C-SECTION HEALING FOODS
C-Section births are on the rise and good nutritional status is vital post-birth yet it is often an area that is completely overlooked. Here are some simple tips and reminders of what is helpful to add in to your daily/wkly routine to support healing following a C-Section:
- Make sure you are drinking enough water. Preventing dehydration is an important part of any wound healing process. Without proper hydration, damaged tissue will not receive the oxygen and nutrients needed. Lack of moisture at the site of the wound can also delay the wound healing process. Hydration also supports healthy bowel movements which can be disturbed through surgery. If you are really struggling with constipation then as well as more fluids, consider adding more fibre rich foods (vegetables, fruit, wholegrains) and a post-natal probiotic supplement or fermented foods like kefir, miso, sauerkraut, kimchi.
- Ensure adequate protein intake. The body cannot rebuild tissue without protein and low protein status has been linked to poor wound Don’t worry about weighing your protein but do ensure that each meal and snack has a portion of healthy protein included (chicken, red meat, eggs, fish, nuts, seeds, legumes). Protein is also needed for collagen formation which is a key structural protein needed for rebuilding tissue. Bone broth is rich in collagen so is a great addition to support the healing process after a C-Section.
- Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to promote wound healing by several mechanisms and may reduce infection during the healing process. Best sources are oily fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel, anchovies, herring) and flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts are also rich in Omega 3.
- Anti-oxidants are needed for ensuring a healthy and balanced inflammatory response. Focus on lots of vegetables, salad and fruit. Making it colourful and diverse. Eat the rainbow!
- Vitamin C levels fall rapidly when we have tissue damage or inflammation, and low levels are associated with delayed healing. Vitamin C has a key role in collagen production for rebuilding tissue too. Good sources are; berries, citrus, red pepper, leafy greens, Kiwi fruits, parsley, papaya.
- Zinc helps maintain the durability of skin, improves skin healing and helps with a balanced inflammatory response to injury. Good food sources: red meat, seafood, chickpeas, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. It is hard to get a therapeutic dose of Zinc through food alone so consider a post-natal multi-nutrient with zinc.
- Iron deficiency can impair wound healing and iron loss may be significant during C-Section delivery. If you think you may be low get your levels checked and supplement if needed. Focus on including a variety of iron rich foods daily - fish, leafy greens, legumes, red meat, pumpkin seeds, beetroot and dried apricots.
And finally do consider a good quality post-natal multivitamin and mineral supplement to provide all the base line nutrients needed during this demanding 4th trimester and for supporting healing.
Food and nutrition is the very foundations of good health and ensuring your body has what it needs during this time will not only help you heal better, it can also provide more energy, improve mood and allow you to feel your best.
If you need further support do come and join our online FREE support group for pregnant and postnatal mums that was created out of a desire to support women during Covid19. What we have realised is how much we can do online and this resource will continue.
We are a team of women’s health specialists offering an integrated approach – nutrition, osteopathy, counselling, women’s health physio, personal trainers and holistic core restore coaches. WoW! Come and join us online here https://www.facebook.com/bristolwomanshealthsupport/
Anita Beardsley is a qualified Nutritional Therapist using a functional medicine approach to support women's health. Anita offers 1:1 nutrition support online or at her Bristol clinic.