Why you NEED to chew gum after a C-section

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Mother Newborn

Life after a C-section is challenging, there are many things a woman needs to do– from tending to her incision site to learning how to breast-feed– now there’s a suggestion that’s a little simpler: chew gum.

A new meta-analysis suggests that chewing gum 3 times a day for 30 minutes each time can help restore women’s typical gut function after a C-section delivery.

Up to one in 5 women develop a condition called “postoperative ileus” after a C-section, in accordance with the meta-analysis, published online May 14 in The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine.

“Postoperative & ileus” means that the normal movements of an individual’s bowels– which squeeze and relax to move food along– slow down or sometimes even stop totally, stated senior study author Dr. Vincenzo Berghella, an OB-GYN at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia.

This decreasing of gut movements can cause signs consisting of queasiness, abdominal discomfort and bloating, Berghella informed Live Science. Any type of abdominal surgical treatment, not simply a C-section, can trigger the condition, he included. It’s believed to be triggered by the inflammation that results from cutting open the abdomen.

Normally, postoperative ileus disappears on its own in about three or four days after an operation, but individuals can be uneasy while the condition lasts, the meta-analysis said.

Doctors can use various techniques to assist a patient to get her gut moving again, consisting of suggesting that the woman get up and walking around, or eating quickly after the operation, Berghella said. However, due to the fact that women with postoperative ileus can feel upset, they might not want to eat, he noted.

Enter chewing gum.

Chewing gum can deceive the body into believing that the person is eating, Berghella said. It gets saliva flowing in the mouth and can help send out signals to the gut to begin moving again, he said.

In the meta-analysis, the researchers took a look at 17 research studies that included an overall of more than 3,000 females. All of the studies focused on one basic question: How long did it take after the C-section for the female to fart?

Passing gas is among the earliest indications that an individual’s bowels are back to operating normaly, Berghella said. It’s a signal that there are no blockages in the gut and things are moving along, he added.

In the majority of the research studies, the women were given gum within 2 hours of their delivery, and asked to chew it three times a day for 15 to 30 minutes at a time. The scientists discovered that, usually, women who chewed gum farted about 6.5 hours faster than those who were not provided gum:

Gum chewers experienced their first fart about 23 hours after the operation, compared with non-chewers, who didn’t fart up until about 29.5 hours after the operation.

There were no adverse effects from chewing gum, Berghella said.Dr. Gabriele Saccone, an OB-GYN at the University of Naples Federico II in Italy and an author of the study, included that chewing gum after a C-section is a basic and economical method for ladies to help get the gut moving again.

The new meta-analysis contributes to a growing body of proof recommending that giving ladies gum after a C-section is a safe and efficient way to assist bring back gut function after the operation.

A 2016 Cochrane evaluation, for example, concluded that “gum chewing in the first 24 hours after a [C-section] is a well-tolerated, simple, low-cost, safe and easy intervention that enhances early recovery of bowel function, improves maternal comfort and potentially reduces hospital costs.”

The researchers noted that more quality research studies are needed to increase the evidence that supports offering females gum after a C-section.

But Berghella said he hopes that one day he can include “chew gum until you pass your first gas” to his postoperative orders to patients.

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