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Taking a Bath After Giving Birth: A Guide for New Moms

    Taking a Bath After Giving Birth: A Guide for New Moms

    Before going home with your little bundle of joy, the doctor and nurses will give you instructions for postpartum care. And as much as you want to remember everything from wound care to taking a bath after giving birth, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with all the information. So, to help you get started on the best hygiene practices after normal vaginal or C-section delivery, here’s a simple guide you can follow.

    When Can I Take a Bath After Giving Birth?

    Mommies want to feel fresh and clean before they hold their baby and marvel at their little features. But, sometimes, they have doubts about getting into the shower or soaking in a bathtub.

    taking a bath after giving birth

    Here’s an important note: There’s no hard and fast rule for taking a bath after giving birth. It depends on a lot of factors.

    For instance, did you have a normal vaginal delivery or a C-section? How’s your energy level? Do you have an episiotomy wound? What material did the surgeon use for your stitches?

    All these things have to be taken into consideration, so the best course of action is to contact your healthcare provider. Nevertheless, here’s a general guide for taking a bath after giving birth.

    taking a bath after giving birth

    Taking A Bath After Vaginal Delivery

    If you gave birth via normal spontaneous delivery or vaginal birth, chances are, you can take a bath as soon as you’re able. Just be mindful of the following guidelines:

    • Reports say that you could take a shower anytime, but be sure that you’re strong enough for it.
    • Soaking in a tub could be okay, although experts have different opinions about it. It’s also important to make sure that your tub and the water you’re soaking in is very clean.
    • Some reports say you should wait at least 3 days before having a relaxing soak; others say it’s alright as long as you’re careful with the products you use in the bath.
    • To be on the safe side, just use plain, clean water for soaking.
    • If you have an episiotomy wound (incision made to widen the vaginal opening during delivery), you might want to wait for 24 hours after giving birth before you take a bath.
    • Many institutions are in favor of soaking in a few inches of plain, warm water (Sitz bath) for 15 minutes, twice or thrice a day. Especially if you experience discomfort in your episiotomy or tear wound.
    • If you have stitches, ask if it can tolerate a warm soak. Some kinds of stitches may dissolve when the water is too hot.
    • After bathing or taking a shower, make sure you gently pat your vaginal area dry.

    Can Vaginal Steaming Help in PostPartum Wound Healing?

    Taking A Bath After C-section Delivery

    Having a C-section delivery is completely different from giving birth vaginally. In most cases, the doctor will give you strict instructions on when you can take a shower or bath. This is typically when your incision has completely healed. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

    • Taking a shower could be permissible if stitches, glue, or staples were used to close your skin. However, the doctor may still advise you to wait for a few days.
    • The doctor may allow you to use antimicrobial bath soap, but try not to apply the soap directly to the area. You may need to make foam in your hand before you gently apply it to the wound.
    • While in the shower, it’s often enough to let the water run on your wound.
    • Do not rub or scrub your wound.
    • Make sure that the water is not too hot or too cold.
    • Pat the incision area gently to ensure that it’s dry after showering.
    • Your doctor will probably not allow you to soak in the tub after C-section delivery. Many reports say you need to wait for a couple of weeks before you can do so.
    • If you develop hemorrhoids, soaking in warm water may be advised. However, the water level should be low enough to keep the wound dry.

    The Do’s and Don’ts of C-Section Recovery

    Benefits of Taking a Bath After Giving Birth

    It’s important to keep your body clean to be able to take care of your baby, especially if you want to breastfeed him or her. But other than that, taking a bath after giving birth can:

    • Reduce the risk of infection. By making sure that your body is clean, you can prevent the onset of infection.
    • Revitalize you. Taking a bath makes you feel refreshed. This may increase your energy to take care of your family, especially your newborn.
    • Promote blood flow. A warm bath, especially a Sitz bath for vaginal birth, can promote blood flow.
    • Ease pain and promote relaxation. Taking a bath after giving birth can be a relaxing experience, especially since it can soothe perineal pain and sore breasts.

    For both vaginal birth and C-section delivery, you need to ask for help if you find that you’re not strong enough to shower or bathe on your own.

    Important Reminders

    Aside from being careful with showers and baths, keep in mind that you need to seek medical help if you experience any of the following:

    • Fever of 38°C or higher with or without chills
    • Difficulty in urinating or passing stool
    • Heavy vaginal bleeding (more than 1 soaked pad per hour)
    • Sudden and severe weakness
    • Loss of consciousness
    • Tenderness, swelling, or redness on the leg or breast
    • Discharge from the vagina or wound that smells bad or foul
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Incision wound that reopened or has not healed

    Taking a bath after giving birth is an important part of postpartum recovery. However, since you need to consider a lot of things, be cautious when getting into the shower or soaking in the tub. If you have any doubts about taking a bath, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor to raise your concerns.

    Learn more about Postpartum and Self-Care here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Sources

    Episiotomy – aftercare
    https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000483.htm#:~:text=Take%20warm%20baths%20but%20wait,like%20ibuprofen%20to%20relieve%20pain.
    Accessed September 22, 2020

    The Do’s and Don’ts of Healing from a C-Section
    https://intermountainhealthcare.org/blogs/topics/intermountain-moms/2018/03/the-dos-and-donts-of-healing-from-a-csection/
    Accessed September 22, 2020

    Postpartum Instructions
    https://nfwh.nm.org/postpartum-instructions.html#:~:text=Bathing%20%E2%80%93%20Please%20refrain%20from%20baths,Douching%20is%20NEVER%20advised.
    Accessed September 22, 2020

    Postpartum Instructions
    https://www.womenscare.com/obstetrics/postpartum/
    Accessed September 22, 2020

    Hygiene After Pregnancy
    https://www.unitypoint.org/dubuque/bathing-hygiene-incision-and-hemorrhoid-care.aspx
    Accessed September 22, 2020

    Going home after a C-section
    https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000624.htm
    Accessed September 22, 2020

    Your body just after the birth
    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/you-after-birth/
    Accessed September 22, 2020

    Recovery
    -Caesarean section
    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/caesarean-section/recovery/
    Accessed September 22, 2020

    Care of the Perineum after the Birth of Your Baby
    https://www.ouh.nhs.uk/patient-guide/leaflets/files/10929Pperineum.pdf
    Accessed September 22, 2020

    Perineal Care After Vaginal Birth
    https://www.healthpages.org/health-a-z/perineal-care-after-vaginal-birth/
    Accessed September 22, 2020

    Recovering From Delivery
    https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/recovering-delivery.html
    Accessed September 22, 2020

    First week after delivery: How to cope with my wound?
    https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/1032/pregnancy-first-week-after-delivery-how-to-cope-with-my-wound
    Accessed September 22, 2020

    Picture of the authorbadge
    Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated Jul 01, 2021
    Medically reviewed by Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD