The Joy of the After Birth Sitz Bath

The Joy of the After Birth Sitz Bath

So, what exactly is a sitz bath? And where do you find one?

A sitz bath is a basin that “sitz” inside your toilet, after you flip your toilet seat up. It holds about 2 quarts of liquid and has small spaces near the top for overflow to escape into the toilet. It also typically comes with a hanging bag with attached tubing, which can be placed in the basin and is used to circulate the water, and add hot when it starts to cool down. It has a clamp on the tubing, so you control when and how much fresh water flows into the basin. You can buy them at a pharmacy, or for the less expensive option, on-line. Prices range from $10-25.

To take a sitz bath, place the basin in your clean toilet, fill it to about 1-2 inches below the overflow drain slots with hot water, or the sitz bath concoction of your choice mixed with hot water. If you are using your hanging bag, close the clamp on the tubing and fill the hanging bag with  hot water. run the tubing through the hole provided above a drain slot in the basin, and clamp it into the spraying position of your choice (there are two). Get a nice cup of tea or the beverage of your choice, your favorite pandora station or good book, sit down and enjoy.

Sitz bath, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

  1. Inexpensive bidet, and the water is warm, hooray! While the sprayer attached to your toilet is an option, it’s coooold. A sitz bath with a hanging bag of warm water gives you the ability to use water that is as cool or warm as you like.
  2. Everyone loves to feel clean! Even if you did not have any tearing, tenderness or bruising, circulating warm and clean water around your tissues feels great and helps get rid of the “eeergh, I am wearing a pad for the first time since 8th grade” sensation.
  3. It’s great way to start taking time for self care from the very beginning. For many women, self-care is second to baby care, until there is a sudden realization that it’s too much and often by that time you may already be overwhelmed. By taking a 10-20 minute break for yourself, allowing another trusted loved one to care for your baby, you will return to mothering refreshed, it’s a great time to enjoy a cup of tea. Once sitz baths are done, these self-care times can shift into showers, stretching, journaling completely hands free, you name it – make a habit of taking some time to nurture yourself.
  4. If you have had bruising, tearing, or episiotomy, with or without stitches, sitz baths will help to enhance your healing process. There are many blends of herbs, essential oils and salts that women use for sitz baths, with different medicinal properties. Blends often contain a combination of pain-relieving, soothing, antimicrobial, astringent, and tissue healing herbs. If you use herbs, be sure to strain the tea before you sit in it – otherwise it gets a bit messy. Even just using hot water alone can help to bring circulation to your tissues and keep wounds clean.
  5. Because it uses much less water than the bathtub, it is faster, more eco-friendly, and allows your sitz bath solutions to be much more concentrated and offer a stronger healing blend.

Enjoy your bath!

AnnMarie RianWanzeck, LM/CPM


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