After giving birth or what I like to refer to as a ‘birthing marathon’, many women feel exhausted from the physical demands and the emotional highs and lows your body and mind go through as you take on a new stage in mothering.
The postpartum period covers the first 6 weeks following your delivery. During this time the body is going through daily changes with the loss of hormones, the influx of breast milk and adjusting to sleepless nights and patterns of feeding, which can truly leave you feeling like you are in an ongoing hazy dream.
Acupuncture during this period can restore your energy, lessen postpartum depression, support tissue healing, increase your quality of sleep and is an excellent way to support yourself during this transition into motherhood.
In China, it is still sometimes customary for a new mother to rest indoors and be taken care of by family members for 30 days.
How can acupuncture help new mothers during postpartum?
Aids in postpartum healing
Whether a natural birth or c-section your body will need time to heal, repair from the physical realities of birthing. This may include healing from tears or stitches, perineum healing, and c-section healing.
In Chinese medicine, qi can be described as responsible for the functional activities of the body. This means movement, change, and process. Acupuncture works by influencing and affecting Qi in the body to regulate and balance our systems being the vital energy that circulates through the body at all times.
When I gave birth, I was focused on pelvic floor healing. Your pelvic floor or ‘root’ of your body is an important muscle that had the job of lifting, carrying and supporting the weight of you and your baby. During delivery, pelvic floors are put to the test to birth our precious babies. Our pelvic floors need love and attention in the healing phase post-delivery. Taking care of your pelvic floor can ensure that your recovery time for your reproductive organs, support your bladder (all mothers can agree bladders are in a precarious state post-birth!) and helping to lift and support the musculature of your pelvic floor.
There is a concept in Chinese medicine of raising qi in the body. Think about this as a lifting effect, whereby the body is strengthened and supported through this application of raising qi or raising the pelvic floor qi!
Your breasts will become engorged with milk in the days after birth, providing beneficial colostrum, nutrients, and antibodies for your baby. Nourishing the organs and systems that support and produce blood and breast milk after the heavy blood loss that ensues with birthing is important in ensuring a healthy milk supply.
Reduce postpartum depression
The loss of hormones after giving birth can lead many women to feel a wide array of emotions… you may feel happy, sad, confused, elated, wired to name a few. Acupuncture helps to calm the nervous system and allows for a sense of calm in the mind and body.
Acupuncture can affect mood by increasing energy levels, balancing hormones and promoting a sense of well being. Relieving stress and supporting your nervous system with acupuncture is an effective drug-free solution to treating postpartum depression.
When is a good time to resume acupuncture after delivery?
I often get asked by women during the weeks leading up to delivery, when they should resume acupuncture after giving birth. It is great to consider introducing acupuncture into your care regime after a couple weeks, or by the end of the first month postpartum to support your body and help with healing.
Creating the space and time for you to heal post-delivery is a great way to give back to our body and well being after the powerful and life-changing experience of becoming a mother.