The most common and universal use of vaginal steaming around the world is for postpartum recovery. A trial study called the Fourth Trimester Vaginal Steam Study found that postpartum steaming was useful for returning the vulva to it’s pre-pregnancy state more quickly; expelling lochia (postpartum discharge) in a shorter period of time; reducing the strength and occurrence of postpartum contractions; lowering blood pressure and pulse; helping the uterus shrink below the pelvic bone more quickly; accelerating waist girth and weight reduction; alleviating suture discomfort such as itchiness, tightness, pulling or tenderness; improving bowel regularity; and reducing postpartum hemorrhoids.
Postpartum vaginal steaming is generally done for 30 consecutive days to support a complete postpartum womb cleanse although this varies among customs.
Though it’s best to start as soon as possible (as early as the day of birth), it must first be confirmed that the uterine blood vessels are closed and it is safe to initiate steaming.
A steam practitioner trained in postpartum vaginal steaming should be consulted to determine when to start steaming and should be part of the immediate pospartum care team as steam can be used in several first aid situations such as: prolapse, suture pain, lochia infections, heavy bleeding, inability to eliminate bowels or urine, retained or incomplete placenta expulsion, high blood pressure.
The steam practitioner will use details of the pregnancy, birth, and discharge characteristics to determine the best herbs for the postpartum steam plan as well as answer questions about the daily changes in discharge and other healing processes. The practitioner will often use more than one herbal blend and rotate the herbs as needed throughout the duration of the recovery period.
Lastly, your practitioner will provide a maintenance steam plan until the period returns and conduct an analysis to make sure the period is healthy once it returns. They can also recommend a steam plan if the period comes back early (before 9 months postpartum) or late (after 12 months postpartum).
Your steam practitioner can be your doula, midwife or postpartum caregiver. Inquire if they have steam experience and training. You can also go to steamychick.com to search the Vaginal Steam Directory for a practitioner trained in postpartum steam plans.
Prepare: It is best to hire your practitioner before birth, so you can have a consultation with them within 24 hours after giving birth. It is recommended to purchase vaginal steam supplies and have them at home, so they can be used as soon as possible. Ask your practitioner if they have supplies available for purchase and make sure that your postpartum steam practitioner is on your contact list when you go into labor, so you can consult with them ASAP after delivery.