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.