Written by contributor Megan Tietz of SortaCrunchy
An emergency Cesarean birth was certainly not my plan for my first child. I spent a lot of time thinking about what I could have done differently before she was born, and I had high hopes that my second birth would take a different path. Unfortunately, some specific life circumstances kept me from being able to pursue my dream of a VBAC birth with my second daughter.
Healing from a Cesarean birth is not a topic that receives much coverage in the online world devoted to natural living. When I was recovering from the births of my daughters, I wasn’t even aware that there are natural approaches to healing that could have made my recovery time a little easier. Recently, a friend of mine gave birth via C-section and the midwives who had provided her prenatal care shared some natural healing tips that I wish I had known about when my girls were born.
Please remember that I am not a medical professional nor should this article be consider medical advice. Homeopathic and natural approaches to healing should be used with the same care that one would give to pharmaceutical approaches to healing.
Natural Options for Post Cesarean Birth Healing:
- Staphysagria: This homeopathic remedy is known to promote healing of surgical wounds. Staphysagria is also sometimes recommended for emotional health, particularly in recovery from a trauma. If you are struggling with a sense of grief or loss because of a Cesarean birth, Staphysagria may be helpful not only for physical healing but also for emotional recovery.
- Hypericum perforatum, also known as St. John’s Wort: Most people are familiar with St. John’s Wort as a natural treatment for depression, but this herbal remedy is also recommended for aid in healing nerve damage. Lingering nerve damage in the c-section incision area is one of the most annoying long-term effects for many women who have given birth via Cesarean section, and this may help alleviate those issues for some.
- Arnica Montana: You might know this homeopathic remedy as leopard’s bane, wolf’s bane, or mountain tobacco. It can be extremely effective in treating bruising and muscle soreness, both of which are common following a Cesarean birth.
- Rutin: This bioflavonoid not only helps with bruising, it is also known to promote tissue repair. With a Cesarean birth, there is obviously internal and external tissue damage, so any supplement that stimulates the body to heal the damage is helpful.
- Therapeutic grade lavender oil: Incision care is a pivotal aspect of healing from a c-section. Rubbing therapeutic grade lavender oil with a carrier oil such as jojoba will help to alleviate the itching and pain that may occur as the incision heals. Frankincense essential oil is also recommend for scar care.
For many women, the medical model of care provides the basic directions for healing from a Cesarean birth, and those instructions are important (limitations on lifting, driving, etc.). However, beyond pain management, there is often little advice for how to encourage the body’s healing process. I’m thankful for the care I received following the birth of each of my daughters, but I also wish I had known about how these natural approaches could have supported my body as it healed.
And for some women, particularly those who had planned for a natural birth, the emotional healing is far more lengthy than the physical healing. It’s important to find ways to support your mental health during this time as well. Processing your feelings about your Cesarean birth with your spouse or trusted friends, a natural health care provider, or a mental health professional is just as important as caring for your incision in the weeks and months that follow.
A surgical birth may not be considered the ideal in natural living circles, but we can work toward a collective mindset that honors each birth for the miracle that it is and offer support for mothers who would appreciate physical and emotional support no matter the circumstances of the birth experience.
Were any of your children Cesarean births? What advice were you given to promote healing? What would you add to the list of remedies to promote post-surgical healing?