When Can I Take a Bath After Giving Birth?

Baths are a wonderful form a self-care for new moms. But you may be wondering, when can I take a bath after giving birth? For most women, you will have to wait 4-6 weeks to take a bath safely. Read on to learn what variables impact when you can take your first post birth bath.

woman taking a bath
You need to wait a few weeks before you relax in the tub after having a baby!

There are few things as relaxing as taking a bath. In fact, when I was in the hospital for the birth of my first child, I longed for taking a nice long bath. I was shocked to learn my days of being able to take a bath were a ways away—and not because I would be caring for my baby…but because, water submersion poses some risks to the postpartum body.

Taking a bath after giving birth can put you at risk for infection and can also weaken your wounds, slowing healing. But don’t worry—you don’t have to wait for months to take a bath. And thankfully, those relaxing baths will be ready for you when you start running postpartum. (I swear by Epsom salt baths to expedite recovery.)

I connected with OB GYN Jaclyn van Nes about when you can safely take a bath postpartum depending on the type of childbirth you had—vaginal or c-section. (Reminder: I am not a doctor! Talk to yours before you take a post pregnancy bath!).Okay, let’s get to the answer once and for all, when can I take a bath after giving birth?

Related: Benefits of Epsom Salt Baths for Runners

bath after baby pin
When can I take a bath after birth — does it change if I had a c section versus vaginal delivery? Pin the scoop on your first post pregnancy, post birth bath.

Post Birth Baths: Benefits and Considerations

Taking a bath after having a baby can be a wonderful way to relax, but you do need to wait to do it safely. First, let’s talk about the wonderful benefits of this self-care ritual.

Benefits of baths:

  1. Improved sleep
  2. Less stress
  3. Better mood
  4. Reduced muscle soreness (especially if you have an aching back from carrying around a baby everywhere! And nursing in weird positions!)
  5. Improved circulation
  6. Reduced inflammation
  7. Much-needed relaxation

Considerations for post birth bath:

Your cervix is still dilated post pregnancy and you may have open wounds. Both issues can put you at risk for infection. Furthermore, water submersion may cause your wound to breakdown which can slow healing. The wound could even soften and reopen. Get clearance from your healthcare provider before taking your first post birth bath!

Related: Is 6 Weeks Too Soon To Start Running Postpartum?

post birth bath pin
When can I take a bath after birth — does it change if I had a c section versus vaginal delivery? Pin the scoop on your first post pregnancy, post birth bath.

Timing: Can I take a bubble bath 3 weeks postpartum? How about getting in a hot tub 4 weeks postpartum?

In most cases, postpartum women will need to wait 4-6 weeks to take a bath after having a baby. “With swimming postpartum, it’s important to wait until all areas have healed before getting in the water,” notes Dr. van Nes. If you had perineal tearing or stitches from an episiotomy, your wound needs to heal before being submerged in water. Otherwise, you risk slowing healing or causing infection.

Furthermore, the cervix may still be dilated in this time frame, theoretically allowing bacteria in the water to travel to the uterus, increasing the potential for infection.

Now, how long after a cesarean can you take a bath? If you had a c-section, you may have to wait a little bit longer to take a bath. If you’re wondering, why can’t you take a bath after c section? Remember that a c-section is a major abdominal surgery with a large incision opening your body up to infection!

On average, women who had a c-section also need to wait 4-6 weeks. It’s best to ask your doctor at your 6-week check-up if your incision is ready to be submerged in water.

What about a bubble bath at 3 weeks postpartum? No, as your cervix could still be dilated—even if you had no tearing or stitches.

Related: When Should I See a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist?

What about getting in a hot tub 4 weeks postpartum? Seeing as hot tubs can house a lot of bacteria, it is not advised to get in a hot tub 4 weeks postpartum. So, the question is: when can I go in a hot tub postpartum? You will want to wait at least 6 weeks to get in a hot tub after having a baby.

Related: Running After C-section: What to Know

Most women must wait at least 4 weeks to take a bath after having a baby.

5 Tips for a Safe Post Pregnancy Bath
1. Talk to your doctor.

Before you get the suds going, get clearance from your doctor to ensure it is safe for you to take a bath. Your doctor will assess your incisions, wounds or stitches to ensure these areas are healed enough to be submersed in water. You will also likely need to stop bleeding (called lochia).

2. Start with a sitz bath.

If you aren’t cleared to take a bath yet, you can do sitz baths, says Dr. van Nes which can help keep any tearing or stitches clean and also help healing. These baths are okay because they are short (no longer than ten minutes) and in just a few inches of water. You can do these in your tub or buy a sitz bath. It’s okay to do these four times a day and may help your “lady parts” feel better!

3. Set the scene.

Once you are okayed to take your first postpartum bath (yay!), do it right! Get a good book, gentle bath bubbles, epsom salt, light a candle, maybe even listen to some music or meditation. Avoid scrolling on your phone which defeats the purpose of quieting your mind and relaxing. Sometimes I dim the lights, open a window, and listen to calming music—and just sit!

Related: Can Exercise Help with Postpartum Depression?

4. Use warm water.

Ensure the water is warm and not super hot. Your “area” may be sensitive to hot water. Plus hot water is drying to the skin and can make you itchy. Apply body lotion like Kiehls afterwards to keep your skin comfortable and moisturized.

5. Continue your wellness journey.

Taking a bath is a wonderful step in the right direction for your physical and mental health. You can continue your wellness journey by introducing exercise into your routine. I offer a free postpartum running plan and one-on-one postpartum coaching. Coaching my postpartum athletes is a true privilege.

Safe Postpartum Bathing 

When can I take a bath after giving birth? You can safely take a bath after having a baby after you get clearance from your doctor around the 4-6 week postpartum mark. In the meantime, taking showers (or even sitting in the showers) can help you stay clean, relax, and feel human. Sitz baths are also an effective way to soothe and keep any postpartum wounds clean.

Related: Complete Postpartum Running Guide

The timing of when you can take a bath after having a baby fits well with when you may start walking or running postpartum. Taking a bath filled with Epsom salts is a double whammy of much-needed relaxation and recovery for new mamas!

 Hire Me to Help With Your Postpartum Exercise »

If you’d like assistance with your postpartum running journey, check out my run coaching services and my other free training plans:


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