Childbirth is an incredibly phenomenal experience, and carries with it the excitement of bringing forth new life. For a period of nine months, a woman looks forward to the day she will meet the child who has been growing inside her. Yet, the truth of the matter is that giving birth is a challenging experience that pushes the human body to its limits.
Delivery by Cesarean section, herein abbreviated C-section, is particularly taxing. This is because one needs more time to make a full recovery in comparison to a vaginal delivery. The good news is that there are a number of remedies that one can use after a C-section delivery to help with the healing process. It is important to note that while these home remedies are effective over a period of time, any drastic changes in the scar require immediate medical attention to prevent further health complications.
1. Getting Adequate Rest:
Time Required: Varies, but the general rule is to rest as much as you can.
What You Need: A comfortable place to rest and help from one’s support system.
A C-section is a major surgery on the body, and just as with other key surgeries, your body needs ample time to recover after birth. For the most part, moms who have had a C-section stay in hospital for about four days after delivery, and more if there were health complications. After getting discharged, the body requires a couple of weeks to heal completely. One of the simplest remedies available is getting ample rest. Granted, this is easier said than done because in the early days after delivery, moms are still adjusting to having a new-born who requires attention round the clock. This explains, in part, why new moms are instructed to rest and sleep when the baby does. Below are tips on how to get as much rest as you can after a C-section delivery.
Tips on getting more rest after C-section
- Try as much as possible to rest when the baby sleeps. This is not a walk in the park because the first few weeks of life can be incredibly hard. That is why it is recommended to have a support system at this time. The new mom’s support system can help with the seemingly endless chores that revolve around the baby, ranging from diaper changes to feeding, cleaning and general housework.
- The golden rule when getting adequate rest is to understand that it may be impossible to get blocks of uninterrupted rest time. Instead, find pockets of time when you can rest and unwind because even a couple of minutes here and there make a great difference for C-section moms.
- As the baby grows, take time to sleep as often as you can. The simple reason for this is that the body is able to regenerate and rejuvenate faster during sleep. This helps with tissue repair and therefore helps ease the recovery process.
Time Required: Spread across the day.
What You Need: Adequate drinking water and Magnesium supplements.
C-section deliveries are often accompanied by post-operative constipation, which can make the recovery journey very arduous. To help with these, moms who have had C-sections are advised to stay hydrated by taking lots of water to ease bowel movements and reduce the pain. The other benefit of drinking lots of water is that it helps to flush medication administered during the surgery from the body.
You may also opt to add Magnesium supplements which help treat constipation. This supplement is gentle on the body, and does not cease situations where emergency bathroom trips are a frequent occurrence, unless of course the supplements are take in excessive amounts. Magnesium works by relaxing the bowels and drawing water to the bowels all the while creating a laxative effect which eases the strain during constipation, and also helps the C-Section scar heal faster.
NOTE: When shopping for Magnesium supplements, avoid those that contain Calcium as this is known to worsen the effects of constipation. Magnesium citrate is an ideal supplement as it acts as an osmotic laxative. Talk to your doctor before using this remedy if you suffer from kidney disease or experience nausea and vomiting. This is vital because Magnesium citrate may also interact with other medication.
- Take adequate drinking water during the day to stay hydrated as well as to avoid constipation which may prolong the recovery period after a C-Section delivery. Do this alongside the recommended dosage of the Magnesium supplements. The supplements may be available in liquid or tablet form.
Tip: For those who struggle with increased water intake, it helps to add a number of natural remedies to improve the taste of the water. These range from lemon slices to cucumber cubes, mint leaves and grated ginger. In any case, this is an excellent habit to take on even after full recovery from the C-Section scar.
3. Take Care of the C-Section Incision:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Warm soapy water, clean water to rinse as well as a soft cotton towel.
C-Section incision care is an important way to ensure that you make a full recovery. This is a very important step because failure to do so prolongs the period of recovery and predisposes the scar to multiple infections. CS scar infections are difficult to manage, and certainly require medical intervention. One of the simplest remedies is to take care of the CS scar by cleaning it with warm soapy water as described in the directions below.
- Begin each day by cleaning the incision scar with warm soapy water. The way to do this is to let water flow over the scar as gently as possible during your daily bath.
- Avoid scrubbing the scar or applying undue pressure over it as this may not only cause pain, but also lead to further complications.
- After washing and rinsing with clean water, dry the scar in two ways. You may either air-dry it, which is advisable if you are not in a rush, or simply pat it gently using a soft towel. Avoid drying the scar aggressively.
- Maintain this routine to ensure that the C-Section recovers quickly.
4. Keep the Pain Away:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: Pain medication, natural remedies for pain and an abdominal belly binder.
One of the most challenging bits about managing a C-Section scar at home is the resulting pain and discomfort that mothers will feel from time to time. Since pain medication is usually administered after hospital discharge, you need to take this by following the dosage provided. The other option is to take natural remedies for pain management to help keep the pain from been unmanageable. These remedies include ginger and turmeric. It is important to let your doctor know what natural remedies you are taking to prevent drug interactions.
The last way to manage a C-Section scar is to wear an abdominal binder specifically designed for C-Section moms. The advantage of these binders over the conventional belly binders is that the C-Section abdominal binder is less rigid, and excludes the several pressure points that come with the usual belly binders. Wearing a C-Section belly binder is a simple way to manage the pain, and over a period of time, gives you more flexibility that helps you get around with less pain. This is great for your emotional health and works wonders for your recovery journey.
- Remember to follow the dosage provided for post-operative pain after getting discharged from hospital.
- Natural remedies such as ginger and turmeric may help provide pain relief. It is advisable to take the remedies orally instead of applying them topically as these may result in adverse reactions and further complications.
- Get a C-Section abdominal binder to help you get around with greater ease.
- There are several options available in the market, so get one that suits preferences.
5. Invest in Comfort When Nursing:
Time Required: As often as needed
What You Need: A breastfeeding pillow
One of the ways to ensure a faster recovery post-CS is to ensure that nursing progresses seamlessly. This is important because if nursing is difficult, CS moms may struggle to come to terms with how to adapt to post-operative care while still taking care of their young ones. This is why comfort is key, whether breastfeeding or using the bottle. A usual bed pillow or sofa pillow will work just fine, but whenever possible, it is advisable to get a breastfeeding pillow. A breastfeeding pillow is recommended because it is U-shaped and this allows the CS mom to nurse without placing additional pressure on the body.
- Simply use the breastfeeding pillow as often as needed to ease the strain on the CS scar and allow it to heal faster.
- Use this alongside the aforementioned home remedies.
6. Increased Intake of Vitamin B, C and E:
Time Required: Depends on the method of preparation.
What You Need: Foods rich in the aforementioned Vitamins.
It is important to increase one’s intake of foods rich in Vitamin B, C and E as well as iron-rich foods. Each of the nutrients mentioned has a specific function that works towards promoting the recovery of the incision. Vitamin B, specifically Vitamin B12, helps the body with red blood cells production while keeping the cells in the nerve system healthy and functional. Increased intake of Vitamin B12 allows for optimal production of the red blood cells which in turn helps replenish the body’s blood volume. This is very important especially in cases where one lost lots of blood.
Vitamin C on the other hand, strengthens the immune system which is integral to faster recovery. It also helps fight potential infections while reducing the weakness that occurs post-surgery. This is closely tied to the function if iron that is critical following blood loss that occurs during CS delivery. In addition to this, Vitamin C helps with iron absorption from the gut. Vitamin E on the other hand, promotes the development of collagen fiber. Collagen is vital in soft tissue healing which allows C-Section recovery to progress well. Each of these nutrients plays a critical role in post-operative recovery. Below are some of the foods suggested for this remedy.
Foods that are rich in the nutrients mentioned above
- Some of the foods rich in Vitamin B12 include fortified cereals, milk, eggs, meat and chicken. Shellfish is also rich in Vitamin B12, and makes for an excellent addition to one’s diet.
- Foods that have a high concentration of Vitamin E include almonds, spinach, avocado, wheat-germ as well as butternut squash.
- To increase your iron intake, ensure you add the following foods to your diet: liver, red meat, seafood, dark green leafy vegetables and fortified cereals. Peas and beans are also rich in iron.
- To assist the body with iron absorption, increase your Vitamin C intake. Foods and fruits rich in Vitamin C include oranges, brussels sprouts, strawberries, red peppers and grapefruits.
7. Bone Broth:
Time Required: 45 Min
What You Need: 1 Kg of raw bones, 1 onion, 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, 2 tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar and water. Optional additions include 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 bunch of parsley as well as additional herbs and spices. You will need a stock pot to cook the broth in.
Broth is a healthy infusion of minerals made by boiling the bones of healthy animals. Vegetables, herbs and spices are usually added to give it a delightful flavor. The rich concentration of minerals makes it a healthy addition to any CS mom’s diet as it encourages faster recovery and promotes overall health. Bone broth is also rich in amino acids that are required for the synthesis of collagen in the body. This is great for healing the skin. The presence of gelatin in the broth also helps heal the CS wound. As a bonus tip, broth also eases stomach discomfort and helps prevent constipation. Prepare this delightful remedy by following the steps below.
- Since you are using raw bones, it helps to place them in the oven for minimal roasting in order to improve the flavors. Allow roasting at 350 degrees for half an hour.
- Transfer the bones to a pot and add water until the bones are fully covered.
- Pour in the vinegar and allow the bones to sit in the water for half an hour. The purpose of the vinegar is to enhance the nutrients available in the bone.
- Chop all the vegetables, with the exception of the garlic and parsley, and add them to the pot. At this point too, add any herbs and spices you may be using.
- Heat the mixture until it starts boiling vigorously.
- At this point, reduce the heat until it starts simmering.
- Let the broth simmer for between 24 and 48 hours. Note that in the first few hours, you will need to eliminate the floating impurities. This is often accompanied by a frothy layer that can be removed using a spoon.
- In the last few hours, add the garlic and parsley.
- Remove the broth from the heat and allow it to cool.
- Pass the broth through a strainer to eliminate particles from the bone and discard.
- Drink the broth while still warm and refrigerate the rest of the stock.
- Drink the bone broth within 5 days.
In addition to these remedies, it helps not to be overly enthusiastic about getting a workout done immediately as this could strain the scar and cause immense pain and discomfort. In fact, since breastfeeding helps the tummy area shrink back, you may want to go easy about bouncing back to shape. Do not forget to ask for help whenever you are in need. If you have any concerns, or the scar does not seem to heal within a reasonable time frame, contact your doctor and get medical attention.