There is a common misconception that once a woman gives birth, her body immediately returns to “normal” and there are little, to no concerns (aside from nursing) that a new mother must face. Yet, the truth of the matter is, even when not considering “baby weight” factors, a woman’s body is changed by pregnancy. Some of these changes are permanent, and some are temporary. Those that are temporary can often take months, if not longer, to return to a “pre-pregnancy” state, leaving many new mothers frustrated by a slower post-natal recovery time frame than initially anticipated.
It is important to remember that just because the birth has occurred, a new mother should not stop getting the proper care she needs to treat the issues that could arise post-delivery. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine for postpartum care is a holistic option for a mother looking to deal with both the physical and emotional elements in the post-partum period.
While pregnant, a woman’s body produces many hormones that are necessary for the growing and delivery of human life. Once a child is born, the body may no longer be producing those hormones, but their effects do not diminish immediately. One of these hormones is relaxin, the hormone responsible for the relaxation of the ligaments in the pelvis, as well as the softening and widening of the cervix shortly before giving birth. Once a baby is born, a woman’s body no longer makes hormones such as relaxin as it did shortly before the birth. However the muscles in the pelvis remain in a relaxed state for some time.
Likewise, the muscles in a post-partum woman’s back and abdomen can remain effected after delivery. Due to the physical burden of carrying a baby for nine months, muscle tone can be effected and muscles can remained stretched for some time, causing muscle pain and discomfort. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine can be used by a skilled practitioner to help a woman’s body regain both muscle tone and hormonal balance.
Acupuncture for Postpartum Depression
Another side effect of the hormonal fluctuations a woman can experience after giving birth can be what many refer to as the “baby blues.” “Baby blues” usually refers to a short amount of time, lasting from a few days to a month, or longer, in which a woman’s body is hormonally out of balance, causing mood swings, anger, anxiety, problems sleeping and sometimes depression. Post-partum depression however, is categorized as a more severe in nature than the more common “baby blues,” as well as more prolonged in duration and occurs in anywhere between 9 to 16% of new mothers. As with all hormonal imbalances after giving birth — acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine and a hormone balancing diet can all be extremely helpful in returning a woman’s body its optimum balance, as well as successful in alleviating some of the anxiety that occurs for many during the early days of motherhood.
Aside from hormones, it is easy to forget wear and tear that pregnancy and birth can put on a body, both in the muscles and the nervous system. Many new mommies find that even after giving birth, they still suffer from the dreaded “baby back” as well as a gamut of aches and pains caused by stretched and weakened muscles throughout the body. As it can take months for muscle tissue to return to normal after a pregnancy, neck, back and hip pain can be fairly common. Pain and pressure caused from weakened muscles can also create undue pressure on nerves and create “interference” in the nervous system, keeping a woman’s body from healing and functioning at 100%. Acupuncture is commonly used to not only speed up the recovery of muscle tone, but also to alleviate pressure being placed on nerves throughout the body, both assisting with the aches, pains, and strains common in the post-natal period. Post partum exercise is also recommended.
There are many ways that acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine can assist in a woman’s postpartum period. Contact us now to learn more about how acupuncture is being used to help with not only the previously mentioned health concerns, but also with everything from lactation concerns to incision, or perineal discomfort post delivery. Let Dr. Laurie Binder help make those amazing first weeks with baby amazing for mommy as well!