Doctor-Recommended Tips For Post Pregnancy Diet After C-Section
9 mins read
Health & Fitness for New Born, Baby
The post-delivery phase is a highly vulnerable and sensitive time for a woman – both physically and mentally. You need time to recover from the surgery but you’re also worried and stressed about your baby. While every woman goes through several postpartum concerns, C-section moms also have to be mindful of all the precautions and side effects that a surgery entails.
It can take up to a few months to recover from a C-section. During this phase, special care and precautions are needed to speed up your healing and protect you from conditions such as bowel problems or body aches. Simply put, it is vital that you EAT RIGHT.
We have compiled for you a complete guide on the right diet after a C-section delivery. It is recommended that you follow a nutritious, balanced and healthy regime, in consultation with the doctor. Trust us, it will help you bounce back and regain your energy much quicker!
What to Eat After C Section
1. Foods That Are Easy to Digest
Doctors recommend going easy in your tummy at this time. Eat light, warm, fibre-rich foods that get digested easily. This will help prevent constipation which can otherwise cause pain and pressure on the C-section incision. While planning your main meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner – you can include some of these foods to get your required energy:
Tip: Make sure you include warm soups and yogurt in your diet. The latter is also good for maintaining healthy gut bacteria, providing you further relief from digestive troubles.
2. Protein-Rich Foods
You need a lot of protein after c-section to help your body recover and heal. Protein will speed up tissue repair and help you deal with surgical pain as well. Some good protein-rich foods you should include in your diet are:
During your C-section, your body lost out on a lot of blood. It is imperative that you consume iron-rich food now to maintain haemoglobin levels, and calcium to help in blood coagulation. Iron will also help build your immunity at this vulnerable time, while calcium will help relax your paining muscles. Some foods you should include in your meals now are:
Make sure you consume some of these iron and calcium-rich foods, without going overboard (too much iron may trigger constipation).
4. Foods Rich in Vitamin C
This is a vital nutrient for you at this time as it helps speed up the body’s recovery process. It also protects you from infections. Include Vitamin C-rich fruits and veggies in your diet, such as oranges, strawberries, grapes, and broccoli. You can also whip up smoothies using combinations of these fruits such as the above Orange and Raspberry Smoothie (prefer drinking at room temperature; chilled drinks are not recommended at this time). Remember - moderation is key. Too many citrus fruits/juices can trigger acidity.
5. Water & Other Fluids
Aside from making sure to consume the above foods in your post-delivery phase, also remember to drink lots of fluids. Hydration is key to maintaining smooth bowel movement after surgery. Plus, during breastfeeding, you are likely to feel thirsty more often. Thus, it is very important to be properly hydrated. Water is the best, without doubt, but doctors also recommend the following fluids after C-section:
Healthy Spices to Use in Indian Food After Cesarean Delivery
Now that you know the essential nutrients you need after C-section, you can accordingly plan your diet. Also be mindful of some Indian spices that can have several benefits to speed up recovery. Experts recommend you add these spices to your meals after a C-section delivery:
Haldi contains vitamins, fibre, and minerals like manganese - ingredients that reduce the inflammation and help your C-section wounds to heal. You can consume turmeric by adding it to milk or by adding it to your meals.
2. Ajwain/Carom Seeds
Ajwain is very rich in thymol – an ingredient that relieves pain caused by indigestion and gas. It is also antibacterial in nature. Best part: ajwain helps cleanse the uterus to relieve post-delivery pain. Simply add it to water, or to your dishes while cooking.
Hing is helpful in dealing with digestive trouble like flatulence and gas. These are common problems after delivery, so adding a pinch of hing to your meals during cooking is a good idea.
Cumin is well-known for helping produce breast milk. It also relieves digestive ailments. You can add it to food while cooking or also consume it with water/milk.
Fenugreek can be useful in relieving joint and back pain after delivery. This is mainly due to its calcium-rich nature; it is also rich in vitamins and iron. You can add methi to food while cooking. Some women also consume fenugreek tea.
What NOT to Eat After C Section
You may have planned an ideal diet after cesarean delivery and included all the above foods into it. However, you also need to know what foods NOT to eat during this period. Consuming the following can interfere with the benefits of the nutritious foods you have otherwise included in your diet:
Foods that produce gas, such as cauliflowers, lady’s finger, etc. – you can slowly introduce them in your diet, but not too much at once. It is better to restrict them at least for the first month
Foods that are too heavy or hard to digest, such as red meat
Chilled foods and drinks – they could trigger a cold/cough. During breastfeeding, several antibiotics are restricted, so it’s best to be cautious
White rice – this should be avoided immediately (for about a week) after a C-section as the high blood sugars in rice can slow down the healing of your scar. Consider brown rice during this period
Junk food such as fried food or carbonated drinks – they may produce gas and flatulence, and digestive issues can become a real pain-point at this time
Alcohol – some experts believe that it can interfere with breastfeeding
Sample Diet Plan After C-section
We know a lot of you may be thinking - ‘I already know this, but how should I incorporate this into a workable diet plan?' Worry not moms, we have you covered.
WATCH: Sample Diet Plan for New Moms (With Recipes)
Key Takeaway: The diet plan in the above video is easy to follow, and will show good results, especially since it includes most foods that are good not only for weight-loss but also to increase breast-milk supply. The diet plan is as follows:
Breakfast: 1 bowl of Quinoa Oatmeal
Mid-Meal Snack (after 2-3 hours): 2 Eggs or Chia Pudding
Lunch: 2 Weight-loss Oats Rotis + 1 bowl Methi Sabzi / Beans / Lentils + 1 cup Yoghurt + Salad + Post-natal Vitamins / Supplements (as recommended by your doctor)
Dinner: 1 bowl Soup / 1 Grilled Chicken Breast + 1 cup cooked Green Leafy + Salad
It is important to remember that this is only a sample diet plan, and may need modification based on your specific case. Get your doctor’s inputs on the same. Also it is advised that so long as you are breastfeeding your baby, you should ideally not restrict your food intake or go on any form of diet. Dieting during your breastfeeding phase can actually affect your breast milk supply, and thereby take a toll on your baby’s health too.
Other Important Tips for Diet After Cesarean Delivery
Once you have developed an understanding of the right – and the wrong – foods to consume post-delivery, you are well on your way to recovery. Yes, healing will take time as a C-section is a major surgery. However, you will experience relief from pain and start feeling healthier and more energetic over time.
We also recommend you keep two final tips in mind:
Avoid consuming outside food and stick to home meals as far as possible. This is mainly because you can be careful of what goes into the meal when eating at home, and can rest assured that it’s right for you and the baby
Do not eat heavy meals in one sitting but rather space them out through the day. It is okay to have 5-6 smaller meals as opposed to 3 big meals.
Improve Bowel Movement After C-section with Chewing Gums
One common side-effect of having a C-section delivery is postoperative ileus – bloating and constipation caused by minimised movement of the gastrointestinal tract. When the equilibrium of your intestines is disturbed – as in the course of a surgery, such as a C-section – their movement may be affected, leading to bloating and/or constipation.
There are a lot of food-remedies for bloating and constipation. However, as a new mother, thinking about making one more diet modification may bring you to tears (seeing as there are so many restrictions and things to remember about your diet anyway)! But according to this new study, you don’t have to.
According to this study carried out in 2016, the xylitol which is added in most chewing gums as an artificial sweetener also has a laxative effect. This can help moms who have had C-section in restoring proper bowel movement. The study suggested new C-section moms chew gum thrice a day, for about 30 minutes at a stretch. This should be continued till bowel movement is restored completely.
What an effective and easy way to get your tummy back to order!
However, caution is also necessary since too much gum chewing (especially chewing gum that also contains other glycerol and sorbitol, which both have laxative properties) can actually cause diarrhoea!
That’s it, moms. We hope these tips help you plan your post C-section diet and recover early. Remember to try and get as much rest and sleep as possible, difficult as it will be. Your body needs time to heal, and not eating healthy or over-exerting in any form will only make recovery slower.