The Sitz Bath 101
Why are women told only the good and the bad and not the in between? In this case, I am referring to post partum recovery and the need for sitz baths. Yes, after giving birth, especially giving birth vaginally, recovery can vary greatly woman-to-woman, but I do not know one who did not benefit from a post partum sitz bath every few days.
What are sitz baths and why may you need one?
Sitz baths gives relief to the perineum area (that area between your vaginally area and rectum). During pregnancy and during birth, the perineum is stretched and sometimes tears. Sitz baths are also useful for hemorrhoids.
A sitz bath fits into a toilet seat and is a shallow mixture of warm water and a mixture of salt and baking soda. This cleanses and relieves pain, itching and tenderness in the perineum area. You can also do a sitz bath in your bath tub.
What is in a sitz bath?
The basic sitz bath is a simple concoction.
To make a basic sitz bath:
- Warm water (not hot, you’re trying to make a sensitive area feel better)
- ½ cup baking soda
- ¼ cup salt
- Stir or swirl until dissolved
You should soak in the sitz bath for 10-15 minutes. For comfort and relaxation many people prefer to sit in the bathtub for a sitz bath, over sitting on a toilet for that long. It also means you do not necessarily need a specific post partum sitz bath kit. But the kits that fit into the toilet often have an easy clean up and may include a way to spray the perineum.
A cleansing sitz bath is most important, and that can be pretty basic. But, an elevated sitz bath experience is important for mental health too!
Mixing Up the Sitz Bath
Alternatives to the basic sitz bath include adding:
- Epsom salt
- Witch hazel
- Olive oil
- Soothing essential oils, such as lavender
Steps for a Proper Sitz Bath
Sitz baths are needed for an uncomfortable situation, so make your sitz bath experience relaxing. Have your bathroom at a warm temperature so you feel comfortable. Set some music and aromatherapy. Have someone watching the kids.
Ensure your sitz bath is clean.
Place it over your toilet.
Add your warm water to the sitz bath, along with the ingredients. Swirl or stir to dissolve the salt, baking soda, etc.
Have a Playlist of 4 or so songs that around 15 minutes in length. Press play and relax in your sitz bath. Repeat every week, or when you are sore. Many like to use a wet wipe after or take a warm shower after a sitz bath.