Why should you chew gum after a C-section delivery?
An international meta-analysis of 17 studies recently published in the Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, found that women who chew gum immediately after C-section surgery had a faster rate of recovery of gastrointestinal function than women who did not chew gum.
The researchers reported that gum chewing starting right after caesarean delivery three times a day for about 30 minutes each time, until the first flatus (passing wind), is associated with early recovery of bowel motility. In addition to this, the women who chewed gum reported appetites returning quicker and less nausea by comparison to the non-gum chewing women.
The researchers concluded, ‘As this is a simple, generally inexpensive intervention, providers should consider implementing post-operative care with chewing gum.’
Queensland obstetrician Dr Gino Pecoraro supports the findings of the study. He said a “simple, low-cost treatment, like the prescription of two Juicy Fruit every six hours”, made sense if it encouraged women back to normal activities as quickly as possible. He added “The savings to the health system of a shortened stay in hospital while waiting for bowels to work could be quite significant. These savings could open up funding for other areas currently not adequately funded, like post-natal mental health services.”
As Australia has one of the highest C-section rates in the world at 32 per cent, this research has the potential to help a large number of women. The wider implications of these findings have even greater potential as Dr Pecoraro observed, “There’s no reason why this can’t be extended to other types of abdominal surgery, like hysterectomy, appendectomy, gall bladder removal or even hernia repairs.”
Dr Rakesh Bhula of Griffith Street Family Dental added, “I was pleasantly surprised to learn of this new unexpected benefit of chewing gum for women who have recently undergone caesarean sections. As dentists we are already very familiar with the oral benefits of chewing gum, such as preventing tooth decay, freshening breath and helping to relieve dry mouth. I have read reports of chewing gum also helping to improve memory and concentration, so it seems that there may be more benefits to chewing gum than previously realised. The only advice I would add in regard to this would be to chew sugar free gum. This will help minimise the risk of tooth decay. Sugar free gum comes in a wide variety of long lasting flavours. Even Juicy Fruit chewing gum comes in a sugar free version these days.”
Here at Griffith Street Family Dental, Dr Rakesh Bhula along with Dr Selvan Dass and oral health therapist Cheryll Dunn welcome all expecting mothers-to-be and their families to contact us for any of their dental needs. If necessary, we are able to perform emergency dental work as required on pregnant women in a safe manner. Call the friendly team at Griffith Street Family Dental today on (07) 5599 4643 to book your appointment.