Post Natal Care
Traditional Chinese medicine believes that the post natal period is a very important time for determining the future health of the new mother and infant. The Chinese call this the “Golden Time” and suggest that the new mother should have a minimum of 30 days and more preferably 100 days of rest where the only requirement is to feed her baby.
This is quite an adjustment from Western thinking where “super moms” are often verbally praised for getting back to their exercise classes, work, and pre-pregnancy clothes as quickly as possible. This can have a devastating effect on the future health of the mother as her energy and blood supply have been depleted during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.
Many women have difficulties after healthy pregnancies such a tiredness or exhaustion, inadequate milk supply, post partum depression, anxiety, and sleep disorder, changes in menstruation, or fertility problems that can be traced back to inadequate care in the post partum period.
What Can You Do To Help?
- Diet- Women throughout the ages have used dietary remedies to encourage lactation and promote their recovery from childbirth or a miscarriage. Foods to nourish blood and qi are encouraged during this post natal period to promote recovery and future injury. Foods such as oats, rice, potato, sweet potato, mushroom, date, fig, grape, kidney beans, tofu, beef, chicken, fish, pork, peanuts, egg, dark leafy greens, sesame seeds, mussels, and spices such as rosemary, thyme, cinnamon and basil.
- Slow cooked or lightly steamed foods are easier on the digestive system and more nourishing for the body.
- Soups made with chicken and congees, a form of rice soup, are very helpful to restore energy. Bone broths are wonderful.
- Avoid raw or cold food and drink as much as possible especially immediately after childbirth.
Here are some recipes for Post Birth Recovery from “Chinese Foods for Longevity” by Henry C Lu
- Bring to boil 10 red dates with 3 grams of dang gui in 1 cup water. Simmer until the water is reduced to ½ cup. Drink daily as an energy tonic after childbirth.
- Boil until soft 1-3 fresh figs or 30 grams dry figs with 2 red dates and 60 grams lean pork. Eat once per day to increase milk production.
- Boil 30 grams red dates with 1 whole chicken, 4 fresh slices of ginger and 30 grams brown sugar in water until the chicken is cooked. Eat at meals to restore qi and blood following childbirth.
- Adequate rest- This is the time to take it easy. Rest when you can and do not worry about housework, getting back into shape, or resuming your old life until at least 30 days post partum.
- Prepare healthy meals before birth so you don’t have to cook.
- Ask for and accept help from family and friends
- Don’t do too much all at once
- Avoid getting cold- Do not walk around with bare feet on cold floors, avoid drafts, fans, air conditioning, open windows, and wear appropriate clothing.
- Mother Roasting- Moxibustion (mugwort an herb which helps to warm and circulate energy) on the lower abdomen to build up qi and blood and prevent stagnation in the lower abdomen especially after a c-section. Very effective to nourish the mother after childbirth and help to heal c-section scars.
- Hydrate- Remember to hydrate. Drink room temperature water and bone broth soups.
- Moderate exercise- gentle walks and activities. Absolutely no cardio in the 30 days post partum stage. With some rest ad self care your weight, energy levels, mood and libido will return post partum.
- Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine are effective to help with inadequate milk supply, mastitis, persistent uterine bleeding, post partum depression, anxiety, insomnia, pain and fatigue after childbirth.
My first session is still vivid: she sat with me and took her time to do an exceptionally thorough intake, asking questions about every aspect of my health. I remember leaving feeling wonderfully cared for.