After birthing, every woman needs dedicated time to heal and regroup while acclimating to the addition of a family member. While keeping up on hydration, nutrition, and rest is imperative there are other things women, and those who support them, can do to assist along this healing journey. One of the wonders nature provides is herbs to help heal our bottoms in the form of a Sitz Bath.
The term Sitz comes from the German word “sitzen,” which means “to sit.” And this is exactly what we want to do– sit in the steeped herbal solution. There are several different ways to use a sitz bath, so please check out the links to view the different options. We will be doing an instructional video on this topic soon!
One good option is a simple peri bottle. The herbs are steeped per their directions, then mixed with warm water or warmed back up from steeping if too cool, then they are added to the peri bottle to squirt over the area.
My favorite way, because I’m an extremist when it comes to herbal concoctions, is to steep your herbs per directions and then have that mixture in a big basin/bowl in which you sit for 15-20 minutes. This can be harder for those who are really sore or not flexible, in which case another option is to take a shallow bath. Again the herbs are steeped per directions and then several cups (usually about 4 cups) of that mixture are added to a shallow warm bath so the person can sit in a larger tub yet still have their entire bottom submerged in the herbal warm water goodness for 15-20 minutes.
There are also literal ‘sitz baths‘ which are positioned on top of a toilet with a bag in which you put your herbal solution, and then you can squirt the solution over your bottom from the bag, or you can simply pour it (without using the bag) and the solution will catch in the bottom tub part. These are great for people who need to be higher up in a seated position on a toilet because of body discomforts. I have heard good things but have never tried one myself.
So what are these magical herbs, you ask? Well, each sitz bath is different. Some contain witch hazel and salts whereas others are simply herbs. Each herb that is included holds different properties to aid the healing process, to relieve pain, to deter infections, and to reduce bleeding and swelling. Some commonly used herbs are:
Comfrey, Calendula, Lavender, Goldenseal, St. John’s Wart, Uva Ursi, Yarrow, Chamomile, Plantain, Marshmallow, Myrrh, and Sage.
This fantastic organic herbal sitz bath mentions each herb that is contained and why it is included in the blend. Some examples: Uva Ursi is astringent which reduces swelling. It is also a strong herb used to prevent or treat urinary tract infections.
Goldenseal is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. It soothes mucous membranes, and assists with excessive bleeding.
Sitz herbs are not only used in the case of postpartum healing. They are also a great treatment for hemorrhoids (which can be a common ailment of pregnancy or thereafter). They have also been used for treatment in regard to prostate conditions. This study found them to be quite beneficial after transurethral resection of the prostate.
I feel like Sitz Baths are highly underused. I don’t believe women know the benefits of them and they are not a part of normal pregnancy research for their postpartum period. Personally, I sent someone out to an herbal store the day I birthed to fetch me one. But depending upon where you live this is not that easy. Often they need to be purchased online and it is beneficial to have them on hand before birthing time arrives. They are a great gift to give to a woman who has just had a vaginal birth especially if she did not take the time to prepare and check them out beforehand. You can purchase high quality, organic sitz herbs here!