Natural Cesarean Recovery Remedies
Cesarean recovery. What to expect? What is not normal? Let’s back the conversation up to what is a cesarean section or c-section? Cesarean delivery (C–section) is a surgical procedure used to deliver a baby through incisions in the abdomen and uterus. A C–section might be planned ahead of time if you develop pregnancy complications or you’ve had a previous C–section and aren’t considering a natural birth after cesarean (VBAC). This is MAJOR abdominal surgery. Your doctor will make an incision that is roughly 6 inches long cutting through the skin, fat, and muscle. Most incisions are low on the abdomen made side to side, often called a “bikini” incision. Once inside the abdominal cavity, your doctor will then “open” the uterus by making another an incision. This uterus opening is cut “just wide enough” for your baby to fit through. One doctor will support the baby through the incision and apply traction as needed, while another doctor forcefully pushes the top of your uterus to help push your baby out. Once your baby is delivered, the umbilical cord is cut, and the placenta is removed. Your newborn baby will be held up for you to see before being whisked away for fluid will be suctioned out of your baby’s mouth and nose, vitals taken and other after birth procedures the hospital performs. After the extraction of your baby and placenta, your doctor then cleans and stitches up the uterus and layers of the abdomen. Closing incisions takes the bulk of surgery time.
Computer generated view of c-section & reasons why a c-section may be necessary
Live footage of a c-section
Natural Cesarean Recovery Remedies
- Rest: Make rest your BFF. Your body experienced a major surgery, with or without hours of labor, plus the 10-ish months it took your body to grow a living, breathing, unique human. Make your turn to rest a priority.
- Good nutrition: Foods are fuel and all post part mamas need to eat good nutrition to aid in recovery. It is of even more importance to eat for healing post surgery. Eating lots colorful fruits and vegetables and protein-rich foods.
- Prenatal supplements: They can fill in for any area you lack in your current daily food intake. Most prenatal supplements contain iron which is needed to rebuild your blood cells. Zinc and vitamin C also aid in proper wound healing.
- Stay hydrated: Drink, drink drink. The better your hydration level the faster you recover. As an added bonus, it assists in milk production and keeps the bowels regular for less straining durning postpartum pooping.
- Up your fiber intake: Speaking of poop, constipation post c-section is not only common (ugg!) it is very uncomfortable. Add high fiber foods like prunes, lentils, blackberries, avocados, chia seeds and any other of your favorites to keep things chugging along smoothly.
- Heat therapy: Adding low heat can assist in healing by improving circulation and blood flow to a targeted area. A heating pad set on “low” or warm compresses will ease the pain around your abdomen and incision. Not only does the added heat heal damaged tissue, it also aids in relaxation and soothing sore muscles.
- Belly binding: Bengkung Belly Binding is the art of wrapping a postpartum women’s belly for physical support and to help hasten the healing and recovery process after childbirth. This is a sacred practice, if you can find someone who provides this ceremony service, I encourage you to invest in the experience. Binding can help repair diastasis recti (ab separation), adds support for internal organs, and aids in the return of uterus to its prepregnancy size. Post c-section, it is recommended to wait for binding until 6 weeks postpartum.
- Scar massage: Massaging the incision site has shown reduction in chronic pain, reducing scar tissue and improving your skins elasticity. (Here is a video how to!)
- Healing salves: Cocoa butter and vitamin E oil have been mama approved for years. There are many items out on the market. Search for one that is all natural and organic! This one from Earth Mama Organics is a tried and true favorite.
What is normal post c-section surgery? What indicates a call to my doctor?
Post surgery, you will likely feel some soreness in the incision area. It is also normal to experience some bleeding or discharge up to six weeks post surgery date. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, call your doctor:
- swelling, redness or oozing pus from the incision
- incision pain or pain around the incision location
- fever of more than 100.4°F (38°C)
- discharge from the yoni that is bad-smelling
- heavy yoni bleeding
- redness or swelling in your leg(s)
- breathing difficulty
- chest pain
- pain in your breasts
- feeling sad or dark mood that never leaves
- thoughts of hurting your baby