In Western society women are expected to return to their normal daily existence, very quickly after delivering their baby. After a few days of pampering and attention, women are often back into their usual hectic routine of house work and child care. Asian culture has a long (and wise) history of doing it differently! Traditional Chinese Medicine instructs that a new mother should be physically and emotionally nurtured for a whole month after birth!
Even a straightforward and healthy birth is considered to be a major energetic change for the mother, draining and depleting her vital qi and blood energies. If the birth is long, traumatic or accompanied by excessive blood loss, it is even more of an assault on the mothers wellbeing. A new mother is not just recovering from the actual birth, but also from having been pregnant for nine months!
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) recognizes that it can take 30 to 100 days for a woman’s energy to be nourished and restored back to pre-pregnancy levels. Besides encouraging plenty of rest, warmth and nourishing blood tonifying food (click here), Chinese medicine has much to offer a new mother, in the form of acupuncture and/or herbal medicine. If you are unable to have bed rest, then acupuncture and tonic herbs may prevent months of fatigue, low mood, shallow sleep and immune suppression. Post natal acupuncture improves blood circulation and milk production, and therefore may help your baby thrive.
Other common postnatal health issues that may be improved with acupuncture, include:
- poor milk production
- abdominal cramps
- excessive or prolonged uterine bleeding
- fever or night sweats
- post natal depression and anxiety
Treatment involves the gentle warming of the acupuncture meridians that run through the lower abdomen and Mother Warming is a special post natal treatment, usually given 4 – 5 days after delivery. The lower back. It is a very nourishing and strengthening treatment and can be taught to partners to be carried out daily for 10-20 minutes. It involves using a Moxa stick and warming acupuncture points (from the naval to the pubic bone) on the abdomen and on the lower back for 5 – 10 minutes until they feel pleasantly warm.
Mother warming can aid healing and give relief to any discomfort and help tone the uterus. It can also help the new mother have more energy and feel rejuvenated and is a great way to gently aid recovery from childbirth, and restore energy.
Following the mother warming treatment, acupuncture is recommended approximately 2 weeks after birth, repeated weekly for 3 – 4 weeks.