Updated: Nov 1
I've had people ask me for advice on the best ways to encourage healing after a section.
So I thought I should put the advice down in writing :)
These tips are in addition to the normal and fundamental advice that you will be given by your medical doctor before (planned) or after (emergency) a section.
Protein builds your cells. It helps you heal and grow, all the time. After any surgery it is fundamental to eat good quality sources of protein. During the postpartum period, it is even more important. It balances blood sugar levels (energy balancing), aids healing & aids breastfeeding. I find that many women do not eat enough protein anyway, let alone when they are pregnant, postpartum and/or breastfeeding. While breastfeeding you need around 10g more per day. Which is about 2 large eggs worth.
Good sources of protein: organic meats (chicken, eggs, lamb, beef), lentils, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, edamame beans
Eating enough fibre from vegetables, wholegrains and fruits will be beneficial to avoid any unwanted straining during bowel movements. Eg. Sweet potato, pears, apples, wholegrain rice, spelt, kiwi, chia seeds and flaxseeds, soaked. .
Zinc & Vitamin C
It goes without saying that a healthy diet of REAL good food is so important right now. You're recovering, tired, possibly breastfeeding. Eat a variety of foods, all different colours.
I would recommend taking a supplemental form of vitamin C and zinc (as well as eating foods high in these: lemons, spinach, kiwi, pumpkin seeds, shellfish, peppers), as they are super important for skin & tissue healing. They also help protect against infection.
Vitamin C in a buffered or ascorbate form is well tolerated. I took this for the first 6 weeks after both my vaginal and section delivery and healed very swiftly.
As for zinc, 20-50mg per day for 6 weeks, in a picolinate or citrate form is better.
It is always best to see a homeopath. However, there are some remedies that a known to be very useful for after surgery.
They include: arnica, calendula, staphisagria, bellis perennis, ledum, & hypericum.
Find a homeopath here
Optimal gut health is renowned by naturopathic practitioners to be the key to good health. Almost all ladies undergoing a section will have IV and/or oral antibiotics. It's important to help replenish good bacteria with probiotics. Bifidobacterium and acidophilus have a lot of research, make sure you take some that are in the billions of strength.
Also increasing fermented foods or products like Kefir and sauerkraut can be beneficial.
Rest & Movement:
Rest, rest and more rest! Okay, easily said than done now that you have a little one(s) to look after!
Ask for help, get a cleaner for a few months, leave the house to look messy. It is okay and IT IS important for your healing. You just grew a baby for 9 months and have had 3+ layers of your tissues surgically cut. Rest, enjoy your baby-moon.
Having said that, a little movement is important to keep the blood flowing. Blood is what transports of those needed nutrients and oxygen after all. Remember to stand tall and not to hunch over.
After 6 weeks do some gentle stretches and some longer walks. Listen to your body!
Lifting & Daily chores
Please don't lift anything! (but your gorgeous baby, of course)
Please don't lift your car seat with your baby in. In fact, I don't think any mum should be carrying around a car seat with a baby in it! It is a lot of pressure on your incisions and pelvic floor. It's actually one of the reasons I bought my 'birth to 4 years old' fixed car seat, which stays in the car, so I wouldn't be tempted to lift!
Scar healing (long term)
See a women's health physiotherapist! This is SO important and goes for ladies who have had vaginal deliveries too.
Abdominal massage can help break down those adhesions I spoke about.
You can find reputable practitioners at the Pelvic Partnership
Remember it takes up to two years to fully healing from pregnancy & birth.
It is a long road, so be kind to yourself!
Disclaimer - please always check with your GP that it is safe to take any supplements. I am not a medical doctor.