You’ve made it to the other side – Motherhood. You’ve had a Caesarian section and the Doctor has said about 6 weeks of recovery lie ahead. Which isn’t what you planned on…. Lets look at some ideas Chinese Medicine has, about recovery after C-Section and how it can help you.You may have chosen to have a C-section, or not. We all know the experience of birthing a baby/babies can have all kinds of twists and turns, where things don’t always go to plan and last minute decisions are needed.
But C-Section is NOT a walk in the park. There are 7 layers that are being cut through during this surgery, which is pretty significant:
- Fat (we all have it)
- Rectus Sheath
- The Rectis Abdominis Muscle itself
- Abdominal Peritoneum
- Pelvic Peritoneum
- And finally we get to the Uterine Muscle
So if you’re still with me and haven’t turned a pale green yet, that’s great. Then we get to baby/ies being removed and then the stitching up in reverse of all those layers.
This IS a major deal for women. They’ve managed to conceive, carry a pregnancy to full term before undergoing a surgery that these days seems to be downplayed as just another day in your life.
It’s frankly quite unrealistic for society to expect women to “bounce back” as soon as possible(especially after C-section). We need to change that perception and expectation and acknowledge these women for what they’ve just gone through, just for a little while. So, what happened to rest?
You might be one of those women that can’t stand lying in bed all day and need to feel productive and active or this isn’t your first baby- that’s cool. I’m not saying don’t be productive. I’m saying give your body time to heal.
It’s pretty miraculous, remember, it just conceived and grew another human being!! But if you tune into what it needs for now (rest & recovery) plus a little help from tips I’ll give you below to enhance this healing process and you’ll be up and at ’em even sooner than you think.
There’s a time and place for everything, including rest…and after surgery is one of those times.
Acupuncture & Scars
You may be familiar with one of the big concepts in Acupuncture – that there are meridians or channels with energy flowing through them. Whether you believe this or not is by the by. For a moment, think in terms of micro-circulation; blood vessels, capillaries (tiny arteries), venules (tiny veins), lymphatic flow….ok and lets through energy flow in there too.
Problems of Scars
Principles in Acupuncture discuss the problem of a scar. Meaning, the messy way in which collagen heals after surgery or trauma. Collagen isn’t bad or doing the wrong thing. The body is healing the best way it can, Acupuncture thinks we can improve how it heals.
Its this messy collagen that impedes microcirculation (including blood & energy flow) sometimes creating physical blockages that weren’t there previously. Worst case scenario you can get migrating scar tissue called adhesions that can attach themselves to other structures & organs such as tendons, ligaments, bowel or bladder.
How does Acupuncture help?
Acupuncture can really help re-establish microcirculation, and energy flow around this scar sites. Which in turn can help them heal more fully, internally. So the Doctor may have done a work of art on the outside, nice and neat, barely visible. But the inside, who knows how it is healing. The priority for Western Medicine is to make sure there’s no infection.
If scar tissue is thick, lumpy, or scars are tender, even months or years after a surgery, Acupuncture can be a magnificent help for symptomatic pain relief. But its also helping to soften, improve circulation and lymphatic drainage around the scar. All towards a full recovery.
After the hospital and when you’re at home
I’ve heard clients complain of Abdominal pain, post-op soreness, numbness of their skin or even the feeling of tightness around the scar once they get home. Bending forwards irritates the abdominal muscles and the scar and can leave women feeling exhausted and drained.
They might even feel a bit emotional, stressed, moody or hormonal. This is another great reason to come in for some acupuncture to help calm & relax you, deal with any other symptoms you’re experiencing.
How Traditional Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture can help
- Acupuncture – I recommend for clients who have had a C-Section to come in for several short acupuncture sessions to treat the scar using moxibustion & needles. The scar isn’t needled directly, rather fine needles are placed around the scar site to direct circulation towards the scar site.
- Moxibustion or Moxa – Heat is added, again indirectly without touching the scar to enhance this effect. The course of treatment is short – about 3-5 sessions.
- Chinese Herbal Medicine can be an option for women of babies 3-6months old. The tonic herbs to be prescribed would be similar to a multi-vitamin, very neutral in action and low dose. To be clear, herbs are taken at a much lower dose, because they will come through your breast milk. Mothers of Babies that are immuno-compromised, or premature, or with allergies should consider acupuncture only.
- Chicken Bone Broth – The Chinese & Japanese were Pros at helping women through confinement. This was a time after birth where the mother would rest, feed the baby and sleep….and that’s all! Traditionally, elders would make nourishing food such as Chicken Soup to support the post-natal recovery phase. Check out my preferred recipe here.
The reports I’ve had from clients receiving some follow up after their C-Section is that of gratitude & relief. After they feel some relief, they can get on with enjoying their new baby. All they need is just a bit of TLC for that area, after such a major surgery.
If you’re interested in getting some follow up after your C-Section & you’re on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also get a loved one to send you one of my New Mum Gift Vouchers, the perfect gift to speed your recovery after birth.