I have written a lot about infertility and fertility treatments, and what you and can do to improve this, but what about postpartum treatments? Postpartum treatments and care are just as important for not only the mother but also the baby. A healthy mother can help nourish a healthy baby. A woman’s body, postpartum, goes through many changes both physically and mentally. The body is going through a major healing process while at the same time the breasts are filling so as to provide milk to feed the new born. Being aware of the changes in hormones, the pain that may come after birth and how you can be treated is essential.
The Physical Changes and Pain
Pain in the perineum often occurs after a natural birth. It is important to be careful with hygiene and do exercises that strengthen the area, if possible, as the perineum heals. Another area of pain may be the lower abdomen as the uterus starts to shrink back to normal size. Furthermore, breast pain occurs when the breasts become engorged with milk. They can feel tender and sore, as well as the nipples may crack or be painful as you start to breastfeed. Another possible issue may be with urination. It may be painful to urinate or you may even experience some incontinence. This should disappear if you concentrate on strengthening your pelvic floor muscles. As for those who have gone through a C-section, then obviously there will be other issues. Being careful not to lift any heavy objects is essential. You don’t want to pull or tear any stitches. The area around the scar can be uncomfortable and even painful. It is important to keep this area clean and dry and to massage the scar for faster healing. Another area of concern can be digestive issues which may occur during pregnancy or after with constipation and/or haemorrhoids.
Acupuncture and moxa work very well for any kind of pain in the body as well as helping with scar healing and in general the whole healing process. Digestive issues of all kinds are also well treated with acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help with cracked nipples we well as encouraging milk production.
Your pregnancy hormones are waning and your body, both physically and emotionally, is affected by this. You may start to get hot sweats at night or fluctuating body temperature. While the high hormone levels in your body during pregnancy may make your hair fuller and thicker, after birth however your hair may thin and this can last for 6 months after birth. As for your cycle, your period should return after 6 to 8 weeks if you are not breastfeeding, but if you are breastfeeding then it may not return until after you stop. When the period does return it may be very different than before you were pregnant. It may be longer, shorter, more or less painful. Another point to remember is even though you do not have your period it does not mean that you are not ovulating, so it is possible to get pregnant again. Therefore, practice safe sex unless you want another one on the way. Skin pigmentation that occurs during pregnancy is also caused by the high levels of hormones. As the hormones reduce so too should the darker patches. It is best to keep out of the sun though as the sun can make the pigmentation darker. Another possible skin issue is gestational acne after birth so it is important to be gentle with your skin, cleaning regularly but with natural products.
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs are well documented as helping to balance hormones and helping with hormone production.
Whether it’s your first or third child. Each pregnancy and birth are different and having another addition to the family can be overwhelming. If you are exhausted and feel like you can’t cope, then you need to ask for help, and try and get as much sleep as possible. You are still a very important person in your baby’s growth and development. Baby blues for a few weeks after birth is common. They usually go away without treatment; however postpartum depression is a serious condition and not to be ignored. Symptoms include strong feelings of sadness, exhaustion and anxiety. These feelings will make it hard for you to look after your baby and do require help. In this time, you need to get as much sleep and stay away from alcohol or drugs.
Acupuncture helps with sleep and gives you a ‘feel good, relaxed’ feeling. It treats stress, anxiety, depression and general panic disorders. Consult a physician to help suggest your needs.
Acupuncture is an important treatment postpartum as it helps both mentally and physically, giving you the time and space to heal. It is important to take this time, as you cannot care for your baby if you are not also caring for yourself. Otherwise in the long run, you both will suffer.