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Are your lady bits sore and painful after giving birth to your new baby? If you’re a new mom finding postpartum recovery after a vaginal birth to be pretty painful, setting up a postpartum herbal bath (also known as a ‘sitz bath’) can help!
I’ll never forget the immense pain I felt down there as I got up from my hospital bed moments after just giving birth. Between lots of icing, perineal sprays, and of course resting — I knew there had to be something else I could do to help my, you know what, recover (and hurt much less).
I soon discovered this miracle recovery method also known as a Postpartum Sitz Bath!
If you’re about to embark on giving birth or are a few days out from doing so, don’t worry mama.
This postpartum recovery tip will have your downstairs feeling calm, refreshed, and pain-free in no time. Like always, be sure to have your doctor’s approval before trying this postpartum recovery tip for yourself!
What is a Postpartum Herbal Bath (aka sitz bath)?
Alright, so what is a Postpartum Herbal Bath? Well no, it’s not a bath full of herbs that you submerge your entire body in (especially if you had a cesarean birth), but close!
A postpartum herbal bath (or postpartum sitz bath) is a shallow bath that’s deep enough to soak your rectal and vaginal area in after birth with a healing herbal blend of ingredients mixed in.
It’s also really easy to get cold while taking a sitz bath in an actual bathtub (compared to a portable toilet set up like this), so be sure to wear a nice thick sweater if you have one to stay warm.
How many days should I do sitz bath after delivery?
To be honest, you can implement herbal sitz baths any time after delivery (with the approval of your doctor).
You’re sore, you’re bleeding, you might have some stitches down there, which is why many recovery methods are acceptable to begin right after birth. Personally, I took one twice a day for the first few days after birth.
I used the portable sitz bath option because I didn’t want to clean my tub each time (more on the portable option below). Overall, this will be a 100% personal preference to meet your recovery need after birth.
Are sitz baths good for postpartum recovery?
Sitz baths are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G for postpartum recovery!
I remember when my midwife first told me about how incredible they were, I looked them up right away from my hospital bed during recovery.
I know you’re probably wondering, well what about c-section moms? Cesarean moms may not have as much perineal pain as moms who gave birth vaginally, they may have some discomfort which makes sitz bath a perfect option for them too!
Alternatively, if a sitz bath just isn’t your thing, you can make yourself some herbal pads with similar ingredients to a sitz bath. I’ll go over that a little later in the article.
I’ve learned about some pretty awesome reasons postpartum herbal baths can be so beneficial for postpartum moms, you can read about them below.
5 Reasons Postpartum Sitz Baths are SO Amazing For Postpartum Recovery:
Postpartum sitz baths aren’t just great because they feel good or because someone told you to take one. They genuinely have some helpful recovery benefits, ones I’m incredibly grateful to have experienced as well!
1) They Keep You Clean.
After giving birth, you will feel so out of sorts as you hobble around with a giant maternity pad shoved into your stylish mesh hospital panties. If you tore after birth (which isn’t uncommon by the way), you will likely be in even more pain and discomfort — an even bigger reason to ensure your hygiene is on point for recovering without any complications.
With wiping totally off the table and you’ll like want a more thorough way to ensure you’re cleaning yourself effectively. This is where a sitz bath can help!
Simply use the bathroom, rinse off with your handy peri bottle (if you don’t know what that is, it looks like this), and then use one of these sitz bath basins to submerge your painful areas into for relief.
2) They’re great for soothing and relieving pain down there.
Sitting in warm to hot or cold water after giving birth can feel so soothing to that hot, irritated, and inflamed skin in the perineal area. With the added support from some organic postpartum herbs, you’ll be feeling like yourself in no time!
Though I never tried with cold water myself, I have a few friends who swore it worked wonders for pain relief (similar to icing, except this time you have soothing herbs mixed in).
3) They can help with postpartum hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids after birth (or let’s be real, at all) totally suck. If you are dealing with that annoying side effect, get your bottom into an herbal bath NOW as they’re a great way to combat this annoying side effect.
Sitting in the warmth helps to increase blood flow to that ouchie, recovering tissues while keeping them clean and fresh at the same time. When adding in certain herbs & additives (for example lavender and witch hazel), you can help to reduce any itching, burning, and discomfort down there.
RECOMMENDED READ –> How to get rid of those annoying hemorrhoids after labor
4) Sitz baths are EASY to use when on the go.
If you pick up a portable sitz bath, they come in incredibly helpful when you’re on the go! Whether you’ll have a doctor’s appointment to go to or any other kind of outing at all, using a foldable sitz bath like this one can bring you soothing relief anywhere!
5) They can actually speed up the healing process!
Woah, can we actually speed up the recovery process from birth down there? Yes, yes sitz baths can definitely do that too!
As mentioned earlier, submerging in warm water is known to promote blood flow to your tissue(s), but, one study has actually shown that cold water may promote better healing abilities (in turn reducing the recovery time).
Regardless, hot or cold, both are keeping you clean, comfortable and in turn help your body heal from the aches and pains of childbirth.
How to take a Postpartum Sitz Bath:
Although taking and setting up a postpartum sitz bath is extremely easy, there are a few steps you’ll want to take first.
- Decide whether or not you will be using your bathtub or a portable sitz bath.
- Figure out what herbal additives (if any) you’ll be mixing in for even more relief.
- Decide who can watch your baby so that you can soak for at least 15-20 minutes.
Once you have all that decided, you’re ready to prepare your bath!
If you plan to take your postpartum herbal bath (sitz bath) in the bathtub, here’s what you need to do:
- Clean out your tub very well.
Because you have an open wound down below, it’s extremely important you deep clean your bath tube before setting it up as a sitz bath. However, you likely just gave birth, so enlist the help of your partner, a friend, or a family member to help you scrub that tub spotless!
If you notice any signs of infection or irritated skin after taking a sitz bath, discontinue and notify your healthcare provider right away.
- Don’t fill the tub all the way.
Remember, this isn’t a full-body soak, just a vaginal/perineum soak. You don’t need to run any risks of getting your cesarean incision wet or having too much water pressure down there for moms who gave birth vaginally.
- Add in the sitz bath herbs of your choice.
Now for the fun part, adding in an herbal infusion that can help you heal and recover!
- Keep a few extra soft (but not too expensive) towels close by to dry off with.
- Have your postpartum recovery kit close by.
You can repeat this type of herbal bath 2 – 3 times a day, however with a newborn, it may be tough to always fit it in. If you ever opt for the portable sitz bath (which is far easier to use and set up) you can read about those steps below.
If you plan to use a portable sitz bath, here’s what you need to do:
- Most portable sitz baths are universal (like this one), but make sure it will actually fit onto your toilet by quickly checking dimensions.
- Once you have your bath, it should be fairly easy to place onto your toilet seat.
- Once it’s on, you can fill it with water as directed along with other herbs or sitz bath mixture (such as this mix which specifically was created for postpartum recovery).
- As with an actual tub sitz bath, keep some soft towels close by so you can gently pat yourself dry once finished.
What do you put in a sitz bath postpartum?
The greatest part of taking a postpartum sitz bath is you can put whatever you’d like (or nothing at all) inside of it! The most common sitz bath additives include:
- Epsom salts
- Essential Oils
- Various fresh herbs of choice (some favorites tend to be organic calendula flower, lavender flower or oil, plantain leaf, red raspberry leaf, and organic yarrow flower)
If you’re still not really sure what kind of combination to use, you can always try one of these premade sitz bath mixtures as well (they work just as well):
Lastly, if you’d like to make more of a “fresh” bath, try out this refreshing (and super soothing) postpartum sitz bath recipe below!
Postpartum Sitz Bath Recipe (postpartum herbal bath recipe)
If you prefer a DIY postpartum sitz bath recipe, mix the following ingredients below into a sitz bath for the most calming and healing bath experience after birth:
- 1/4 cup dried Comfrey Leaf
- 1/4 cup dried Plaintain Leaf
- 1/4 cup dried Uva Ursi Leaf
- 1/4 cup Chamomile Flower
- 1/4 cup Calendula Flower
- 1/4 cup Yarrow Flower
- 1/4 cup Witch Hazel
- 1/2 cup Sea Salt or Epsom Salt
- 2-4 drops Lavender Essential Oil
Personally, I never made a DIY mixture because I had little to no time to get all the supplies ready each time. However, if you have time to prepare or are working with a birth doula or postpartum doula — she should be able to set up your organic herbal sitz bath for you.
Between breastfeeding, trying to take care of myself, and still carrying on with normal daily duties, I just opted to use the pre-mixed sitz bath soak and it truly worked phenomenally for me!
Postpartum Herbal Baths Alternatives
Sometimes, taking a postpartum herbal bath just isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I get it.
- In the event that you’re too busy to take an actual sitz bath or simply you just don’t want to gather up all of those postpartum bath herbs, you can use sitz bath perineal sprays (like this popular & highly rated spray) instead!
Think of them as a sitz bath in a bottle, except you don’t have to spend any time preparing or soaking! The sensation is definitely different. I mean, comparing a spray to a nice warm bath seems, silly, but these types of sprays definitely help and deserve the mention.
- Something else you could do is make yourself a postpartum herbal padsicle.
All you have to do is take a big menstrual pad (like these ones), then squeeze on a generous amount of natural aloe vera, witch hazel, 3 drops of lavender oil, and any other liquid herbs of your choosing! Don’t make it too thick though. You still want your pad to feel comfortable and not too bulky. Then, fold it back together and stick it in the freezer until it’s time to use. These are great because they are also very cold which offers its own form of relief for the pain you’ll be feeling after birth down there.
Now that you know the benefits of taking a postpartum herbal bath for soothing relief and expedited healing, what mixture will you add to your sitz bath?
Looking for more tips and advice about postpartum? Check these out: