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Sitz Bath After Birth

Jan 23, 2023

The success of a vaginal birth can leave a woman or new parent with a sense of immense triumph and success, a feeling that they could conquer any challenge that may lay ahead. Though one may feel as if they could climb Mount Everest (due to elevated postpartum hormones such as oxytocin) their vaginal tissues on the other hand, may say otherwise. Vaginal birth is a normal, biological function, as is the healing process. This healing process is so efficient that it often doesn’t require much intervention aside from rest and bodily nourishment. There are, however, tools that can support this process marvelously, known as herbs. 

Though the vaginal and perineal tissues have ample blood flow, elasticity qualities, and are biologically crafted perfectly for birth, the experience of swelling, soreness and discomfort immediately after having a baby is quite normal. To support the relief of one’s perineum in the postpartum window, sitz bath blends are becoming incredibly popular throughout the West. Let’s talk about the various types of herbs used in sitz baths, their benefits, and how to set yourself up with this nourishing and supportive postpartum tool. 

 

Sitz Bath for After Birth

A postpartum sitz bath is a process in which the perineal tissues and labia are immersed in a warm tea composed of herbs that support the healing process. This simple, affordable tool can offer immense benefits to those who are healing from a vaginal birth, as the external use of herbs are known to quicken the healing process and reduce pain. 

To create a sitz bath, one must first find a bowl in which the perineal tissues can be submerged. Purchasing a sitz bath seat is one of the simplest options, as the bowl for the sitz bath tea conveniently rests on the toilet seat. Another option is to draw a hot bath and immerse a bag of sitz blend herbs in the water, or to soak and freeze reusable pads in the sitz blend tea, to later use as cooling perineal pads. 

 

What are the benefits to a sitz bath in postpartum?

Depending on the herbs used, a sitz bath blend in postpartum is known to promote vaginal and perineal tissue regeneration. The anti-inflammatory properties may reduce inflammation, combat swelling and reduce discomfort and pain. In the presence of a vaginal or perineal tear, common herbs found in sitz baths have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, keeping the area clean and protecting it from developing an infection. For those who do develop infections (a rare but possible experience), a sitz bath may be utilized along with antibiotics or other methods of healing prescribed by your care provider. 

Aside from the achy pain and tenderness commonly experienced postpartum, some experience itchiness or other forms of discomfort. Many herbs in sitz bath blends, such as calendula, are utilized in herbal baby diaper creams, as they’re known to soothe itchiness and reduce the presence of rashes. In addition, many of these herbs have astringent properties, which serve to tighten and tone inflamed tissue in the area. 

 

Where do I find a postpartum sitz bath blend? 

You can create your own sitz bath blend, or purchase one from a trusted herbalist. Some insurance companies and birthing facilities provide sitz bath blends for free with postpartum kits. As a midwife, herbalist, and mother myself, I’ve crafted sitz bath blends with organic herbs I’ve found to be most supportive to the cleansing and regeneration of vaginal tissues. You can access my blends on my Birth Untethered Etsy Page

 

What are some herbs commonly used in sitz bath blends?

Below I’ve illustrated a list of herbs commonly used in sitz bath blends. Every blend is different, with some tethered more towards tissue regeneration while others are tethered more towards cleansing or pain reduction. Please note that I am unable to say whether an herb is one hundred percent safe to use while breast or infant feeding. As always, do your own research, consult a health care professional and follow your inner guidance when using herbs while breast or infant feeding. 

 

Plantain 

  • Plantain is known to have tissue regenerative properties. 

  • Plantain has been used as a poultice and wrap to slow bleeding and expedite wound healing. 

  • Plantain is known to have anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce swelling and pain in the area in which it is applied. 

  • The astringent properties are known to tighten and tone inflamed tissue in the area.

  • Plantain has been used to reduce the discomfort of hemorrhoids when applied externally. 

 

Crampbark

  • The antispasmodic properties reduce muscle tension without inhibiting function, allowing the uterus to shift size and position naturally with potentially less discomfort. 

  • Crampbark has been used to prevent uterine spasms and contractions during the first stage of pregnancy, potentially preventing miscarriages.

  • The nervine effects may soothe the nervous system and promote relaxation in the body.

 

Shepherd’s Purse

  • Known as a uterine astringent, the properties of this plant may tighten and tone inflamed tissue in the body, while the styptic properties constrict blood vessels. 

  • Shepherd’s Purse has been used to prevent heavy postpartum bleeding.

 

Skullcap

  • This nervine herb is known to calm and nourish the nervous system, promoting relaxation in the body and mind.

  • Skullcap contains anxiolytic properties that are known to uplift the mood and combat anxiety.

  • The antispasmodic and analgesic properties may relieve postpartum pain and discomfort.

 

Comfrey

  • This is a popular herb used as an external wash or in a sitz bath to promote vaginal tissue healing and wellness.

  • Contains anti-inflammatory properties that tighten and tone inflamed tissue.

  • Contains regenerative properties which may combat vaginal dryness and encourage the healing of tears.

 

Yarrow

  • Yarrow contains anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.

  • The antispasmodic properties may soothe after birth pains and prevent heavy bleeding.

  • The uterine stimulant properties may increase circulation to the uterus to promote wellness and improve function. 

  • A yarrow steam, wash or sitz bath offers wound healing properties that disinfect, tighten, tone and regenerate vaginal tissue. 

 

Calendula

  • Calendula is a popular ingredient in mother or birth parent and baby soothing products for its ability to nourish and soothe sensitive skin.

  • The anti-inflammatory, astringent and anti-microbial properties support vaginal tissue healing through washes, sitz baths and steams.

  • Taking a calendula bath with your baby will hydrate the skin while reducing inflammation. 

 

Rose 

  • Rose petals have astringent properties, which may tighten and tone inflamed tissue when used externally.

  • Rose petals have oils that, when released into the water, transform the water into rose water. Rose water is known to be soothing to the skin, and the smell is quite delightful. 

 

Milky Oats

  • Milky oats are known to nourish the nervous system, potentially reducing feelings of stress or anxiety. 

  • Have you ever heard of an oatmeal bath? Adding milky oats to a sitz bath blend have similar benefits. Milky oats are known to soothe the skin by reducing inflammation and combating itchiness and rashes. 

  • For those who struggle with insomnia, milky oats may calm the nervous system enough to allow for sleep to set in.

Image by @whenabellyblooms

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