padsicle recipe, check out this post.
It is also helpful to use home remedies to reduce swelling. If you receive a lot of IV fluids in the hospital you will swell up really badly, which tends to settle down there in your dependent parts. This makes for much slower healing down there!
If you got IV antibiotics in labor, a pesky yeast infection may show up later. Bookmark this page for natural ways to get rid of a yeast infection!