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Maintaining the body’s temperature at an optimal level is advised to women when they are pregnant. This effectively means staying away from hot showers or tub baths until your delivery. Which is why, after the baby has been delivered, most mothers look forward to getting a nice warm bath after ages. The process of natural delivery further helps in this regard, with quite a bit of fluid and blood that leaks out during and after delivery. However, taking a bath right away may be a great decision, but definitely not on your own.
Can You Take a Bath After Giving Birth?
The process of birth might cause stress or strain on the vagina, resulting in tears as well. For other deliveries, there might be wounds or incisions that need to be healed properly. That being said, most doctors recommend taking a bath after delivery is completed, as it also provides a trigger to the body to kick start the healing procedures right away. 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
For 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 experienced a caesarean delivery as well. 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 in stimulating the circulation of blood 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 taking a bath 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 be breastfeeding 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 would be able to 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 is required to make cuts to facilitate the baby’s birth. This can result in pain after delivery and make it difficult to walk around for a couple of days. When you progress enough to walk to the toilet without support, it might be a good time to bring up the topic of 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 that 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. Taking a bath, in this case, is completely the prerogative of the doctor. 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.
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 yourself from any physical injury as well as any 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 that is used should be free of any microbes, too, and should not be too hot at all. It is also recommended to wear a bra or cover your nipples in order to avoid exposing them to unclean bathwater. Don’t use any bath suds or fragrant oils, for they may react with your skin or the wounds in a different manner. Once your bath is complete, make sure your dry yourself completely and take extra precaution 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, it is best to avoid taking a bath.
- Even while taking showers, make sure the water isn’t too hot or too 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.
- Choosing to use 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.
- Make sure 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. Make sure that 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.
References & Resources: Whattoexpect