Acupuncture and TCM can help you as much after having your baby as it can prior and during your pregnancy journey. A new mother goes through a lot of changes in 9 months and after birth will go through another rapid change as the body adjusts to postpartum. If this phase does not go well then many issues can arise for both mother and baby that can last years.
Within certain cultures, including Chinese, birth is not the end of the pregnancy. In fact they have a “Golden Month”where the mother takes a month of rest so she can heal from pregnancy and enjoy starting a new bond with her baby.
It is important to understand what the new mother’s body is going through during this postpartum time. From a clinical perspective the body is changing as the uterus, cervix, vagina and perineum heal and rearrange themselves post birthing. This can take up to 6 weeks with a typical vaginal delivery, but can be longer if there are complications or surgery involved.
The mother’s hormones are also in flux as oestrogen and progesterone drop to pre-pregnant levels within a week of giving birth. Serotonin, dopamine, and cortisol are all surging through the body making mood swings a common occurrence after birth.
Cortisol and prolactin help produce breast milk, but if the mother is too stressed than negative effects such as blood clots, memory loss, weight gain, low immunity and post natal depression can occur.
This is why the postpartum period is so crucial to a new mother, her new baby and her new family’s health. Now is the best time for Chinese medicine to step in to make the physical and mental transition easier.
Regular acupuncture and TCM are a great option 4 weeks after giving birth. Giving birth depletes your qi. New mothers need qi to build blood and produce milk. Yang qi, which is often the most depleted after birth, is what keeps mothers feeling warm and protected from illness, joint and digestive issues.
Acupuncture and TCM will help the body create more qi, restoring energy and allowing the body to heal more effectively, preventing illness or injury from occurring and addressing any that arise.
Massage therapy is also used for postpartum women all over the world. This is because it is good for circulation and building warmth. It also helps the mother to feel supported and relaxed. All this combines to build strength and energy.
The best prescription for postpartum women is rest – but often this is the last thing a new mother gives herself. Postpartum is as much part of the pregnancy as the previous 9 months and where a lot of chronic health problems can start. Acupuncture, TCM and massage are all options to help new mothers adjust to the changes going on both within and around them.