Good post-partum care is all about helping your body heal from a major procedure― childbirth. Whether you decided to have your baby vaginally or via a C-section, giving birth is not easy. In fact, it’s a pretty traumatic process for your body.
When you’re recovering, you will always need more time to heal from a C-section scar than you would vaginal tears. Also, having to constantly carry and feed a hungry and fussy newborn taxes your incision even more.
Whatever you do, don’t let healing take a back seat to meeting your baby’s needs. At the end of the day, your little one needs you to be in optimum health, so that you’ll be there 100 per cent for him or her.
A C-section scar doesn’t have to spell doom, though. Use these seven health tips from medical experts to help your post-surgery body repair effectively, so that you can keep up with your new demands as a mum.
Tip #1 Get plenty of rest
A C-section is essentially major abdominal surgery. Anything that requires your body to be cut open is considered trauma and can be very damaging physically, mentally and emotionally. “The damaged tissues need rest and the mummy needs rest,” points out SmartParents expert, consultant ob-gyn Dr Christopher Chong. “Not enough rest will lower her body’s resistance and make her prone to infection. If she’s breastfeeding, tiredness can also reduce her breastmilk supply and increase the risk of postnatal blues.” How does a new mum get rest though, when she’s expected to give her newborn round-the-clock care and soothe him whenever he cries? Take short naps as often as possible, Dr Chong suggests, who also encourages C-section mums to accept as much help as possible, from a domestic helper, confinement nanny, her husband or a trusted family member. If you’re breastfeeding, you can express your breastmilk and get someone else to bottle-feed bubba, especially at night, so you can enjoy a longer period of rest. Taking supplements will also boost your energy and help your body repair itself.
“Not enough rest will lower her body’s resistance and make her prone to infection. If she’s breastfeeding, tiredness can also reduce her breastmilk supply and increase the risk of postnatal blues.”
Tip #2 Take pain relief meds
Being in constant from that raw C-section scar while you nurse can prolong your recovery process and exacerbate your postnatal blues. “Pain can decrease the rate of recovery and affect how well you’re able to look after your newborn child,” notes Dr Chong. “No one should suffer pain in this modern era. Pain relief medication, prescribed by doctors are typically safe, even for breastfeeding mums. Just consult your gynae first.”
Tip #3 Focus on good nutrition
While you’re no longer eating for two, eating healthfully after a Caesarean will help the tissues in your body recover from the trauma they experienced during surgery. C-sect mums are also more vulnerable to other health issues, such as being in a great deal of pain, or an infected scar. “Constipation is also not uncommon after a Caesarean,” notes Dr Chong. “So, it’s good to continue with the pre-natal supplements, include a high fiber diet of fruits and vegetables and take stools softeners if needed.”
Tip #4 Take probiotics and iron supplements
Blood loss occurs in both Caesarean and vaginal births, but more so in the former because it’s a surgical procedure. Getting your iron levels up is important so as to avoid postpartum anemia, which can result in excessive fatigue, irritability and even affect the quality and quantity of your breastmilk. If you suspect you’re experiencing low iron levels, speak to your doctor and they will prescribe an iron supplement or hormone tablets, depending on how severe your situation is. At home, incorporate more iron-rich foods into your diet such as, red meats, fish, poultry, pulses, dried fruit and green leafy veggies. It’s also a good idea to include some probiotics into your diet as it will improve your digestive health and can prevent post-partum constipation. A regular dose of probiotics will also help your body maximise nutrition absorption from the foods that you eat. To start with, include probiotic- rich ingredients such as plain unflavored yogurt, miso, pickles, tempeh, kimchi and kombucha tea into your diet.
Tip #5 Take good care of your incision
Anytime there’s a major cut on your body, it’s alwas risk of it getting infected. Your stiches will dissolve with time, but it’s good to still ensure that the scar is always kept dry. A gentle massage around that area can help relieve pain and encourage the abdominal muscles to work more efficiently. See your gynae at once if you see any redness or experience unbearable pain.
A wound that doesn’t heal well will not only permanently damage your abdominal muscles, it can also affect your next pregnancy.
Tip #6 Start walking as soon as possible
It may seem daunting, but don’t be afraid to get back on your feet once the doctor has given you the all clear as it has several health benefits. “Walking is good for your blood circulation and relaxes your mind and soul,” notes Dr Chong. “It keeps you feeling healthy, which can also indirectly help reduce your risk of getting post-natal blues.”
Tip #7 Take physical activities slowly
Resuming physical activities will improve blood circulation is great for your health and. That said, don’t over exert yourself. Carrying heavy stuff or going back to your exercise routine too soon will stretch your wound, which can contribute to poor healing and increase the risk of a rupture. A wound that doesn’t heal well will not only permanently damage your abdominal muscles, but it can also affect your next pregnancy. Oh, and if you’re wondering when you can get busy in the sack again with the hubby, Dr Chong says that it all depends on how well and how quickly the wound heals. “If done too soon, it can affect wound recovery,” he warns.
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