Postpartum Bath - When Can You Take a Bath After Giving Birth?

Postpartum Bath – When Can You Take a Bath After Giving Birth?

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Rima Sonpal (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

Maintaining the body’s temperature at an optimal level is advised for pregnant women. This effectively means staying away from hot showers or tub baths until delivery. Most mothers look forward to a nice warm bath after ages. Knowing the right time and way to have a bath after the birth of the baby is very important for the sake of the mother and the baby. The natural delivery process further helps in this regard, with a lot of fluid and blood leaking out during and after delivery. Though taking a bath right away may be a great decision, definitely not on your own. Cueing the expert is recommended.

Can You Take a Bath After Giving Birth?

The birth process might cause stress or strain on the vagina, also resulting in tears. For other deliveries, wounds or incisions might need to be healed properly. That said, most doctors recommend taking a bath after delivery, as it also triggers the body to kick-start the healing procedures immediately. A regular bath rarely poses any harm, but having a tub bath is best avoided, due to the increased risk of exposing yourself to bacteria.

When You Can Take a Bath After Delivery

A woman taking a bathFor women who have given vaginal birth, most doctors ask them to go for a bath whenever they can. Hot tub baths are still to be avoided since they might be unclean. However, this is not the case if your perineum has had to undergo stitches after your delivery was complete. It is a similar case for women who have also experienced a caesarean delivery. Since stitches and incisions are present on the body and they are yet to be healed completely, the doctors do not wish to take any chance with exposing them to sources of infection. This might result in you staying away from a bath for about four to six weeks as well.

Benefits of Bathing Post Delivery

Taking a bath after you have undergone delivery is known to bring a wide range of benefits to the mother, from emotional to physical as well.

  • Going for a nice bath helps a mother feels cleansed completely, bringing back freshness and revitalising her energy to care for her child.
  • Opting for warm water while bathing helps stimulate blood circulation within the body.
  • A normal delivery puts quite a strain on the vagina and a bath can relieve any pain and discomfort.
  • The body tends to get sore and tired due to the trauma of pregnancy. A bath can relax it almost instantly.
  • In certain scenarios, doctors might insist on bathing to clean the stitches properly and remove any external elements that could infect the wound.
  • Cleaning the body, especially the breasts, is important since your child will breastfeed soon.
  • Women experiencing enlargement of the breasts have found that a warm bath reduces pain in them.

Bathing After Giving Vaginal Birth

Giving birth to a baby via the vagina is no easy feat. If you are fortunate to have had your birth with minimal blood loss or no harm to the vagina, you can walk around as normal after a few hours of your delivery. This can make it easier for you to take a quick bath and feel refreshed in no time.

In certain cases, an episiotomy might be conducted in a woman’s perineum if the vagina stretches during delivery and a doctor must make cuts to facilitate the baby’s birth. This can result in pain after delivery and make walking around for a couple of days difficult. When you progress enough to walk to the toilet without support, it might be a good time to discuss a bath with your doctor. Most doctors will even recommend taking a bath since it ensures that the stitches in the vaginal area will be cleansed and the chances of infection are reduced. Be gentle around the vaginal region and ensure it is completely dry after the bath.

Bathing After a C-Section Delivery

Undergoing a caesarean delivery is a completely different ballgame. This is not different from any major surgery a person might undergo and the entire focus after the delivery is in ensuring healing and recovery. For an initial couple of days, you might be advised to take complete bed rest, following which doctors might ask you to start walking around gradually. In this case, taking a bath is completely the doctor’s prerogative. Some doctors might deem your recovery to be on track and ask you to take a bath, making sure your incisions are kept clean and dry without fail. This, too, might be restricted to only a small shower, and not a full-fledged bath.

Can You Take A Tub Bath After Birth?

After giving birth, it is generally recommended to wait a certain period of time before taking a tub bath, whether you had a normal vaginal birth or a cesarean delivery.

1. Normal/Vaginal Birth

For a normal vaginal birth, waiting at least 24 hours before a tub bath is typically recommended to allow any tears or incisions to heal. After that, it is generally safe to take a tub bath as long as you ensure that the water is not too hot, as hot water can dry and irritate your skin, which may be more sensitive after giving birth.

2. Cesarean Delivery

Waiting until your incision has healed before taking a tub bath is generally recommended for cesarean delivery. This typically takes around six weeks, but the exact time can vary depending on the individual healing process. In the meantime, you may be able to shower, but you should avoid getting the incision wet until it has fully healed.

Some risks can be involved in taking a tub bath after giving birth, especially if you have had any complications during labour and delivery.

For example:

  • Risk of infection: After childbirth, the cervix is open, which increases the risk of infection. Sitting in a bathtub can introduce bacteria to the vagina, increasing the risk of infection. Therefore, waiting at least 24 hours for a vaginal birth and until the incision has healed for a cesarean birth before taking a tub bath is recommended.
  • Risk of bleeding: After delivery, there may be some vaginal bleeding, which can be heavy in the first few days. Sitting in a tub of water can increase blood flow, leading to heavier bleeding.
  • Risk of submerging in water: If you have had a cesarean birth, submerging in water too soon can cause complications, such as the risk of the incision opening, which can lead to infection.

It’s always a good idea to consult your healthcare provider before taking a tub bath after giving birth, as they can provide personalised advice based on individual situations and recovery.

Safe Ways of Taking a Post-Pregnancy Bath

When going for your first bath after delivery, it is necessary to be as careful as possible to prevent any physical injury or infection. It is important to remember that your baby is fully dependent on you, and any harm to you will indirectly impact the baby’s well-being.

Always make sure that the place of the bath or the tub has been cleaned using disinfectants. The water used should be free of any microbes, too, and should not be too hot. It is also recommended to wear a bra or cover your nipples in order to avoid exposing them to unclean bathwater. Don’t use bath suds or fragrant oils, for they may react with your skin or the wounds differently. Once your bath is complete, make sure you dry yourself completely and take extra precautions around the wounds, ensuring no moisture stays in them.

Precautions to Take Before Having a Postpartum Bath

When going ahead with your bath, it helps to keep a few precautions in mind to avoid any further problems.

  • Do not opt for the bath on your own. Make sure your doctor agrees with it as well.
  • If you already have an infection or any other illness, avoiding a bath is best.
  • Even while taking showers, ensure the water isn’t too hot or cold. The extreme temperatures could get you dizzy, more so due to the loss of blood post-birth.
  • Make sure you navigate the bathroom carefully and use footwear with a good grip.
  • Using a stool or a chair to sit under the shower and take a bath might be helpful after a caesarean delivery.
  • Initial baths after delivery could result in vaginal discharges being present. This is normal and isn’t a cause of worry.
  • Ensure you keep your skin dry and remove any trace of moisture in the stitches.

Sitz Bath for Pain Relief

A sitz bath works wonders in relieving perineal pain after delivery. During a sitz bath, a woman sits in a pool of water that only submerges her hips and bottom. This relieves pain, reduces inflammation, soothes soreness, reduces itching, and softly cleans the area to prevent any infection. To take a sitz bath, you must fill a clean, disinfected bathtub or any large tub/bucket with two to three inches of warm water. You can also use cool water if you prefer but avoid extreme temperatures. Sit in the tub for five minutes, stand up, and pat dry the submerged areas with a towel. You can do this three to four times a day. Avoid adding any soap or bath salts to the water. Ensure the tub is properly cleaned and disinfected before and after every use. Make sure to consult a doctor if you notice any redness, oozing or swelling around the stitches. Taking a sitz bath can help speed up recovery, but make sure to follow the instructions clearly.

Going for a hot water bath after delivery might be a luxury too difficult to resist; and as much relief and refreshment as it might bring, it might not always be possible to do so. Keeping your health and your baby’s well-being a priority is paramount, so opt for a bath only after the doctor gives you the green signal.

When to Contact the Doctor?

It is generally advisable to consult with your healthcare provider before bathing after giving birth, especially if you have had any complications during labour and delivery. Your healthcare provider can provide personalised advice based on individual situations and recovery.

Here are some specific situations in which you should consult your doctor before taking a bath after giving birth:

  • If you have had a cesarean delivery, you should consult your healthcare provider before taking a bath, as they may recommend waiting until the incision has fully healed.
  • If you have had any complications during labour and delivery, such as a perineal tear or an episiotomy, you should consult with your healthcare provider before taking a bath, as they may recommend waiting until the area has started to heal.
  • If you experience any signs of infection, such as fever, pain, or redness in the perineal area, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately, as this may indicate an infection that needs to be treated.
  • If you have any concerns or questions about taking a bath after giving birth, you should consult your healthcare provider, who can provide personalised advice based on individual situations and recovery.

It’s always better to take enough caution and consult your healthcare provider if you are unsure when it is safe to take a bath after giving birth.


1. How Long After Giving Birth Can You Take A Bath?

The exact timing to wait may vary depending on the individual situation and recovery. Speaking with your doctor before taking a bath after giving birth is always better since they may provide individualised recommendations depending on your unique situation.They may recommend waiting longer or shorter than the general guidelines. For vaginal birth, waiting at least 24 hours before taking a bath is generally recommended to allow any tears or incisions to start healing. Waiting for 6 weeks or until the incision has healed before taking a bath is typically recommended for cesarean delivery.

2. What Is the Effect of Hot Bath After Delivery?

Taking a hot bath after delivery can have positive and negative effects. Here are some of the potential effects of taking a hot bath after delivery:

Positive effects

  • Relaxes sore muscles
  • Promotes healing
  • Relieves pain

Negative effects

  • Increases risk of infection
  • Increases bleeding
  • Dehydration

It is important to consult with your healthcare provider before taking a hot bath after delivery, especially if you have had any complications during labour and delivery. 

3. Can You Take an Epsom Salt Bath After Delivery?

It is generally safe to take an Epsom salt bath after delivery if you have received clearance from your healthcare provider. Epsom salt is a magnesium sulfate compound that can help to relax sore muscles, reduce inflammation, and promote healing.

However, a few things to remember when taking an Epsom salt bath after delivery: 

  • Wait until your healthcare provider clears.
  • Use warm water, not hot water.
  • Avoid soaking for too long.
  • Don’t use scented bath products.

Overall, the first shower after giving birth and taking an Epsom salt bath after delivery can be a relaxing and therapeutic way to promote healing and reduce discomfort. However, following your healthcare provider’s guidance and taking appropriate precautions to ensure your safety and well-being is important.

References & Resources: Whattoexpect

Also Read:

Precautions to Take after Delivery of a Baby
Joint Pain after Delivery – Causes & Remedies
Home Remedies for Stomach Pain after Pregnancy

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