According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, eating solid foods after a Cesarean section is safe and may reduce the amount of time you spend in the hospital. Although drinking fluids is more important in the early hours following a C-section, eating solid foods can help relieve constipation and reduce the amount of narcotics needed after the surgery. Consult your obstetrician to discuss appropriate foods to eat following a C-section.
A variety of medications are administered following a C-section to relive pain after the invasive surgery. Although solid foods are considered safe several hours after a C-section, you may need to delay solids if you have problems with pain medication. If you experience nausea, upset stomach or vomiting when taking pain medication, consider drinking fluids, sipping soup or eating bland foods. These foods may help reduce nausea while you recover. Talk to your doctor about other pain medication options if you are unable to keep down any fluids.
Pushing fluids is more important than eating solid food after a C-section. Drinking plenty of fluid after your C-section can help relieve constipation and other bowel problems. Fluids also keep you hydrated and help you establish a healthy milk supply for your newborn. Drink at least eight 8 oz. cups of water each day. Limit your caffeine intake, which may cause excessive urination, irritability and loss of body fluid. Keep a glass or bottle of water nearby when your baby nurses and drink when your baby eats.
Research performed by St. Joseph Hospital Obstetric and Gynecology Residency Program indicates that women offered solid food within eight hours of surgery required less pain medication, experienced a quicker return to bowel function and had short hospital stays. Eating a balanced diet of whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and protein, improves energy levels and provides dietary fiber. A fiber-rich diet helps with constipation and other bowel problems by providing bulk in the intestines. Regular bowel movements can ease digestive issues and cramping.
Although research indicates that solid food is safe to consume following a C-section, talk to your doctor before consuming solid foods for the first time. You may experience nausea or other digestive issues after a C-section that makes consuming solid foods difficult and uncomfortable. If eating solids causes cramping or other stomach problems, consider drinking fluids or eating bland foods until your stomach has settled.