Nutrition for healing
A natural birth can result in some tearing of tissue, and of course if a caesarian section is required there will be a wound to heal across the tummy. In order for the body to heal itself it requires the right nutrition otherwise healing will be slow, and sap energy. Certain foods help the body heal and can speed up recovery time:
There is an increased demand for protein which is one of the most important nutrients in the healing process. Protein is needed for building new cells. Even short periods of low protein intake can result in significantly delayed wound healing. As zinc is required for protein synthesis there is an increased demand for this mineral as well.
While the body is healing itself it will be busy making new cells, and fats have a key role in cell membrane structure and function. The human body can manufacture most of the fats it needs, but two of the omega 3 & omega 6 family, have to be obtained from dietary sources. See essential fatty acid info sheet. Hydrogenated, refined or processed fats interfere with cell membrane function so should be avoided at all costs.
As part of the healing process the body enters a hyper metabolic phase and has an increased demand for carbohydrates. Glucose provides energy for the inflammation response to occur and it is important the demand is met otherwise valuable protein and fat will be used instead, diverting them away from being used in the healing process.
Vitamin C and Vitamin A
Vitamin C plays an important role in collagen synthesis and requirements of vitamin C increase during wound healing.
Both these powerful antioxidants are essential in fighting off infection .
Whilst between 2 to 3 litres of water per day are recommended in healthy circumstances this should increase to 3 or 4 litres in a wound healing situation. Alongside good hydration & nutrition, an adequate amount of sleep will help the body to recover. When the body is asleep, and only expending energy on autonomous functions such as the heartbeat, repair &recovery is more efficient.