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Do Postpartum Sitz Baths Have Benefits?

In the days following your delivery, you’re probably feeling tender down… there. Even if you didn’t tear or have an episiotomy, you could still be experiencing pain in your perineum. This pain could range from general soreness to itchiness or wanting to feel a little cleaner in your perineal area. A sitz bath is a great way to get relief without interfering in your healing. Especially if you had a C-section incision.

While you’ll want some time to relax (which feels impossible) and some time to yourself (which also feels impossible), a nice sitz bath can be one great way to soothe the aches that come with being a new mom and give yourself relief. If filling up a bathtub and finding 15 to 20 minutes doesn’t sound doable, a sitz bath kit that attaches to your toilet is another solution. The best part is most kits come with everything—including cleaning supplies.

You probably have loads of questions about this postpartum healing technique. And yes, we’re talking sitz about postpartum. Let’s look into the benefits and minimal risks of sitz baths.

What is a sitz bath?

A sitz bath is a little different than your average bubble bath. Instead of filling up your entire bathtub, you’ll want just a pool of water that you sit in with only your hips and bottom submerged. During your sitz bath, you’ll want to soak the perineal, anal, and genital areas.

Your perineum is the skin between the anus and vulva.

For your sitz bath, you can purchase a shallow basin (sitz bath kit) explicitly designed for it that attaches to your toilet, or you can use your bathtub. Picking which to use is up to your preference–and you generally can’t go wrong with either. If afforded the time to use a bathtub, you might prefer the comfort of that method.

Your warm sitz bath will work to bring blood flow to your perineal area and help relax your exhausted muscles. You’ll also promote wound healing and general wellness during your sitz bath.

Since there are two options, let’s look at how each method works and find the right one for your experiences.

What are the benefits of a sitz bath after birth?

Your postpartum period should be about healing and helping you recover from having your little one. A sitz bath is a great way to aid pain relief and benefit your body’s recovery needs.

Some of the great benefits of sitz baths are:
  • Soothing your body after childbirth
  • Relief for the itching that may arise from stitches
  • Relaxing your muscles in the perineum area; helps to relieve the pain of a tear or episiotomy.
  • Increasing blood flow to your perineal area
  • Reducing swelling and inflammation

What are the risks (if any) of a sitz bath?

There aren’t many risks associated with sitz baths. Taking a sitz bath is considered safe, effective–and recommended! Infection, while rare, can happen if you’re caring for your surgical wound and don’t clean your bathtub thoroughly.

Most doctors will recommend a regimen of postpartum sitz baths after birth.

You'll be fine if your bathtub is properly prepared before your bath. Generally, even in these rare cases, proper bathtub preparation is the reason.

If you start to develop pain or itching or your perineum becomes puffy and red, stop using sitz baths and contact your doctor.

How do I use a sitz bath?

We’ve briefly discussed the two methods of performing a sitz bath; using your bathtub with a low amount of water or a shallow basin designed for your toilet. Both ways are equally effective, and having both available can ensure you get your sitz bath in before “sitz hits the fan.”

Depending on how much free time you can muster, doing sitz baths multiple times a day (ranging from two to four times daily) is essential. Sitz baths are a great way to promote healing and pain relief. If you can, have methods readily available to maximize your daily uses.

Let’s look into how to use each method effectively.

How to use a sitz toilet bowl kit

Amazon has a wide variety of sitz baths to choose from if you decide on a toilet option. If time is scarce, it’s the best option as prep time will take less time. Make sure your kit fits the toilet properly. Rinse and wash the kit before using it. Most store-bought kits will come with cleaning supplies.

2. Use warm (not hot) water with your sitz bath and add it before sitting down. Water should just be high enough to cover the perineum area.

3. Soak for about 15 to 20 minutes. Most sitz kits will have overflow controls to stop water from getting too high. If you’re using included tubes from the kit, you may add additional warm water to desired levels. Any overflow water will go into the toilet and be flushed after use.

4. When you’re done soaking, stand up and pat yourself dry using a clean cotton towel. Take your time while drying. Be extra gentle to avoid rubbing or abrasive scrapping.

5. After you’re done, you’ll want to clean your kit for your next sitz bath. It most likely came with cleaning solutions if you purchased a sitz kit online or from a store. You can use a solution of 2 tablespoons of bleach mixed with half a gallon of water if you don’t have any included products.

How to take a sitz bath in a bathtub

1. You’ll want to properly clean your bathtub in preparation for your sitz bath. You can use a solution of 2 tablespoons of bleach mixed with half a gallon of water. After cleaning, rinse the tub to get all the bleach solution out.

2. Fill your tub with about 3 to 4 inches of water. The water should be warm and comfortable for your body. You can add medications your doctor recommends or Pink Stork’s Postpartum Sitz Bath. When neither is available, you can add Epsom salt.

3. Get into the tub and find a comfortable spot for your body. We recommend dangling your legs over the bathtub's edge or bending your knees. Any method that feels good for your body should be your method. You’ll want to spend between 15 to 20 minutes soaking your perineum.

4. When you’re done soaking, stand up and pat yourself dry using a clean cotton towel. Take your time while drying. Be extra gentle to avoid rubbing or abrasive scrapping.

5. To make your next bath sitz preparation easier, thoroughly clean the bathtub before leaving your bathroom. If others use the bathtub regularly, we’d say it’s OK to prepare it again right before your next bath.

Last thoughts on postpartum sitz baths

You’ve gone through so much to deliver your little one. Finding time for yourself may not always be easy, but you should actively find time for a sitz bath. If possible, you should find time to relax alone. If you can’t (which is probably most common), and your baby needs to join you–arrange a comfortable area for your baby close to you. Try negotiating with your little one to remain calm for 15 to 20 minutes.

It may not have the glamor of a spa day, but it’ll give you some quick relief when you need it most.

We recommend our Postpartum Sitz Bath for your sitz bath needs.