Herbal baths are sure promoters of postpartum healing and comfort. There are many herbs that can be used to soothe tender perineal tissue, heal tears and episiotomies, reduce inflammation, and even shrink hemorrhoids after a vaginal birth. They are also relaxing and antiseptic.
If you don’t feel like fully immersing or don’t have a tub at home, try a sitz bath instead. A sitz bath is a basin that fits perfectly into your toilet seat and let’s you get a soothing soak of the important parts after a vaginal birth without having to immerse in the tub. Sitz bath basins are inexpensive and available at many pharmacies.
This beautiful and fragrant infusion by midwife and herbalist Aviva Jill Romm can be added to bathwater or poured it into a rinse bottle and squeezed over the perineal area. Herbs can be found at your local apothecary or from Mountain Rose Herbs. According to Romm, the bath can be given as soon as an hour after a vaginal birth as long as long as mom is healthy and there are no signs of infection, but I recommend consulting with your care provider. Once you are given the go ahead, a fresh bath can be taken once or twice daily for three to five days after birth. Baby can accompany mama into the herbal bath, which also promotes drying and healing of the umbilical cord.
- 2 Tbsp calendula flowers
- 2 Tbsp lavender flowers
- 1 Tbsp dried uva ursi leaves
- 1 Tbsp myrrh powder (or grind the resin with a mortar and pestle)
- 1 Tbsp witch hazel blossoms (if you can find them)
- 1 Tbsp dried sage leaves
- ½ cup sea salt
For use as a bath or sitz bath: Bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Turn off heat, and place 1 ounce of the mixture into the pot. Steep, covered, for 30 minutes. Strain the liquid well with a fine mesh strainer and discard the herb material. Add 8 cups of liquid to the bath tub or sitz bath, along with 1/2 cup of sea salt. Each bag makes four baths. Baths should be at hip level.
For use as an herbal compress: Soak a clean cloth (such as linen, cotton or gauze) in the herbal infusion and apply cold to the perineum as needed to reduce tenderness and swelling.
For use as a peri-rinse: Fill a peri bottle with the strained liquid at room temperature. Squeeze over the perineal area as you urinate to reduce inflammation and stinging.