If you are a mother-to-be, you must have heard from the mother or mother-in-law in your home that you should stick to a ‘hot’ bath during your pregnancy. This is so because the temperature of the water while taking a bath can affect your pregnancy in both good and bad ways. Along with this, one more thing is said that you should not take a bath for a few days after delivery. Is it true or just a myth?
To know more about it and to better understand when can you take a bath after giving birth to a baby, Health Shots spoke to Dr Madhushree Vijayakumar, Consultant-Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Hebbal, Bengaluru.
Your body goes through a lot during a child’s delivery. You may feel you’re itchy, sore or in need of cleaning your perineal area. According to Dr Vijayakumar, “You can take a bath after giving birth, but it is suggested you wait a while and follow the instructions of your doctor.”
Bathing after giving birth to the child depends on the way in which you have delivered your baby; normal or c-section. If you have had a normal vaginal delivery without complications, you can shower the next day. In fact, some women only wait for a few hours post-delivery, but this will depend on their strength and how well they may feel.
If you have had a C-section delivery, it could mean that you may take a longer time to recover. The recovery may also depend on the status of your incision site. It is advisable to wait for at least 2-3 days and then take a shower with warm water and clean the area gently.
Also, read: 5 bathing rules to follow if you shower a lot
Always consult your doctor before getting into the shower because only your doctor can judge whether you’re in the right condition to take a bath or not.
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Before immersing your body in a bathtub, you should hold off for at least 3 to 4 weeks. Dr Vijayakumar says, “Regardless of the type of delivery you had, your cervix will still be dilated for the first few weeks following giving birth to the child. Additionally, if you stay in the tub for an extended period of time after having an episiotomy or perineal tearing during labour, there is a danger of wound breakdown.” After a C-Section, prolonged bathing can increase your risk of developing infections as well.
A sitz bath is a warm and shallow bath that helps in cleaning your perineal area. The sitz bath increases the blood flow to the perineal area and thus, promotes a faster healing process. If you’ve just had a baby your doctor might recommend a postpartum sitz bath.
“Some women also opt for cold water baths as they have a better healing effect than warm water but that is to be discussed with your doctor first. While sitz baths can be added in your general routine, they are mostly recommended for women who have given birth vaginally. This can be a soothing experience for them after giving birth,” says Dr Vijayakumar.
Sitz bathing after delivery can help your body in different ways such as:
There is a very limited risk of infections in the perineal area with sitz baths. Consult your doctor for any unusual symptoms.