3 Strategies for C-Section Healing
You’ve had a c-section. Whether it was planned or an emergency, this major abdominal surgery took a lot out of you—literally! Both body and mind need time to heal, and making sure to take care of yourself nutritionally, physically, and emotionally will shorten recovery time so you can focus on that beautiful new baby of yours! These tips will help you feel better, sooner.
Give your body the fuel it needs for healing.
Include a source of protein with each meal such as hummus, nut butters, hard-boiled eggs, lean meats and fish, beans and legumes, and dairy products. Protein helps tissue heal and levels your blood sugar to keep energy levels up and mood balanced.
If you struggle with bowel movements, drink lots of water and focus on fibre-rich foods by increasing servings of fresh fruits and vegetables, adding ground flax seeds to your oatmeal, cereal, or yogurt, and stocking the house with whole grain breads and cereals.
Vitamins and minerals
Vitamins A and C and the mineral zinc all promote healing. These nutrients help repair skin and underlying tissue, keep the immune system strong, and decrease inflammation. Add foods like sweet potato, squash, and carrots, or dark green vegetables like broccoli and spinach to the menu. Throw a handful of pumpkin seeds into your smoothie or salad, have a hearty chili with beans, lentils and/or ground beef for great sources of zinc.
Natural pain relievers and healing superheroes*
Arnica, used internally or externally, speeds up post-surgery recovery time and decreases inflammation and bruising. It can also help with shock and reduce bleeding time.
Staphysagria works well in the pelvic region for pain relief post-section. It is indicated after abdominal surgery and is helpful when pain persists at the site of a surgical incision. It can be taken with Arnica.
Bach Rescue Remedy
This is a great remedy made from five flower essences that immediately calms the nervous system. Place a few drops directly into your mouth or dilute it in a little water. Rescue Remedy is safe in pregnancy, while breastfeeding, and with any medication.
Helps surgical wounds heal faster and decreases pain after surgery, improving outcome and reducing the need for medication. Stock your fridge with citrus fruits, strawberries, melons, papaya, and red peppers--all rich in vitamin C!
To reduce inflammation, take 2,000–3,000 mg of omega-3 fish oil daily for two weeks after surgery. Salmon, sardines, hemp hearts, flax seed oil and walnuts are rich sources of healthy fats. If fish oil is already part of your routine, stop taking it five days before a planned surgery, since it can promote blood thinning and increase bleeding during surgery.
IV antibiotics given during c-section surgery means that replenishing good bacteria is important to help avoid side effects like urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and thrush. Probiotics promote a healthy microbiome which supports the digestive and immune system post-surgery.
*Always consult with a health care provider before taking any remedy.
Surgery is draining and can leave patients feeling low. Feelings of disappointment or failure may plague some c-section patients, especially if it was unplanned, and the aftermath may be difficult. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, sadness, inability to cope, or just need someone to talk to, contact your healthcare provider right away. The best treatment is always the soonest treatment.
Talk things out
Suppressing negative emotions can be exhausting. Discussing your birth experience with those you trust can help you better process your birth story. Letting your partner, friends, and family members know how you are feeling helps them look out for signs of post-partum blues and provide the love and support you need.
Be gentle with yourself
Life is busy with your new baby. You need to rest and nourish your body so you can fully recover. Say yes to friends and family who want to babysit just so you can nap, have a bath, or catch up on a good book with a cup of tea.
Get fresh air daily
Simply sitting on the porch, or slowly strolling to the end of the block with a loved one pushing the stroller is a great way to lift your spirits.
Document and share the journey
Keep a journal. Talk to friends. Invite your community in. Birth is an emotional, wonderful, and overwhelming time. It is made all the sweeter by noticing the little things and being surrounded by people who love you.
Invest in your emotional health. It’s good for you and the baby.