Giving birth to a fragile new human is a very messy job, so they don’t officially call it labor and delivery for nothing!
One of the first things new moms look forward to is taking a bath after giving birth.
Pushing out the baby is physically taxing with a lot of blood, sweat, and tears involved. Washing up would certainly feel refreshing.
But, when can you take a bath after giving birth?
You may be able to take a quick shower soon after having a normal birth without stitches.
Your doctor can tell you otherwise, if your delivery involves birth with stitches.
On top of that, if you had any complications whatsoever, you might have to wait a little bit more before you can sing in the shower again or take a luxurious long bath in the tub.
Showering After a Vaginal Delivery
Not all vaginal births are equal.
Some women are able to do it sans drugs and sans an episiotomy (this is a cut made by the doctor to widen the opening making the baby pass through with more ease).
Some women do it without drugs but experience tearing as the baby passes through.
Some women like their epidurals (anesthesia so as not to feel too much pain) and are unable to escape an episiotomy and the subsequent stitches after the said procedure.
Newsflash: birth with stitches don’t only happen in a C-section.
After pushing the baby out from your birth canal
both your vagina and perineum — the area between the vagina and anus — will be extremely sore, uncomfortable, and maybe even painful.
Of course, that would be the case, because a tiny opening has been stretched to its maximum capacity in order to allow a tiny human head to pass through it.
This hole to head ratio defies the limits of physics, really.
Soaking in a warm bath or taking a quick shower sounds like paradise after normal vaginal birth because this endeavor feels even harder than running a full marathon.
If you’re a rock star who labored without drugs and gave birth without stitches, lucky you!
Taking a shower after giving birth can be done almost immediately.
If you can walk without any hitches, then they won’t mind if you take a shower so you’ll feel clean and refreshed.
Walk slowly and don’t make sudden jerky movements to avoid slipping.
Keep in mind to use temperate water, as too hot or too cold water are extreme temperatures
which may lead to dizziness because of the massive blood loss during the delivery process.
The last thing anyone wants is falling or fainting postpartum, which will certainly delay delivering.
A full tub bath may have to wait a bit because it increases your risk of exposing your vaginal area to bacteria.
However, if you had an episiotomy or tearing, it might be prudent to ask your doctor when can you take a bath after giving birth just to be on the safe side.
Chances are, the doctors will tell you to wait for 24 hours before you can take a shower because they want your stitches to dry up a bit.
She will also advise you to be very careful in washing your private parts with gentle soap, water, and then patting it carefully dry with a towel.
Keeping the area dry is the goal.
Good and proper hygiene habits are necessary to curb infection because catching one can prolong your stay in the hospital, which will then keep you from enjoying your new bundle of joy.
Hot Sitz Bath
If you can’t lounge in the tub just yet because you gave birth with stitches in your vagina, fret not because you’ll still get that chance to soak for a bit.
There’s a special device that the doctor prescribes that sits on top of the toilet.
You fill this with warm water, Betadine solution, and Epsom salt to help soothe the pain and discomfort.
It can even be refilled via a hose, so you don’t need to get up, in order to maintain the temperature you like.
Some even offer lavender oil as it has antiseptic properties, aside from smelling so good.
Don’t worry about making a mess with your hot sitz bath contraption.
There are no dangers of spilling water everywhere because it is built specifically to fit on top of the commode.
This makes it easy for you to sit on the hot sitz bath while it is filled with salty hot water, which medical professionals say aid healing.
It also helps to soothe and relax your perineum area which has undergone a lot of trauma.
Moreover, doing this prevents hemorrhoids, a painful swelling on the veins in the rectal area.
Be patient as the vaginal tears and episiotomy stitches heal.
Thanks to modern technology, stitches already dissolve on their own after two weeks.
Apart from the hot sitz bath, to help with the discomfort, some doctors even have special instructions on what to place on the perineum area, such as:
using witch hazel pads to soothe, spraying with Dermoplast topical anesthesia, and utilizing a peri-bottle (spray bottle you fill with water to blast you perineum area for comfort).
Postpartum check is at 6 weeks, but be sure to call your doctor if there are foul discharges or unbearable pain.
State of Being After the Big C
To say that it is painful to have your stomach and uterus sliced open to pave the way for the grand entrance of your child into the world is a huge understatement.
A Cesarean Section is a major surgery that opens up several layers of the abdomen.
You may even be in pain for several weeks after having a C-section.
The incision site feels tender, and what’s worst, your core will be diminished.
It will take time getting used to sitting up again immediately after surgery because your abdominal muscles feel gone.
And it even hurts to laugh, cough, or sneeze.
There are also moments when you feel like all your guts will just fall out.
Chances are, they would have placed a catheter in your vagina so there may be a bit of discomfort there, too.
Definitely, with all these major issues post surgery, an immediate shower or bath 24 hours after coming out of the operating room is out of the question.
Don’t worry because the nurse will be assigned to give you a bed bath or a sponge bath to help you feel clean and fresh.
Make no mistake about it… C-sections may feel painless during the actual surgery because of anesthesia, but during recovery, it’s both painful and uncomfortable.
A birth with stitches or staples like this needs a lot of time for recovery.
Movement is usually restricted 24 hours after a C-section delivery.
Depending on how you progress, you may be asked to ambulate or try walking the next day.
They encourage you to move to minimize chances of blood clots and adhesion, which are both potentially life-threatening.
Walking also promotes circulation and wakes up the internal organs that have been made sluggish by the massive dose of anesthesia.
It is imperative to pas gas and defecate post surgery, and walking aides in making all these happen.
If you’re able to pass the walking test without fainting or collapsing, the doctor might give you the go ahead for a quick shower.
Tub bathing at this point is still an impossible dream.
Personal Hygiene Post C-section
Thanks to advancements in modern technology, there are now waterproof bandages that secure the staples or stitches
allowing you to shower without affecting the wound.
Wait for the doctor’s instruction for what to do with incision care.
Do not remove the bandage on your own.
This is an important aspect because aftercare spells the difference between infection and recovery.
Typically, after the C-section operation, it will take around a week to ten days for the stitches to dry up and heal completely.
Although quick showers may be allowed within the first few days of a C-section
taking a long, relaxing soak, fully submerged in the bathtub may need another 2 weeks before it can happen.
The main point of pushing back soaking is to ensure that the wound remains dry for faster recovery.
On top of that, there is a possibility that you could strain yourself and injure your abdominal area as you try to get in and out of the tub.
Keep in mind, that no matter how excited you are to get back to your daily routine, you are still recovering from an invasive surgery.
Healing can’t be rushed and it really takes time.
Attempting to speed up the process and not following doctor’s orders can lead to detrimental results.
Taking a bath after giving birth without doctor’s orders is a bad move
Precautions Before Taking a Bath After Giving Birth
Whether you had a birth without stitches or a birth with stitches, one thing remains constant:
you have to follow your doctor’s advice thoroughly.
Each pregnancy is different just as each birthing journey is also different.
The only person who knows your true state and well being postpartum is your physician.
Your doctor is the best person to give you medical advice, hygiene tips, precautionary measures to take while you’re recovering from childbirth.
Follow those instructions strictly in order to avoid any unwanted complications that will only serve to delay your healing.
Remember, the longer you feel down and out of sorts, the longer you prolong your agony.
At this point, taking a bath after giving birth isn’t really the priority.
The most important thing to focus on is the new baby that you brought into this world.
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