Addressing Post-Natal Difficulties with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine

Postpartum pertains to the period after childbirth. Following the delivery of a child, a woman’s state of health is quite delicate and thorough care should be undertaken to make sure she rests and eats well. Sadly, in most Western cultures women oftentimes need to leave their beds soon after childbirth; they may even return to work after only a few days after this very precarious time.

Women lose too much blood during and post labor and this leads to serious blood depletion which may result in chronic fatigue and tiredness. This leads to a significant weakening of the immune system making the body relatively defenseless to disease. Post partum also often leads to post-natal depression.

There is not enough information out there regarding how to care for yourself after giving birth, although materials about what you should and shouldn’t do while you are pregnant are readily available. It is important for a mother to stay healthy so she may be able to afford her newborn the maximal tender loving care she can provide.

Chinese women are cognizant of the fact that it is very important to care for their health after giving birth. Their mothers passed on the knowledge to them on how to responsibly bring back their body to good health after childbirth. In China, the women are required to stay in bed and practically do nothing but nourish their newborn. They do this for about a month and in this time, they are not allowed to perform any kind of chore or task. This is needed to help them regain their vitality after the rigorous process of childbirth.

The mother stays with her baby all the time and does whatever she can for her baby: wash baby, change baby, cook for baby, everything. The rest is both to help her and her baby attain the best possible health. Baby and mother stay in the house and visitors are not allowed till after the first month of birth. The mother sleeps next to her baby and the baby is not placed in a crib until it reaches six months of age.

The Chinese believe that if the soul does not get the chance to settle in its new home, it may depart. So, every effort is done to properly settle the new born soul. Everything is presented very gradually and at various phases after the month settling time.

This practice is barely done (if ever) in Western societies and the Chinese think this is one of the reasons why the West has a very high rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). This Chinese see that almost all people living in the West don’t afford the new soul the chance to settle properly in its new home and like it. We can’t blame ourselves for not knowing what the Chinese know since most of us have never heard of this type of Chinese belief before. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that we unsettle the newborn soul by bringing them to malls and commercial centers even sometimes right after birth. This must be severely exhausting for both baby and mother.

Postpartum, from the viewpoint of traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), is considered to be a depletion of Blood and Vital Energy (Qi). Practitioners of Chinese medicine, including acupuncturists consider all women who have just birthed a child to be suffering from Blood deficiency and Post-Partum QI. These are caused by the obvious Blood and Energy loss during and after delivery. Childbirth also weakens organ systems such as the Heart (the controller of Blood), Liver (organ where Blood is stored), and Spleen (producer of blood). Their weakening results in disharmonies that affect the health of the mother.

The Symptoms and Signs Blood and Qi Deficiency

-Weak pulse
-Pale tongue
-Loose stools
-Insomnia
-Poor memory
-Depression
-Blurred vision
-Poor appetite
-Light-headedness, dizziness
-Weakening of the limbs
-Pale complexion and skin
-Fatigue, tiredness

If the lost Blood and Qi is not replenished, the mother may develop several and serious problems that may be either be seen immediately or years later. These problems can have really bad repercussions on the mother’s ability to have more children in the future.

As mentioned a while ago, post-natal depression is one of the adverse side effects of childbirth. This is a condition that can produce grave consequences like violent behavior and even death (by suicide).

How do Acupuncturists and Chinese medicine practitioners in Orlando treat Blood and Qi deficiency? They address these imbalances by:

-Telling the mother to avoid fatty and greasy foods
-Advising her to eat a lot of soups (vegetable, ox tail, beef, chicken, etc)
-Advising her to neither visit places with draughty conditions nor places that are cold
-Letting the mother rest
-Letting her eat foods rich in blood
-Treating her with acupuncture and Chinese Herbs

Foods high in Qi and Blood:

-Lotus seed
-Black soya bean
-Spinach
-Ginger
-Black beans
-Kidney beans
-Beetroot
-Chinese veggies
-Yam
-Cherry
-Tomato
-Black grapes/juice
-Plum
-Offal (kidney, heart, liver, etc)
-Eggs
-Lamb
-Beef
-Black boned chicken (can be bought at Chinese food stores)

In TCM, the quickest way to revitalize health and replenish Blood and Qi are through the use of Chinese herbs. TCM practitioners need to properly choose the herbs each patient requires based on the patient’s own needs and symptoms.

Unlike Conventional Western medicine, TCM does not resolve a condition with just drugs that are designed to uniformly treat a specific condition. TCM customizes its herbal remedies by taking into account the patient’s own unique constitution and symptoms and signs in order for the treatment to truly work. This is because one formula may not work at all or even produce bad effects for one patient although it may work perfectly for another patient suffering the same kind of condition.

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