Thriving In the Postpartum Phase
The first few months following the birth of your beautiful baby hold many new experiences and changes. You spend the whole length of your pregnancy taking great care of your body to prepare yourself for labor and delivery then once the baby comes, it seems as though there is little to no time to think about self care and your own well being. While taking care of your new baby is, of course, the first priority, it is also important to consider how these first few months will affect the next several years and any future pregnancies.
Chinese Practice of “Sitting-In”
In Chinese culture many women practice “sitting” for the first month of pregnancy, this is known as zuo yue zi. The family provides support, including cooking, cleaning, and assisting with daily chores and activities. The mother rests. Doesn’t that sound refreshing? She avoids strenuous exercise and activities and eats a diet rich in protein. Not only does this support her qi and blood and restores her body, she experiences the added benefit of close bonding with her baby. Many women who try this or a modified version of it, find that it reduces postpartum symptoms and allows them to be more energetic throughout the years which follow. This model also supports the postpartum phase of their next pregnancy, leaving their bodies strong and healthy.
Making time for yourself during this phase will revitalize you: mind, body, and spirit. You will find yourself help more present and attentive to your baby. Regular acupuncture and postnatal massage visits are a great way to support this initial recovery. Following are just some of the benefits: reduced stress, balanced hormones, better milk production, decreased postpartum anxiety and depression, better sleep, decreased muscle spasms, pain and tension, fewer night sweats, and more thorough healing of scar tissue.
Acupuncture also uses a technique called mother warming that is often used when a cesarean birth has been necessary. Using the technique moxibustion, or art of heat therapy, helps to heal scars and prevent infection. Moxibustion is also used during this time to build blood if there was blood loss or tearing during delivery. Chinese medicine and acupuncture will also use Chinese herbs and postpartum tonics to build the qi and blood during this time especially after a difficult and long delivery.
If you are awaiting the birth of your baby, now is a great time to set up a treatment plan with your practitioner to make sure you have the best support system in place to thrive in the postpartum phase.