If you are reading this, chances are you have heard how awesome acupuncture can be in pregnancy. From pain relief to labor preparation, acupuncture truly excels in supporting healthy pregnancies. What many folks don’t know is that acupuncture can help you feel great postpartum as well!
Postpartum is a special and intense period of our lives where we experience more physical and emotional demands than ever before. Acupuncture, along with herbs and a form of heat therapy called moxibustion, can help you nourish yourself so you can take on these challenges.
How does Acupuncture Support you Postpartum?
Enhance postpartum healing
Regardless of how your baby was born, acupuncture and moxibustion can help speed your postpartum recovery. Most ancient cultures were wonderful at honoring postpartum as a special time for bonding and healing. In China, it was customary for the new mother to spend 30 days resting indoors while being cared for by her family. While this is unlikely in today’s culture, there are a few traditions we can carry on such as Mother Warming.
Mother Warming is simple technique that uses a heat therapy called moxibustion. Though in our culture acupuncture is best known part of the medicine, moxibustion has been a central part of East Asian medicine for over two thousand years. Moxa itself is a plant that is used to warm specific acupuncture points. Around day 4 or 5 postpartum moxa is used to warm the lower abdomen and the low back to help speed recovery. It feels wonderful, too! East Asian medicine can also be used to stop persistent bleeding postpartum, help stabilize emotions, stop night sweats and reduce perineal pain and scar pain.
Encourage healthy milk supply
From dietary suggestions to herbal supplements and acupuncture itself, we can make many recommendations to help encourage healthy milk supply. If you are working with low supply, latch issues, or pain while nursing, we also encourage working with a lactation consultant and would love to share some referrals.
Diminish Aches and Pains
Labor and birth are akin to running a marathon, or even an ultra-marathon for some. Many folks experience muscle soreness and fatigue following the birth itself. An acupuncture session with a little body work can really help. As the aches and pains from the birth diminish, many new parents experience tightness in the neck and shoulders from so much time spent nursing their baby. This is effectively addressed by acupuncture and various forms of bodywork including cupping and gua sha.
Stress reduction is my favorite acupuncture superpower. Just two tiny ear needles are enough to calm the sympathetic nervous system and get you into a more relaxed state. In early parenthood, we tend to spend more time in ‘fight or flight’ mode. The heightened awareness that comes with parenthood and the interrupted sleep schedule combine to produce a constant ‘tired but wired’ state. It can be hard to turn off and just relax. Acupuncture can address the physical complaints as well as get you a solid nap so you can go home and be your best self.
Re-establish healthy menstrual cycles
As your hormones shift and begin to settle back into a routine, acupuncture can help re-establish healthy menstrual cycles. This is helpful if you are wanting to have space between your kiddos or are ready to start trying to become pregnant again. Heavy flow, irregular cycles, painful periods, and symptoms of PMS are all things that can be addressed with acupuncture and herbal medicine.
When is the best time to come in?
People often wonder when they should begin or resume their treatments postpartum. Ideally, we love to see new mamas between 2-4 weeks postpartum for special care and nourishment following the birth. It is not uncommon to have health issues related to postpartum develop one or two years following your birth. Seeing a holistic health practitioner shortly after your birth can help prevent these things from happening. However, if you find yourself six months or a year postpartum and not feeling your best, we would love to help. It is never too late to start seeing an acupuncturist