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Post C-Section Advice for a Healthy and Speedy Recovery

December 15, 2009

As upset as I was to hear I had to have a c-section after 17 hours of sitting in the hospital in labor, 3 weeks later I've luckily recovered quickly and easily.

A few clients and friends have asked what my "secret" is to my speedy recovery and weight loss. All I can do is share advice on what I did/do and hopefully it helps others in their journey.

Healthy Eating=Healthy Mind and Healthy Body

Throughout my pregnancy and especially post-pregnancy, I really stressed getting organic, healthy, REAL food into my body. I stay away from anything processed, steer clear of sugar and anything unnatural. If I am craving something sweet I reach for fruit, dark chocolate or vegan ice cream. As soon as I had the baby (the DAY after) I had my mom bring me fresh green vegetable juice to obtain the energy from the chlorophyll and the rejuvenating properties of the nutrients in the veggies. I ate omega-3 rich salmon and brown rice for the protein and fiber.  By getting back into this routine of eating healthy, beautiful, nutrient-dense foods, it allowed me to quickly gain energy and strength.

I made sure to get in a lot of warming foods postpartum, like ginger, coconut water and cooked foods like quinoa and sauteed veggies.  In Chinese medicine it is thought that pregnancy is a time you are very warm internally and need to balance it with cooling foods (like raw fruits and veggies), and postpartum is a time your body is very cold and needs to be warmed. Staying hydrated is VERY important for recovery, especially when breastfeeding. Drinking room temperature water rather than cold water can help keep the balance of warm vs cold in your body as well.

Yoga and Exercise for a Speedy Recovery

[caption id="attachment_1438" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="walking 9 months pregnant"][/caption]

During my pregnancy I worked out 4-5 times per week. In the beginning I did all the same workouts: running, jogging, swimming, stair stepper, cross training, cross-fit, power yoga, jump roping, weight lifting and spinning (check out my post on exercise and pregnancy for more details). After my belly got larger, I didn't feel comfortable doing high-intensity workouts or anything that required jumping. I continued doing yoga and light cardio (swimming, walking and stairs) as often as I could. 3 days before having Kai, I was at a power yoga class. There were weeks I didn't feel like doing anything, but I made sure to walk uphill and do a modified yoga practice. After wards without fail, I felt better. This was key. In the immediate, I had more energy. In the long term, I'm convinced it's what is ensuring my speedy recovery.

In the days following my surgery I would walk around the hospital hallways doing laps. I would hold onto my husband or a family member while hobbling up and down the halls. It made a huge difference and with each lap I felt stronger than the last. When I got home I'd deliberately make several trips up and down the stairs, slowly and carefully, to get a glass of water or whatever I needed. This helped train my body and let it know it was time to get moving. Of course, I listened to my body and what it needed. I didn't push anything. But I was ready to start recovering very quickly: both mentally and physically.

Mind over matter

In the first few days, you almost have to force yourself to create healthy habits. Begin walking as soon as you possibly can. Find the healthiest things on your hospital menu to order, and if there isn't anything, have someone bring you food. Make sure you get adequate water immediately, more than you think you need. Try and ween yourself off the pain killers as soon as you can. This is doing nothing for your recovery because you can't even feel what's happening in your body. Take Motrin instead: it's an anti-inflammatory that helps reduce the swelling from your surgery and also reduce pain in your body. Keep your body "warm" with warming foods from Traditional Chinese Medicine. Here's a complete list. Finally, be sure to exercise throughout your entire pregnancy, no matter how much you don't want to. It will help with weight loss on the other side. I highly recommend yoga, in case I haven't mentioned that before. (ha!)  :)


See Part Two of this Journey-3 months post-pregnancy!

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