Nourishing The Post Partum Body Through Chinese Medicine

Written by Sara Scrivano, L.Ac

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine provide wonderful tools for not only fertility support and pregnancy, but can also be utilized following delivery for postpartum care. During this time it’s common for new parents to shift their focus onto their new child, naturally. Though labor and delivery is a highly active and strenuous process and can be equated to running a marathon. Just like athletes need care before and after an event, as do those who give birth. In fact, in many eastern traditions, new mothers often go through a period known as the fourth trimester. It is during this time that postpartum mothers are nourished and supported while fostering their newborns.

There are many ways in which seeing an acupuncturist for postpartum treatments can be beneficial. During this time various conditions can be addressed such as:

  • Stress and postpartum depression
  • Insufficient lactation
  • Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Night sweating
  • Mastitis
  • Pelvic pain
  • Recovery from cesarean

There are many changes that happen to the body after delivering a child, and it’s very common to postpone this recovery process. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can help to provide appropriate guidance and treatments to jumpstart the postpartum healing journey.

Diet:

Utilizing nutrition and food intake as a medicinal intervention is a primary component of Eastern traditions. Dietary modifications are simple and effective strategies for nourishing a new parent after the transformative process of childbirth. One of the main objectives for making dietary changes is to incorporate more foods that are nourishing for the blood. During childbirth and during breastfeeding it is the blood system that gets depleted the most, which manifests as lack of energy, lethargy, difficulty healing, headache, blurred vision etc. Some foods that are nourishing to the blood include:

  • Beets
  • Bone broth
  • Red meat and protein
  • Egg
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Black sesame
  • Yellow squash
  • Goji berries
  • Mulberries and other red berries

Acupuncture:

Acupuncture is wonderful at bringing the body into a state of balance. Depending on the symptoms an individual presents with, each acupuncture session may look a little different, though the goal of the treatment would be to harmonize and promote a state of balance. First, an intake is performed to provide your practitioner with valuable information regarding medical history, symptoms, and general health and wellness patterns. Following the intake, various points with specific functions and indications are chosen on the body in which an acupuncture needle is placed and where they will remain for the duration of the treatment. Frequently acupuncture generates a sense of relaxation and calm, but also supports the movement of blood and promotes healing.

Herbal Medicine:

Similar to dietary modifications, herbal medicine can be a wonderful addendum to treatment in order to help the body heal from within. Chinese herbal medicine is provided at the direction of your provider, and frequently during postpartum, they are prescribed to support the body’s subtle energy system, known as Qi, and the blood. Chinese herbs are most commonly taken in the preparation known as a ‘formula’ where a variety of different herbs are given in one unit to be either consumed like tea or swallowed in pill form. Just as acupuncture can vary from patient to patient, as do herbal formulas. Herbal medicine can help to amplify acupuncture treatments because they are taken regularly, and will provide therapeutic benefit between acupuncture sessions.

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