In the post partum phase a woman’s body is reversing all of the many changes that occurred during pregnancy. What took the body 40 weeks to build and adapt to, now reverses completely in about 6 weeks. By this time it is important that the uterus has returned to it’s pre-pregnancy size and location, that the vagina has contracted and regained much of its muscle tone, that the episiotomy or lacerations have healed, that the vaginal discharge of lochia has stopped, that breast feeding is well established, and for those with C-sections that the scar has healed and they are recovering well from the surgery. While this is the ideal scenario it is not every woman’s reality.
One can imagine the incredible effort the body is expending after labour and delivery to heal and revert back to pre-pregnancy status, not to mention the addition of sleepless nights and caring for a newborn baby. In Traditional Chinese Medicine we promote 100 days of rest and recovery after labour, this is not something that is endorsed by Western culture, yet it sets the stage for a healthy recovery from pregnancy and delivery. During this phase there are a plethora of issues that can present such as
- insufficient lactation
- retention of urine
- digestive issues including constipation
- prolonged lochia
- hormonal imbalances
- post partum depression
Holistic post partum care is critical to the long-term health of mom and baby and can address the above issues, plus many more.
It is important to be aware that there is a natural way to address the physical stress and strain of post partum as well as any mental or emotional issue that may arise. There is no separation between the mental and physical landscape in Chinese Medicine, and as such a mental or emotional symptom is expected to respond to treatment just as a physical one would. Post partum depression is treated beautifully with Acupuncture and Herbal medicine.
Take the time to treat yourself well after you’ve had your baby.
In my practice I encourage my patients to schedule a post partum visit within the first 2-3 weeks of giving birth. With all that is going on in the body at this time, treatments that offer quick resolution are of the utmost importance. Post partum treatments are by far the most important treatments I offer. In my experience, issues that remain unaddressed, which find their root in the post partum phase form the basis of long lasting health problems. If these issues were only addressed with one or two sessions at the appropriate time a whole world of hurt could be avoided.
Take the time to treat yourself well after you’ve had your baby. It’s time to shift a bit of focus to taking care of your health and prioritizing post partum care, whether you are suffering from serious concerns or just feeling fatigued, see your Acupuncturist for a post partum tune up.
Amanda Roth R.Ac, RMT, FABORM
by Amanda Roth R.Ac/RMT