Giving birth to your baby is one of the most exciting times in your life. You can’t wait to go home and finally use all the things that you prepared for the baby’s arrival.
But first, bath!
Being a new mom, you want to be fresh and clean when you cradle your baby and start taking care of her. You want to wash up from all the postpartum bleeding and get on with your life with your baby.
Generally speaking, women who have vaginal births are safe to take a bath right away after they deliver their babies. Warm baths can ease the feeling of soreness after giving birth to a tiny human being. However, if you had an episiotomy (a surgical incision in your vagina) or if you have a tear during the birthing process that needs to heal, your doctor may advise you to wait 24 hours before going under the shower and to take necessary precautions to avoid risking any complications.
Nhessie, who gave birth to her second and third babies by Cesarean section, says she waited five days before taking a bath. “Not because the doctor told me, but because I was scared! Kasi fresh pa ang wound. I was scared to get it wet, baka bumuka ang tahi.’’
She laughs upon remembering that it took her longer than five days to take a bath after giving birth to her eldest son. “Naku, with Choi (her eldest), one month pa! Pamahiin ng nanay ko. Papunas punas lang ako nun, so imagine mo ang hair ko, super lagkit!’’
Edz, who gave birth to her child by vaginal birth says she remembers taking a bath right away. “Actually, the next day or wala pa yatang 24 hours. Sa pagkakatanda ko nagshower ako agad. Hindi lang masyado maayos kasi may body pain. Lagkit na lagkit kasi ako and I felt na parang I need to be clean because I’m feeding a newborn na palaging nakayakap sa akin.”
Checking whether old wives' tales about giving birth had bearing, I asked her if she experienced anything unusual as a result. She says there was none. “Wala naman, pero siguro one week after ko manganak, may mga time na nilalamig ako kahit hindi naman malamig na panahon masyado. I think it’s because of hormones yata, pero wala naman sinabi ang ob-gyn ko na may something wrong. ”
For women who develop hemorrhoids during pregnancy, a sitz bath may alleviate the discomfort and help ease the pain for those who need to wait for their vaginal stitches to heal. Sitz baths are warm, shallow baths used to cleanse the woman’s perineum, or the area between a woman’s vulva and rectum. Sitz bath kits usually come with plastic that can be filled with warm water that you can use for washing yourself. These kits can also easily fit on your toilet so you can sit while cleaning up, to prevent yourself from putting unnecessary stress on your body that may pull on the stitches and open your wounds anew.
Quick showers are the safest way to take baths. Bubble baths and hot tubs are out of the question as hot tubs are known to house bacteria that may infect your still healing wounds.
If you gave birth through a C-section, you will most likely be advised to wait until your wounds heal before taking a full bath. Spot washing is your best option as you can avoid getting your stitches wet.
Depending on the speed of your body’s recovery process, you may have to wait for three weeks or until your wounds have healed before you can take a full bath. Surgical threads dissolve on their own, so you just have to wait for them to do so.
There are also certain products in cream form that women could apply on their wounds to protect them from getting wet, but it may be safer not to do this. If in doubt, check with your doctor first.
Washing your body with a damp cloth and drying the stitched areas carefully afterwards is the best thing you can do for the meantime. Your doctor is still the best person who can tell you if it is safe for you to take a bath after your delivery, or when it is okay to do so.
Should you notice anything suspicious about your wounds—for instance, if there’s any unusual discharge, or if there is swelling, or if the pain increases—call your physician right away and ask for his professional opinion.