C-section is Cesarean delivery or Caesarean section. The baby’s delivery happens by a surgical incision procedure in the mother’s womb. The history of caesarean section is observed back from ancient Romans.
According to a medical journal, Julius Caesar who was named after an ancestor was born by C-section. During those times, the C-section was performed to save the baby from the dead mother who died in her labor.
Causes of C-section
Most C-sections are caused because the normal delivery may lead to the risk of either baby’s or the mother’s life. The gynaecologist suggests C-section surgery when the baby’s position does not change in the womb. The other reasons for C-sections are explained as follows.
You are carrying more than one baby
According to WHO report, a C-section surgery is required for medical reasons. It is also done in women carrying a single baby when there is no progress in labor, or the baby’s position is not head-down.
Diet for C- section
- Whole grains
Inclusion of whole grains in your diet are crucial as it contains carbohydrates and other nutrients like vitamin B, iron, zinc, folate and selenium. This may help to maintain your energy levels throughout the day and aid in producing sufficient breast milk to feed your baby. So consuming whole grains will serve your nutrient needs. Whole grains also contain fibre, iron, folic acid, zinc, magnesium, antioxidants, copper and B vitamins necessary for the baby’s development.
- Fibre-rich foods
Fibre stimulates normal bowel movement. Many women face constipation problems after C-sections. A huge pressure is exerted on the wounds and drags down the healing process by breaking stitches. So, eating fibrous foods and raw fruits and vegetables will ease the constipation symptoms.
- Vitamin and mineral-rich foods
Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B12, C and folic acid, and minerals like zinc, copper, iron and magnesium are required for both mother and the baby. And vitamin C is crucial to combat bacterial infections. As it fights bacterial infections, it speeds up the recovery process.
Foods like papayas, melons, oranges, strawberries, grapes, broccoli and tomatoes are vitamin-rich foods, whereas spinach, beet greens, dried fruits, avocados, tofu, whole grains and lettuces are rich in minerals.
- Fruits and vegetables
According to NCBI, vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, acts as an antioxidant against oxidative stress in C-section delivery. It is also associated with the infant’s weight and height development. So, eating fruits and vegetables positively impacts the mother and the infant.
Along with other nutrients, protein also helps in the healing process, and it specifically aids in the growth of new cell tissues and provides strength to muscles and bones. Foods such as meats, fish, chicken and egg (for non-vegetarians), milk, cheese, dry beans, peas, and nuts are rich in protein.
These food items provide high-quality protein that provides crucial amino acids for you and your infant.
Calcium is essential for muscle relaxation and bone and teeth strength. Calcium also helps to coagulate the blood in your body. Calcium prevents harmful diseases like osteoporosis.
Calcium is rich in milk and milk products, including yoghurt. Lactating mothers are advised to add ragi, soybean, amaranth radish leaves, Bengal gram, tofu, spinach and kale to their diet chart.
Be cautious in adding iron-rich foods to your diet, especially during the initial weeks of delivery, as excess iron can cause constipation.
- Essential fatty acid
Essential fatty acids and docosahexaenoic acids (DHA) are needed for your infant’s brain development. When the mother consumes additional fat food like fish, the omega-3 fatty acid nutrients will reach the infant through breast milk.
As already mentioned, constipation is a concerning problem, especially for mothers who have undergone C-sections. To avoid such conditions, drink water, soup and fresh juices to keep you hydrated. Fluids induce normal bowel movements and speed up the recovery process.
Consuming non-citrus juices, low-fat milk, tender coconut water, butter milk and herbal tea. Make sure that all these drinks contain no added sugar. All these supplements will increase the water level in your body as breastfeeding may dehydrate when a lack of fluid intake is observed.
- Leafy greens
Green veggies like spinach, pointed gourd, fenugreek leaves, lotus stem, and lettuce are high in fibre, minerals and vitamins and low in calories. Leafy greens intake helps chance iron deficiency anaemia by producing haemoglobin.
- Nuts and seeds
- Lactation–inducing foods (Galactagogue foods)
Most mothers lack in producing sufficient breast milk for their infant. The mothers are asked to include the following foods in their diet to increase breast milk production. The food items like
- Fennel seeds
- Green leafy vegetables
- Sesame seeds
- Dairy food
Including dairy products in your diet is mandatory as they contain calcium, proteins and vitamins. It also aids in your sufficient flow of breast milk. Some dairy products like cheese, low-fat curd and skimmed milk are essential to include in your diet. Some alternatives for dairy products include almond or soy milk, which are suitable supplements for lactose-intolerant mothers.
Foods to avoid
- Carbonated drinks
Carbonated drinks, coffee, tea and spiced foods are to be avoided as they may increase gas or bloating in your abdomen. Heavy intake of citrus juices also leads to the same effect. Fried foods may cause indigestion and heartburn.
- Caffeinated drinks
A controlled intake of caffeinated drinks is suggested. As caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea have diuretic properties, they are safe to have in limited quantities.
Consuming alcohol will affect milk-producing hormones like prolactin and oxytocin. Alcohol consumption also affects the infant’s early development and sleep pattern. So, stay away from alcohol, as it can reduce breast milk production for your baby.
- Fried food/junk food
Eating fried foods cause stomach burns, ache and gas. Consuming fried foods may also cause indigestion problems that may worsen surgical wounds. Try to restrict fried food intake as much as possible.
- Acidic food
Excess acidic foods will increase the irritation in the abdomen. It may even worsen the wounds in the surgery area.
As mothers are breastfeeding, such foods may affect the milk and lead to growth problems in the newborn.
Nutrition tips after C-section
- Eat all the day
Segregate your full meals and consume them in five portions. Keep your healthy snacks handy so that you may not get hungry simultaneously and will not starve.
- Do not eat in a hurry
Do not eat your meals in a hurry. Though you are eating a little, eat your food mindfully. A research paper from Harvard education states that eating mindfully means using all of your senses to experience and enjoy the taste of your food. It increases the sense of gratitude and improves the overall eating experience.
- Choosing nutrient-rich foods
The following foods are easily digestible and are recommended for the C-section diet after your doctor’s consent.
- Dried apricots
- Sesame seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Roasted almonds.
- Say No to processed foods
As processed foods do not contain any nutrients, it does no good to the healing process of the wound after C-section delivery.
C-section needs more caution in taking good care of yourself to heal surgical wounds. In the healing process, the diet mentioned earlier plays a vital role. So following the diet after your doctor’s consent will help you much better. A large intake of fluids is crucial in healing wounds caused due to C-section delivery.
What foods help you to heal faster after C-section?
Some foods to eat after C-section are listed below.
2. Whole grain foods like barley, brown rice and millet
3. Leafy greens
7. Nuts and seeds
When can I start the diet after C-section?
It is better to start dieting or exercising after six to eight months of your C-section because most women need time to recover from the wounds (internal and external) caused by the C-section. Getting your doctor’s opinion before starting your diet and exercise is recommended.
Which fruit juice is good after the C-section?
Drinking vitamin C-rich juices listed below are good to include in the C-section diet.
Can I eat an egg after C-section delivery?
An egg is rich in proteins, so it is good to eat an egg every day in your diet. Consuming more than one egg will cause excessive cholesterol accumulation and increase the metabolic burden.
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