Can You Take a Bath after Birth?

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Few people talk about the healing time your body will need after birth, but you should make sure you take the time to let it heal. Birth will take its toll, and you’ll probably be sore from head to toe afterwards. What’s more, you might have tears in your vagina (episiotomy) from the pushing, which will require added healing time. Therefore, you’ll need to be careful about which activities you engage in. Of course, you’re not going to be running a marathon soon after you’ve given birth, so strain probably isn’t a concern. However, you do need to be careful about exposing yourself to bacteria and infection before you are fully healed. Luckily, taking a bath after delivery is considered safe.

A bath after your delivery is actually recommended by experts so that your body will start repairing itself more quickly. Your tension will be relived and you’ll have a moment to rest without the baby under your supervision (assuming you’ve asked your partner or a relative to take over for a while). You’ll need to be more cautious if you’ve had a C-section, because the incisions made in that case are much deeper than any vaginal tears. Talk to your doctor about taking a bath after your cesarean section, but some studies recommend that you wait a week or more to let the cuts fully heal or at least start to close.

Baths are safe after delivery, but you should be particularly cautious about hot tubs. While the therapeutic relief will be tempting, hot tubs are breeding grounds for bacteria. Unless you own a hot tub and know precisely when it was last cleaned, you should steer clear until you have fully healed. Using a hot tub after delivery might even put others at risk because your tears might bleed into the water.

Once you’ve brought baby home after a long and strenuous vaginal delivery, ask your partner to watch your bundle of joy for a few hours and escape to your own bathroom for a therapeutic bath session. Bathing is safe any time after delivery, and you’ll most definitely feel like you need it. It will provide a relaxing and relieving way to de-stress your body while also clearing your head in the moments you’ll have away from your little one. From now on, alone time will be scarce, so take advantage of it while you still can.

Source: Debra Bick: Postpartum Management of the Perineum. British Journal of Midwifery Volume 17 Issue 9 pp. 571-577 September 2009

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