Tanya Smith Acupuncturist Chinese Medicine Practitioner

Postpartum Care

file611302923604There are many demands placed on you and your body throughout your pregnancy and labour, and it generally takes at least 6 weeks to recover fully after the birth of your baby.

This is a special time for parents as they develop close, lifelong bonds with their child. It is a time to move slowly, rest frequently and be taken care of exceptionally well!

So often in western society, mothers are ‘back at it’ very soon after their baby is born, heading outside, socializing and moving around very early. During childbirth (both natural and cesarean) women lose a lot of blood and Qi (vital energy), which depletes them. The first few months after birth are crucial in replenishing your blood and Qi.

Things as simple as:

  • rest (a lot of it)
  • eating nourishing and warming foods (think of foods that help recovery from an illness: chicken soup, easy-to-digest soups and stews, blood-building foods like high quality meats, beets, leafy greens and berries)
  • keeping warm, particularly the feet. By avoiding excessive cold, both in food and environment, you are able to recover faster and more effectively which can contribute to vital things such as adequate milk supply.

In the months following childbirth, your body is more open to change than ever, so if you are able to take exquisite care of yourself, you may be able to strengthen your health so significantly that previous illnesses (allergies, eczema, etc) can actually heal and disappear. My favorite book on this is “The First Forty Days”. I consider it a “must read” during pregnancy!

There are very real benefits in using Chinese medicine during a pregnancy and during the postnatal period to prevent illness from developing. It is too common in clinical practice to see women presenting with a range of problems that originated or worsened following the birth of their child because they didn’t take the time to recover fully.

There may be symptoms that persist or develop after the initial recovery period. Acupuncture can help replenish and restore the balance in a women’s body and is effective in treating the following postpartum conditions:

  • Blocked ducts/mastitis
  • Breast milk not flowing/insufficient supply
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Incontinence
  • Postpartum depression