Diet Plan For Mothers After C-section Delivery – Foods to Eat and Avoid

A lot of C-section or cesarean deliveries happen as a result of a complication. The process of delivery by C-section or cesarean can be difficult and painful as it can exhaust the mother both mentally and physically. To recover from the surgery, the mother will need ample rest and a controlled healthy diet. The mother needs to be closely monitored during the first few weeks after the C section, and she should be assisted to recover mentally and physically from the stress of post-delivery.

Why Post Delivery Diet Is Important?

The diet of the mother after delivery becomes very crucial not only because it aids in her speedy recovery, but also because she needs to breastfeed the newborn baby. Breast milk is the only best source of nutrition for the baby during the first few months, so it is necessary to ensure that the mother gets a healthy diet. Good nutrition along with proper rest will also speed up the healing of the abdominal wall and the uterus which are slit during the C-section. Healthy and good nutrition will also help the mother shed the weight gained during pregnancy.

Diet to Follow After C-section or Caesarean Section

In addition to providing good and healthy nutrition to the baby and assisting in healing the mother’s body, a good diet is also necessary for proper digestion and easy bowel movements that don’t strain the abdomen. The diet to be followed after cesarean delivery should be rich in critical nutrients such as proteins, minerals, calcium, fibre, and iron.
Constipation is one of the common problems most women face after delivery. The reasons for these are the high levels of iron in prenatal supplements, drugs used during surgery, dehydration, and weak pelvic muscles post-delivery. However, another reason why new moms face the problem of constipation is psychological – the fear that their stitches might get affected or that they might hurt.
To ensure that constipation isn’t because of physiological changes post-delivery here’s something that you can do –

  1. Drink warm liquids.
  2. Eat fiber-rich foods
  3. Avoid caffeine.

Best Diet After C-section

Drawing a diet plan with what to eat after c-section delivery and what to avoid should be planned very carefully. The diet should be a mix of foods that will supply essential nutrients in sufficient quantities to the new mother. Listed below are items that should be included in a mother’s diet after a C-section for getting better soon:

1. Protein, Minerals and Calcium-rich Food
Proteins help in the growth of new tissue cells which speed up the healing process. Foods rich in protein help the repair of tissues and maintain muscle power post-surgery. Calcium strengthens bones and teeth, relaxes the muscles, aids blood coagulation, and prevents osteoporosis. During breastfeeding, 250 to 350 mg of calcium is passed on to the newborn baby.

  • Low-fat dairy products such as skimmed milk, low-fat cheese, yogurt, beans, and dried peas are good reservoirs of proteins and vitamins.
  • Pulses are rich in protein content.
  • Sesame seeds are rich in iron, calcium, copper, phosphorous, and magnesium.

2. Whole Grain Foods
Whole-grain foods like pasta, brown bread, and brown rice should form a part of your diet as they are rich sources of carbohydrates that help maintain energy levels and breast milk production. Enriched whole-grain foods have iron, fibre, and folic acid which are essential in the early stages of development of your baby. Mothers who experienced sleepless nights and irritation in the morning should start their day with a whole-grain cereal breakfast.
3. Vitamin-rich foods
Vitamins are rich in antioxidants which help in repairing tissues. Vitamins assist the production of collagen in the body which is useful in building new scar tissues, ligaments, and skin.

  • Vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and fenugreek leaves are rich in vitamins A and C, dietary calcium, and iron.
  • Vegetables and fruits like oranges, papayas, strawberries, grapefruits, watermelons, and sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin C, which helps in combating infections and strengthening immunity.

4. Fiber-rich foods
Constipation can delay the healing process by putting pressure on wounds and incisions, and fibre is an important nutrient that averts constipation by ensuring hassle-free bowel movements.

  • Raw fruits and vegetables add roughage to the diet and allow relief from constipation.
  • Oats and ragi are a great source of fiber content and are also rich sources of carbohydrates, calcium, proteins, and iron.
  • Lentils, green grams, and pulses are also included in the diet for their protein and fiber content.

5. Easy-to-digest Foods
Mothers should be AVOID to eat food items that cause gas and constipation. During the period after the C-section, should avoid consumption of junk food and carbonated drinks and eat food items such as soup, cottage cheese, broth, yoghurt, and other items which are easily digested by the body.

6. Iron-rich Foods
Iron maintains the levels of haemoglobin in the body and helps regain blood lost during the delivery process. It also aids in the functioning of the immune system. Food items such as egg yolk, oysters, red meat, beef liver, and dry fruits are rich in iron. The suggested iron intake for women beyond 19 years is 9 mg per day. An excessive quantity of iron consumption can result in constipation and should be avoided.

7. Fluids
Drinking lots of fluids will help you keep dehydration and constipation at bay. Good fluid intake helps smoothen bowel movements and also aids in post-surgery recovery. Fluids such as coconut water, low-fat milk, juices, non-citrus herbal teas, buttermilk, and soup are good sources of essential nutrients. You should also consume 8 to 10 glasses of water every day.
Fluids like calcium-fortified drinks, low-fat yoghurt, and milk improve your breast milk supply, which is a crucial component of the baby’s daily diet. Caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea, and energy drinks should be avoided to consume as they can enter the breast milk and affect the baby’s sleep.

8. Dairy Products
Low-fat dairy products such as low-fat yoghurt, skimmed milk, and cheese provide a good quantity of protein, calcium, and vitamins B and D. These minerals are important for nursing mothers, and at least 500ml of dairy products should be consumed daily.

9. Vegetables and Fruits
While all fruits and vegetables are beneficial for mothers, green veggies are especially good because they are loaded with vitamins, iron, and calcium. Besides spinach, beans, and broccoli, it is good to include lotus stems and fenugreek in a meal plan. Mushrooms and carrots are great sources of protein for vegetarians. Breastfeeding women can benefit from the antioxidant properties of blueberries and the goodness of vitamin C-rich citrus fruits.

10. Essential fatty acid
An intake of additional fat is recommended by healthcare experts to meet essential fatty acid needs particularly DHA and long-chain fatty acids in the maternal diet is essential for brain development.

11. Other Foods
Apart from the above foods, including spices and condiments that are integral to Indian cooking will help a new mother cope with the physical demands childbirth puts on her. Cumin, turmeric, fenugreek, ginger and garlic, and carom seeds (ajwain) are some spices that have good medicinal properties. While some like ajwain are anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, others like turmeric help reduce inflammation.

Indian Foods After Caesarean Delivery

Indian foods are rich in nutrients such as proteins, iron calcium, and vitamins, and a good diet plan that contains Indian foods can fulfil the nutritional requirement of the recovering mother. Food items such as fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, ridge gourd, spinach, masoor dal, oats, and daliya help increase milk production in the mother.
Indian spices, when added to the mother’s diet, help in speedy recovery after cesarean delivery.

  • Hing/Asafoetida: The addition of hing to the post-pregnancy diet will help in better digestion and ease out the gas/flatulence problem which every mother faces post-delivery.
  • Jeera: It aids digestion and also helps in the production of milk.
  • Ajwain/Carom seeds: Consumption of ajwain helps in digestion and is tender towards the digestive system. Aromatic oils from ajwain are released in breast milk which helps in regulating the baby’s motions and digestion.

Foods to Avoid After C-Section or Caesarean Delivery?

Post-C-section or cesarean, usual activities are restricted as you are advised to rest. Since you will not be able to do physical activity, it is vital to control what you eat and avoid consuming anything that will take a long time to digest and increase fatigue. Also, to heal from the stress of delivery needs nutritious and light food that supplements it with necessary minerals and helps avoid any adverse impact. Here are some food items that should be avoided after delivery.

  • Avoid too much spicy food as it can cause gastric trouble and the baby also get the flavor in the milk.
  • Carbonated drinks and citrus juices avoid to consumed as they can cause gas.
  • Caffeinated drinks such as coffee and tea should be restricted as caffeine can cause problems in the baby’s growth.
  • Alcohol should be avoided as alcohol can interfere with the mother’s ability to breastfeed and impair the baby’s growth and development.
  • Stay away from foods that produce gas such as urad dal, chole, chawali, rajma, chana, besan, pickles, green peas, dry peas, and vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, bhindi, broccoli, and onions should be avoided for at least 40 days from the day of delivery.
  • Cold and uncooked food should be excluded from your menu.
  • Fermented, fried, and fast food should be avoided.
  • Avoid ghee and rice for the first 3-4 days after a cesarean.

Tips to Get the Best Out of Your After C-Section Delivery Diet

Following are some basic tips to be kept in mind in regards to your diet:

  • Instead of consuming three-time heavy meals during the day, spread out your meal throughout the day and try five to six small meals.
  • Maintain at least a gap of two hours between meals.
  • Have a relaxed meal. Take time to chew the food before swallowing instead of gulping it down at once. Ask your family members to look after your baby in the meantime so that you can eat peacefully.
  • Sleep whenever possible. A good sleep might be not easy with a newborn baby around, but make sure to catch a nap frequently as sleep will help the body repair and heal better and faster.
  • Avoid eating food that is not cooked at home. Consume only home-cooked food and include a lot of fresh ingredients.

The time after a C-section delivery can be challenging. It is important to keep control of the diet to speed up recovery.

Summery

Essential Nutrients After C-Section

  • Proteins
  • Calcium
  • Vitamins
  • Iron
  • Essential fatty acid
  • Fiber
  • Fluids

Foods To Eat After C-Section

  • Whole grains, especially oatmeal
  • Dark, leafy greens (alfalfa, kale, spinach, broccoli)
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Chickpeas
  • Nuts and seeds, especially almonds
  • Ginger
  • Papaya

Foods To Avoid:

  • Avoid consumption of acidic food
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks like tea/coffee very frequently
  • Avoid alcohol consumption
  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid junk food and fried food
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