It goes without saying, childbirth is a big deal in a woman’s life. Just the physical exhaustion of labor and delivery is immense, not to mention the mental and emotional aspect of these events. Women who have undergone c-sections are not only brave, but are also just as physically affected as well, as the recovery for this surgery is not for the faint of heart, especially while constantly tending to a newborn. It is quite remarkable what women go through leading up to and into childbirth, regardless of which way their baby joins us in this world.
From a Chinese Medicine perspective, birthing a baby causes an extreme loss of qi (aka energy), blood, yin and yang, all of which need to be properly restored in order to recover strength and vitality. In the long history of Chinese Medicine the “sitting month” or zuo yue zi, a 30 day period of retreat, rest and recovery is done to restore vitality and take time to bond with her new baby. Diet during this time is also very important and specific foods are consumed to aid in recovery. This time is considered essential not only to recover from pregnancy, but also as a way to ensure future fertility and overall wellbeing. Traditionally, postpartum moms are not to leave their homes for the month and even encouraged not to leave their beds, either. Although in modern times, while there are still many women who choose to follow these guidelines to the extreme, others prefer follow them lightly.
Chinese Medicine sees food as medicine and recognizes that the foods we eat possess certain qualities and functions in the body. After giving birth, specific foods are recommended to replenish the qi, blood, yin and yang lost as well as to help boost lactation. For instance, foods that are slowly or lightly cooked are thought to be more nourishing since they are easier to digest, and this is helpful since digestion tends to be more affected in those first weeks postpartum. For this reason, soups and stews (preferably with chicken) are especially nourishing to the postpartum mom. Below are some tips and a list of dietary recommendations to consider in the first few weeks after childbirth:
Dietary recommendations to tonify qi and blood:
Yin tonifying foods:
Yang tonifying foods:
In addition to following the above guidelines, postnatal acupuncture treatments beginning 2 weeks postpartum weekly for 3 weeks is ideal in boosting stamina and overall vitality. Treatments can also be useful in balancing emotions and preventing the onset of postpartum depression, aid in healing surgical wounds from c-sections, and help encourage lactation. Other issues that acupuncture can assist with during the postnatal period:
Moxibustion therapy at home can be started 3-4 days after childbirth to help heal cesarean wounds, shrink the uterus and boost breast milk supply. Please contact us to find out more about this at home therapy.
Your journey has only just begun! Motherhood, while sometimes stressful and challenging, is also extremely beautiful and rewarding. We love helping new mamas navigate this new chapter in their lives. Please call or email us anytime you have questions or just need support. It takes a village! We will help in any way we can.
Being told by your OB/GYN or midwife that your baby isn’t in the optimal position for a vaginal delivery isn’t exactly the conversation you'd like to hear. Towards the end of pregnancy most babies will rotate into a head down position to prepare for birth. The anterior head down position, which is the optimal positioning for labor, typically occurs by the 34th week of pregnancy. However, approximately 3-4% of babies are in the bottom down or breech presentation at the end of pregnancy. Given the limited options of childbirth with a breech baby, the majority of these moms will wind up with a cesarean section (c-section).
The use of acupuncture with moxibustion is a safe and effective option for turning breech babies. Treatments are most successful between 32-35 weeks gestation as there is more room in the uterus for the baby to reposition. Beyond week 35, the chances of the baby turning decrease due to the lack of space, but it is still possible as many breech babies have turned in the final weeks of pregnancy or even just before delivery. Expectant moms are encouraged to begin treatment for shortly after they find out their baby is breech to increase their chance of success.
Although part of the therapy occurs in office with the acupuncture treatments, the second part of the treatment occurs at home. Moxabustion (aka moxa) is the use of a chinese herb called mugwort that is burned over specific points on the body. When it comes to flipping breech babes, moms will be sent home with moxa sticks to burn over an acupuncture point on the corner of the little toe for 20 min per day (10 minutes twice a day) for 10 days. This along with acupuncture sessions can help encourage the little one to rotate into a head down position to allow for a vaginal delivery.
In addition to acupuncture and moxa, there are some other things that you can try to help flip a breech position baby:
In addition to the recommendations above, I encourage all pregnant mamas to begin acupuncture treatments starting at week 36. Prenatal acupuncture in the last trimester can reduce the need for medical interventions such as epidurals and emergency c-sections.
Please feel free to give us a call at (805)768-4045 or reach out here to set up an appointment or to find out more about how we can help. We look forward to working with you!
While acupuncture and herbal medicine can work wonders in boosting immunity and helping us destress, acupressure is another great alternative when you cannot get in for a treatment. Here are three of our favorite acupuncture points that can be used to keep your immune system strong, reduce stress/anxiety and treat cold symptoms using acupressure.
Stomach 36: This is the chicken noodle soup of acupuncture points. It is an effective point used to strengthen the immune system and is very important in building and maintaining overall health. It can also help combat psychological and emotional stress as it has a calming effect on the nervous system. You can find this point about 3 inches below the knee on the lateral side of the leg.
Ren 17: Located on the front midline about halfway between the nipples is one of our favorites for alleviating stress and anxiety. Try tapping or massaging this area to provide a calming effect on the entire body, as well as unblocking any stagnation from lung issues or anxiety. Due to its location directly over the thymus, Ren 17 is also a great immune booster. It can help with cough, asthma, shortness of breath and palpitations.
Large intestine 4: Another favorite point that has so many uses including relief from anxiety, allergies, headaches, sore throats and basically any issue of the face. It also helps strengthen the immune system. It is a point commonly use in treatments and can be found in the webbing between the thumb and index finger.
Feel free to try these acupressure points at home to help boost your immunity! Just give each of these points a massage for 1-2 minutes per day. Stay healthy everyone!