Acupuncture for Postpartum Care: Discover the Benefits
As a new mother (and new family), that has been through the incredible energy expenditure that is conception, pregnancy, then birth, it is important to incorporate adequate support and care in the postpartum period in order to heal and rejuvenate.
One of the best ways to do this is to take advantage of acupuncture for postpartum care. Acupuncture is a safe, natural and holistic approach to healing that has been used for centuries to treat all stages of family health, including pregnancy, birth prep and postpartum care. A practitioner of holistic medicine will use acupuncture and herbs, as well as the herb mugwort topically (also known as moxa, or moxibustion) to restore balance and energy flow to the new mother. This can help to promote healing and reduce postpartum symptoms, such as fatigue, depression, anxiety, as well as other typical issues such as retained placenta, baby blues, bleeding and pain.
Acupuncture has also been shown to improve sleep, boost energy, and reduce stress. One super power of acupuncture is its ability to regulate hormones (including the powerhouse pregnancy hormone oxytocin), which can help to improve mother and baby bonding, milk production (prolactin), mood (endorphins and other feel-good neurotransmitters), reduce anxiety, and promote overall well-being.
Acupuncture is safe for postpartum women and can be administered early after delivery. It is in this window of time that supporting new moms and their recovery is vital. Post-birth tonification is required because pregnancy and birth is a depletion to the mother’s body and energy reserves. It is believed that care should be given to new moms in order to close the birth and promote the production of Qi and blood during postpartum (qi and blood are essential for energy as well as milk production and hormone balancing).
Emotional support can also be an indication for postpartum acupuncture and moxa. The birthing process can be shocking and collaborative care can help to calm the nervous system and quell trauma.
Within the first forty days postpartum is a time of transition to motherhood while honoring the profound physical and emotional changes that come from birth and pregnancy, giving the mother an opportunity to fully recover before resuming normal life.
Here are a few health tips to be utilized in the first 4-6 weeks postpartum.
Traditionally the first month postpartum is called the sitting month and it looks like this:
- One week in bed
- One week on the bed
- One week in the house, around the house, in the garden
- One week getting out for walks
- Continued: Limit visitors, stay warm, nourished and hydrated, and lastly learn to receive. This is a time, that if possible, to let others care for you.
Foods to incorporate in the postpartum period:
- Chicken bone broth soup (adding herbs to support Qi, blood and healing is even better)
- Organic chicken, grass-fed beef
- Pasture raised eggs
- Dark leafy greens, asparagus (for calcium and fiber)
- Broccoli/ cauliflowers (Vitamin K for wound healing)
- Grains like millet, barley and amaranth (these grains can strengthen digestion and reduce edema)
- Toasted sesame oil or really good olive oil to lubricate the intestines
A Postpartum Tea to aid healing, lactation and soothe stress:
- Rose-Mint Tea
- These herbs gently lift the spirit
- Brew organic rose petals and mint in a large pitcher and strain. This tea can be taken hot or cooled and mixed with fresh coconut water to increase hydrating properties.
- Warm water is recommended to keep the metabolism strong and reduce cold in the abdomen, however, chilled (not iced) tea can be refreshing in moderation.
Ready to learn more about how postpartum acupuncture can support you and your family? Reach out to our clinic in Santa Barbara, California for more information.