I know, I know. The title is a little prude, and not quite what I would write in my posts. But I am trying to be a little respectful to those men and women who have not experienced birth and don’t really want to talk about vaginas.
Those who have given birth, or are preparing for their first, know that your precious parts will take a beating during delivery. Things will stretch out, you may end up with stitches, and you will more than likely end up with hemorrhoids. I wish I had known about sitz baths before I had my first, because things were just incredibly uncomfortable in the nether region. I will say that I was able to get through using Tucks pads, very large pads, and using some ice packs and eventually a heating pad.
This time around, however, I am preparing for the first few weeks post partum by putting together some things that will make them a little easier to bear. And, hopefully, will help to speed up the healing process. I plan on taking regular baths – because they are so wonderful – using sitz herbs. I made mine myself but they are available for purchase in several different locations on the internet. And once I made a sitz herb “tea” I was able to put together some ice pads (you’ll know what I mean if you’ve done this whole birth thing before) and a spray bottle to use each time I go to the bathroom. I’ll go into more detail with each one in a minute.
Sitz Bath Herb “Tea”
I first read about sitz herbs a few months after having Sweet Girl. I found myself drawn to other pregnancy and birth stories online, so much more so than I ever was while pregnant. And since I started going the more natural route in so many aspects of my life I knew that when the time came to have another baby I wanted to make sure I knew what I would need. And using a sitz bath seemed like a fantastic idea. It can be done as a regular full-tub bath or using a small tub on the toilet (or I’ve read you could try putting the tub on a chair or something like that). I definitely don’t want to sit on a toilet for 30 minutes at a time – though, let’s face it, I probably will with hemorrhoids anyway – so I will be using mine in a full bathtub.
I have seen slight variations in the herbs used in sitz baths, but they mostly consist of the same ingredients. Mine consists of:
- 1 part yarrow
- 2 parts lavender flowers
- 1 part chamomile flowers
- 1 part comfrey leaf
- 1 part calendula flowers
I purchased all of these herbs at a local co-op (so awesome!) in ounces so I could take as many baths as I wanted/needed. I will say, in my research I have read that if you end up with stitches you should limit yourself to one sitz bath a day. If you don’t end up needing stitches you should be fine to take as many baths as you want.
To use the sitz herbs in whichever bath setting you use:
- Combine the herbs in a large container.
- Boil 4 cups of water on the stove.
- Add 1/2 cup of your herb mixture, cover, and remove from heat.
- Allow to steep for 30-60 minutes (the longer you let it steep, the more potent it will be).
- Strain the herbs and pour the “tea” into the bath with 1/4 cup sea salt or epsom salt. Make sure you allow the salt to dissipate in the bath completely before climbing in.
*My guess is, if you are using a larger tub to soak in you will want to double this ratio so you can still get maximum healing from the “tea”.*
Padsicles, or Ice Pads
For those who have yet to give birth, these will be your friend for the first week or so post partum. I remember feeling like my vagina was so swollen and warm and the ice packs I got in the hospital felt so wonderful. But once I got home I had no more hospital ice packs (I wanted to cry) so I had to make due with what I already had in the freezer – regular gel ice packs. They worked ok, but they were so cold that I could only keep them on for about five minutes at a time. Which meant that most of the time I was without that wonderful cooling relief.
So this time around I am preparing ahead. And I can’t even tell you how excited I am to use them. (Seriously. I may be more excited about this than almost anything else.) To put these together I grabbed some of my daughter’s baby washcloths (because they are so soft), the sitz herb “tea” I already made, and some aloe vera gel and got to work.
Pour the “tea” into a bowl and lay your washcloths (or strips of fabric, or whatever you want to use) inside to soak. Prepare a separate bowl with plastic wrap or aluminum foil so you can keep the cloths from freezing to anything but themselves. Pull the cloths out one at a time, trifold (if necessary) and squirt some aloe vera gel on top. I chose to spread it out evenly with a spoon before the next step, but you can choose for yourself. Then just layer them in a bowl (to help them freeze in a more usable shape) and separate each layer with plastic wrap or foil. Place in freezer until they are needed.
When it’s time to use them, pull them out a few minutes before you need to use it to allow it to thaw a little bit for easier use. And they will be super cold, so I want to make sure they won’t freeze anything they shouldn’t.
*Even if you aren’t using cloth pads like I will be, this “tea” can certainly used. Just unfold your disposable pad but do not remove the outside wrapper. Spoon the “tea” onto the pad until it is fairly wet, use the aloe gel as above, then fold it back together in the wrapper. You will not need to use anything between each pad, because the wrapper will act as a barrier.
Post Partum Spray
Honestly, I don’t even need a separate section for this because I literally just filled 1/3 of the spray bottle with witch hazel and the rest with the sitz bath “tea”. This will be my go to if I have to be away from home or if I run out of my padsicles and don’t want to make any more. It really is just meant to be a soothing spray, aimed at healing all those swollen parts. And the added witch hazel is great for hemorrhoids (it’s the main ingredient in Tucks pads).
I am excited to say I am more prepared for my time post partum than I was with Sweet Girl. I’m hoping, especially since I will also have a rambunctious toddler running around, that these will help me to heal faster. At the very least, all those baths I plan on taking are going to help me feel sooooooo relaxed.
Good luck on your own journey into motherhood!