Pregnancy is not a walk in the park. And in my opinion, it becomes harder right after delivery. It’s as if you’re thrown into a shooting battle with no gun. You have to deal with so many things and to top it off, you’re sore down there. Yikes! When you’ve just had a baby, you should expect to feel sore down there. This is especially if you experienced tearing during birth and got stitches. Fear not though, there are several ways to get some relief and even speed up recovery. One such remedy for painful stitches is to soak in a sitz bath or better known as the salt bath.
What is a salt bath?
The salt/sitz bath is a pool of water mixed with salt that you sit in, with only your hips and bottom submerged to help your stitches heal faster and less painfully.
You can take a sitz bath using a special basin designed for this purpose and placed securely on a toilet seat, or you can fill up your bathtub with a small amount of water and create a sitz bath that way.
Benefits of using a sitz bath for stitches after birth
Helps to sterilize
As with any healing wound, adding some sea salt to warm water may also help to sterilize it and keep infections at bay.
Improves blood flow
The warmness of the salt bath helps improves blood flow to the perineal area. This is important because it reduces swelling and inflammation and promotes faster healing for the stitches.
Relieves the itching
Stitches often causes a lot of itching. Probably because of how tight they might be. However, when you sit under a salt bath, this itching usually goes away and stitches heal faster.
How to use a sitz bath
To prevent your stitches from opening up, use a specialized basin that fits on top of your toilet so that you don’t have to squat down too far. Or even better, if you have a bathtub at home, you can fill it up with the salt bath two to three inches of water.
Use warm (not hot) water. Hot water might end up scalding your skin and making your stitches even worse. So test out your bath first before sitting on it. Some women also prefer cool water in their sitz bath — especially since cool water tends to reduce swelling more effectively than warm water.
Soak up once a day for up to 20 minutes max. Remember to not overdo it. If there are stitches in the perineum, too much soaking can cause the tissues to break down and the stitches to fall apart.
When you’re done, pat the area dry with a soft, clean towel, or use a hairdryer on cool setting. (You’ll want to keep the area as dry as possible, especially if you have stitches). Don’t rub — that’ll only increase your soreness.