The postnatal period refers to the six weeks directly following childbirth.
It is very beneficial to have acupuncture treatment in this period. Labour can be very hard on a woman’s body and health, and post-natal acupuncture can help to build up the body’s reserves of energy. We recommend that there is a full 40 days (6 weeks) of time to recover from a childbirth. In Chinese Medicine rest is considered vital to replenish the mother’s energy and to give the mother and her newborn the necessary time to bond and to flourish.
Looking after ourselves post-natally ensures that we are able to make the most of the weeks and months following the baby’s birth. It is a hectic and demanding time and it is easy to forget to eat well enough, consume enough fluids and to prioritise our own need to rest and recover.
Modern life encourages us to ‘get back on our feet’ as quickly as possible but we often do this without the support of family members who all too often live hundreds of miles away. A situation which can leave some women feeling suddenly exhausted and overwhelmed.
In contrast acupuncture theory emphasises the importance of rebuilding energy and stamina and taking time to recover from pregnancy and childbirth. Treatment focuses on nurturing and replenishing, encouraging peace of mind and good amounts of rest and deep sleep between feeds.
Most acupuncturists are happy for you to bring your baby in to the clinic while you are having treatment at this time. You can arrange your appointments around your child’s feeding schedule.
Treatment is available from 5 days after the birth and home visits can often be arranged until you are strong enough to come into the practice.
Acupuncture treatment at this time can help to:
- reenergise and rebuild strength and stamina
- aid deeper sleep and better relaxation
- balance hormones as milk comes in
- relieve “baby blues” and post-natal depression
- address breast feeding problems
- encourage the uterus to contract to pre-pregnancy size
- minimise after pains
- ease perineal discomfort and aid repair
- shrink haemorrhoids and piles
- help bleeding complications
- regulate temperature swings, especially night sweats
- promote healing of caesarian scars and treat C-section complications
- help carpal tunnel syndrome
- help back, neck and shoulder pain, stiffness or weakness
If you think you have post-natal depression it is very important to contact your midwife or GP and to get a medical diagnosis and the right treatment and support.
Indications of post-natal depression include:
- lack of appetite
- persistent feelings of hopelessness and/or helplessness
- suicidal thoughts or urges
- violent or aggressive feelings towards your baby
Acupuncture treatment can be a very helpful and successful adjunct to any medical care and support that you choose to have at this time.