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One of the most common enquiries we’ve ever gotten is about mothers who have gone through C-Section or Cesarean delivery – whether they can eat this or that. More often than not, the ideal confinement food principles that apply to mothers who have gone through natural birth are the same ones that are recommended to C-Section mothers, i.e. a healthy and balanced meal with adequate fruits, vegetables and whole grains while still applying Traditional Chinese Medicine principles and herbs.
Regardless, we are here to look at all the main dietary concerns for both delivery methods and compare their differences (or similarities) side by side. Let’s dive right in!
|Vaginal Birth||C-Section Birth|
|Protein & Iron||✓ Sufficient protein for muscle reparation||✓ Sufficient protein for muscle reparation✓ More iron-rich foods to promote wound healing and replenish the lost blood|
|Chicken & Eggs||Generally consumed by postpartum mothers.||Traditionally, some mothers prefer to avoid these during the first 2 weeks of confinement.|
|Alcohol in Cooking||According to TCM, it provides warm elements hence suitable for mothers in confinement.||According to TCM, it provides warm elements hence suitable for mothers in confinement.|
1. Protein & Iron
No matter what your delivery method is, pregnancy itself can tire out and overuse your muscles and joints. Hence, postpartum mothers are generally advised to load your meals up with sufficient sources of protein such as pork, meat, fish, chicken, egg, tofu, beans and legumes. They give your body the building blocks to repair muscles and wounds, thus promoting a faster and smoother wound recovery altogether.
As for C-Section, there is likely a higher risk of blood loss and more wounds. To hasten the recovery progress, you should have more iron-rich foods to promote wound healing and replenish the blood that was lost. Some iron-rich foods we would recommend are pork, pork innards, and of course, leafy greens.
On top of that, you should also have more foods that are rich in vitamin C as they work to increase your absorption of iron to help replenish blood loss after delivery. For this, we’ve got you covered as well! Our meals contain various common Vitamin C ingredients such as broccoli, tomato, potato, spinach. Altogether, these can help to promote collagen formation for wound healing.
2. Chicken & Eggs
One particular request we receive a lot from mothers is to exclude chicken and eggs in their meals for the first two weeks, usually more so from C-Section mothers. Understandably, mothers have been following this rule since the olden days so it is natural for such practice to continue to be adhered to until now. But what does science say? What can not having either chicken or eggs – or both – cost you?
First off, chicken is an essential source of protein. Protein repairs your cells and body tissues, thus escalating your wound healing which is crucial for post-C-Section mothers. As your body recovers and you are focused on breastfeeding, protein can help maintain muscle mass. It also produces antibodies to support the immune system – something you would definitely want to pay attention to especially in the current time now that we are facing a pandemic.
Eggs, on the other hand, are a great source of Choline which is critical for your baby’s brain health and development, much like folate.
Besides choline, eggs are an excellent source of Vitamin D. A recent local study in Singapore found 40% of pregnant women to be vitamin D deficient despite living in a tropical country where we are under the sun all year round — so what’s more during confinement where mothers are culturally encouraged to stay mostly indoors for a month or so. Plus, due to the pandemic, we are now encouraged to stay home even more, which certainly does not help as well.
So, your best choice is to obtain vitamin D through foods to ensure you have sufficient vitamin D intake for bone and teeth health, as well as a way of supporting a good immune system. More and more studies are discovering the link between Vitamin D deficiency and the risk of Postpartum Depression as well, so be sure to get enough of it to keep Baby Blues at bay.
If you are breastfeeding, drinking alcohol is generally not recommended as it can be difficult to gauge where you should stop. Besides that, alcohol consumption leaks up to 2% from your blood system into the breastmilk. The alcohol concentration in maternal blood peaks at about 2 hours after consumption. So if you do drink, make sure to wait for about 3 hours before you breastfeed to make sure the alcohol leak into breast milk is minimal to negligible.
That said, TCM principles encourage the use of certain alcohol to incorporate heaty properties into a meal such as using DOM in cooking – which is what we also use in some of our confinement food recipe, e.g. the Stir-Fried Pork and Liver with DOM.
We also have Coq Au Vin which includes red wine and is cooked for 2-3 hours. Our use of alcohol in cooking is much less than 1 standard drink per serving. Furthermore, the longer you cook, the lesser the alcohol content it is in your food. Therefore, our dishes are generally considered safe for breastfeeding mothers as we cook alcohol ingredients for more than 45 minutes, further reducing the alcohol content.
As a confinement food delivery service, our goal at Tian Wei Signature is to provide the most ideal daily confinement meals that can promote your birth recovery, boost lactation, and most importantly, are not boring or repetitive. With over 90 variations of meat and vegetable dishes, you’ll have an array of exciting options to look forward to every day! Make sure to check out our confinement food menu to see what you’ll be served with throughout your confinement!