Some natural mamas enter into labor and delivery with the intention of having a natural childbirth, but are confronted with an unexpected turn of events, finding themselves in an operating room instead of a birthing tub.

While these procedures can undoubtedly be lifesaving, they come with very real physical and emotional hurdles to healing. There’s no getting around the face that a c-section is major surgery. So how can you best take care of your body during the healing process? Read on to find out:

First: Should I Take Prescription Medications?

What if you are in pain? What if you have high blood pressure? What if you’re dealing with complications? This is a tough one for natural mamas who generally try to avoid pharmaceuticals.

When it comes to prescription medications, every mama has to make that decision for herself.

High blood pressure can lead to stroke or seizures; high pain levels can make it hard to rest and care for yourself and your baby properly. Only you and your doctor can determine what is right for your particular situation.

However, if everything is status quo, there are some natural remedies that might help you minimize prescription drug use, or avoid them altogether:

  • Use arnica gel or tablets (where to find) to relieve muscle pain, swelling, and bruising associated with c-section recovery.
  • Take cinnamon and garlic supplements, coconut water, omega-3 fatty acids, hawthorn berry tea, hibiscus tea, and apple cider vinegar—all can help.
  • Try calendula supplements, which can help avoid vaginal infections, a common side effect of this surgery.
  • Take nettle, echinacea, and yarrow supplements or teas—all of which can all help fight post-surgical infection.
  • Drink at least one cup of bone broth per day to help restore vital nutrients depleted during blood loss.

Tips for C-Section Recovery While in the Hospital

Chances are, you will be stuck in the hospital for three to four days. This is an optimal time to start promoting healing in your body. Here are some basic tips:

  • Eat plenty of fiber: After the first 24 hours (your hospital will most likely keep you on a soft food diet until then), do not be shy about eating plenty of fiber. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes go a long way in combating post-operative constipation and gas pains.
  • Consume a lot of protein, iron, and vitamin C: Protein helps your body tissue heal and repair as well as build muscle, iron is vital for blood loss, and vitamin C can help fight potential infection.
  • Take the right supplements: Take a high-quality probiotic (where to find), zinc (where to find), and magnesium supplements for the same reason.
  • DRINK CONSTANTLY: You could also do fresh lemon juice in water. You need to flush the anesthesia and medications from your body.
  • Keep moving! It might sound counterintuitive, but the more you walk, the better you will feel.

How to Take Care of Your C-section Scar

Here’s how to promote scar healing:

  • Keep it DRY AND CLEAN: Do not scrub it in the shower; simply let soap wash over it. Pat dry and keep a maxi pad over the wound for at least 1-2 weeks to absorb sweat and drainage.
  • Apply the right ointments: On the scar itself, use aloe vera gel (where to find), and a released Vitamin E capsule to minimize swelling and visibility.

Once your scar is closed and healed:

You can start massaging your scar. This doesn’t sound like a pleasant experience, but massaging your C-section scar can help prevent potential problems down the road such as lower back pain, incontinence, or pain during sex. Think of this as “long-term healing” to help restore your fascia and to prevent future problems.

Massaging your scar helps the scar tissue heal and form in the correct direction. Without a massage, scar tissue can form in all sorts of directions or attach to organs, including your ovaries and bladder. Scar tissue massages help keep the scar tissue from causing tightness or pulling sensations.  Once your scar is fully closed (about 6-8 weeks postpartum), you can start to gently massage your scar with your finger tips for about five minutes a day. To massage your scar, you’ll first stretch the skin around the scar, and then you’ll also massage the scar itself. Move your fingers in circular motions, vertical motions, and horizontal movements.

How to Take Care of Yourself Emotionally After C-section

This can be HUGE for cesarean mamas, and may be a “Mama Wound” that takes some time to come to terms with your experience. In fact, cesarean mothers are at an even higher risk for postpartum depression and anxiety. So what can you do to prevent or alleviate these feelings?

First and foremost, GET REST AND GET HELP!

All new mothers need help of some sort, but this is even more emphatic for cesarean mamas, especially if you have other children to care for. Cesarean mamas should not be lifting, cleaning, or cooking for quite some time (easier said than done, right Mamas?!). Reach out to family, friends, or considering hiring a postpartum doula or mother’s helper. Do whatever you can to lighten your load.

Try homeopathic remedies

In addition, homeopathic remedies like Ignatia Amara (where to find) and Rescue Remedy (where to find) can help with stress and emotional upset after surgery.

Find a support group

Online support groups like ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) and post-cesarean grief networks offer invaluable support. As always, seek help from your doctor, counselor, or religious community if feelings of grief, sadness, or anxiety linger or are too hard to manage during your C-section recovery.

Try postpartum yoga routines for C-section mamas

Yoga can be very beneficial to help heal diastasis recti, strengthen and tone your body, and get back in shape after having a baby. Yoga is also very good for your mental and emotional health too! Studies show that yoga helps alleviate feelings of postpartum depression and anxiety in new moms.

Once you’re cleared by your midwife or OBGYN for exercise (usually 6-8 weeks after birth), try a postpartum yoga routine specifically for C-section mamas.

How About You?

What steps did you take to recover naturally from a cesarean section? Share with us in the comments below!