Benefits of Postpartum Vaginal Steaming
Vaginal steaming for postpartum recovery has a rich, robust, and global history.
Unfortunately, with the onset of Western gynecology in the late 19th century, vaginal steaming was part of the wisdom lost though the banishment of midwifery. Thankfully, birthing people around the planet are revitalizing this practice. Here are eight ways you may experience the bountiful healing potential of postpartum vaginal steaming.
1. Steam Aids in Clearing out the Lochia
Postpartum vaginal steaming supports the complete cleanse of the uterus including the lochia, a mixture of blood and mucus. The steam helps loosen and liquify the lochia allowing for its release to occur more quickly and more completely.
Clearing out the Lochia:
- Helps reduce the chance of infection, of which a fever is often a sign
- Reduces postpartum contractions
- Helps the uterus get back to size and return to pre-pregnancy position
- Helps the menstrual cycle return with a normal, optimal, and pain free period
2. Steam Supports the Tightening of the Vaginal Opening and Vaginal Canal
As these vaginal tissues tighten they are better able to hold the uterus in aligned placement. In turn, other organs return to optimal positioning which helps prevent prolapse.
3. Steam Helps Lift the Uterus and Neighboring Organs back into Place
Steam has a rising action and lifts everything back into place which is a critical aspect of postpartum healing.
With organs back in place, incidences of bladder incontinence are reduced. Contrary to our cultural misbeliefs, incontinence is not inevitable. Rather incontinence is a sign of incomplete postpartum healing.
4. Steam Reduces Skin Swelling and helps swollen skin go back to normal.
5. Steam Helps Heal Hemorrhoids
With its elongated diamond lid opening, The Kitara sauna is purposely designed to allow the steam to reach and heal the entire pelvic floor region. For optimal benefits for hemorrhoid release, please make sure you are positioned properly so that the steam reaches all areas of the pelvic floor, including the anus.
6. Steam Increases Circulation and Disperses Water Retention
As unaddressed water retention turns to fat after 3-4 weeks, this may be why one study showed that postpartum vaginal steaming supported quickened weight loss.
7. Postpartum Vaginal Steaming may Addresses Past Period Problems
After delivery, the cervix remains open for 4-6 weeks. So during postpartum vaginal steaming the cervix is open, making it an optimal time for for a full uterine reset. Birthing people who received a good cleanse from postpartum vaginal steaming have reported experiencing healthier periods after having given birth than they had pre-conception.
8. Vaginal Steaming Releases Oxytocin, the feel good/ bonding hormone
Stimulation of the cervix and uterine walls releases oxytocin. As mentioned above, during postpartum vaginal steaming the cervix is often open. This allows the steam to touch the vaginal canal and cervix and to stimulate the uterine walls.
This happy/love hormone is also an important piece of the prevention of postpartum depression and oxytocin also helps support milk supply.
IMPORTANT: Postpartum vaginal steaming is only safe after the uterine arteries have closed. Proper herb selection and a personalized steaming schedule are critical for safety.
For additional information, please check out the first Western Study on postpartum vaginal steaming: Fourth Trimester Vaginal Steam Study