The Benefits of Postpartum Sitz Baths

Yungatart Sitz Bath
Photo ©

A postpartum sitz bath is a special bath used in the early postpartum period to help ease the pain, promote healing, and give good hygiene to the perineal area. This is particularly helpful after an episiotomy or tearing during birth. Though it can also help reduce swelling in the perineum or a swollen labia when there is no cut or tearing.

Portable Sitz Bath

In the hospital, you may be given a portable sitz bath. This sits over a normal sized toilet. You fill a bag with warm or cold water and sit on the sitz bath. The water then flows over your perineum allowing for healing and cleansing. You can add medication or herbal preparations at will.

Using Cold or Warm Water in a Postpartum Sitz Bath

While you can use warm or cold water, the studies that have been done show that cold water provides more pain relief in the hour and half hour after doing the postpartum sitz bath. That said, women tended to prefer the use of warm water.

You can imagine that cold water is quite the shock and not what we think of when it comes to comfort, but if you look at how we treat other injuries to our bodies, cold packs are quite normal in that context. Feel free to try both and decide which you prefer.

Cold water helps to reduce the swelling more effectively than warm water.

When to Use a Sitz Bath

The postpartum sitz bath can be done often throughout the day and is a lot easier than getting into the bathtub. If you do not have a portable sitz bath sent home with you, you can generally sit in the tub filled 2-3 inches with warm water for the same effect. Or you can order a portable sitz bath for your home, like the Yungatart Sitz Bath shown.

There has been a very small study showing that using a common sitz bath at a hospital potentially spread some infections. This is a very old study, but it may influence how your local hospitals provide care. If you are concerned, you can ask about using a portable sitz bath.

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Article Sources

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