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For this specific question, I am ONLY referring to baths taken either in a facility or home that are for hygiene purposes ONLY: For this question, please disregard information regarding chlorinated/public pools and heated/hot tubs.

I am also only referring to VAGINAL births-not cesarian sections.

There seems to be a lot of disagreement amongst the medical community, both OB/GYNs and Midwives alike, regarding whether or not postpartum baths are harmful.

For example, my friend, who had an OBGYN and did NOT receive stitches was encouraged NOT to take baths for one/two weeks following the birth of her daughter; meanwhile, I had a hospital midwife and 56 vaginal stitches and was ENCOURAGED to take baths to help healing.

Lots of women, due to soreness following vaginal deliveries do not initially wipe after urinating and instead use perineal irrigation or "peri" squirt bottles to clean themselves with plain water. I do not know whether or not this prevents postpartum infections or if this cleans the area sufficiently enough compared to a soak in a bathtub.

I'm aware that there are outside things that would affect the answers, such as:

  • Overall cleanliness of the bathtub
  • Overall cleanliness of the bath water
    • perhaps even; city vs well water
  • The extent of vaginal trauma (Tears; with or without stitches)
  • Products added to the water
    • For hygiene purposes: bubble bath, body wash, bar soap, etc.
    • For spiritual purposes: flowers, herbs, leaves, etc.
    • For homeopathic purposes: unscented Epsom salt, baking soda, essential oils, etc.

Is there a current recommendation or recent studies conducted(post-2010); if possible-that point to whether or not postpartum baths at home are more harmful or hurtful for recovery considering (either the varying factors above or including a specific group with controlled environments)?

Obviously, there will always be medical professionals with varying opinions that are either based on stubbornness, textbook practice, years of anecdotes, etc.; however, I am looking for an overall answer stemming from recent medical journals that are as unbiased as possible.

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    There's no need for your first paragraph here. Answers based on anecdotal evidence would be deleted. – Carey Gregory May 3 at 22:11
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    One thing I would suggest you change is your definition of recent studies as being within the last year. That's a very restrictive requirement that will be hard to meet. There's no reason a study within, say, the last five years shouldn't be considered "recent." – Carey Gregory May 4 at 1:27
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    @CareyGregory Thank you! I lessened the year requirements to anything post-2010. Let me know if you think this year range is fair. – Margaret Belt May 4 at 1:47
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    That's much more reasonable. – Carey Gregory May 4 at 2:05
  • UpToDate has no good news for you. The last report on perineal care was from the 90's. Like many things in medicine, this appears to be something that varies by physician because there really is no evidence-based recommendation. – Tony Held May 11 at 23:17

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