You made it. You gave birth! Is this your first baby, second, or third? Maybe you gave birth vaginally or delivered via C-section; at home or in a hospital. It is also possible that things didn’t go as expected; your baby may have come early, need medical care, or even be stillborn. You can be full of joy or experiencing profound grief over the outcome. Welcome to the ‘fourth trimester!’
No matter how things went, you will likely experience a range of emotions and physical sensations in the hours, days and weeks to follow, and this has many different reasons. Your body is making major hormonal adjustments, your uterus is returning to its pre-pregnancy shape and location, your breasts are getting ready to feed your baby. Your body also needs to heal and recover its energy. This won’t happen overnight, as many people and the media may make you believe. In fact, this can be a slow, drawn-out process of many weeks and even several months. So, please be patient.
In the beginning, especially, you need to be gentle with yourself and cocoon with your baby and partner. You need to find a new rhythm, one that is flexible and adapts to the ever changing needs of your newborn and yourself. Enlist all the support you can get from your close friends and family, as well as from professional caregivers. Others can take daily chores off your hands while you focus on your immediate needs.
I hope you have access to a postpartum doula, a midwife offering home visits, and a close friend, sister or your own mother, to support you (and your partner) during the first few weeks, as needed.
Using acupuncture to recover from childbirth
Why do I recommend acupuncture to my new moms after delivery? Because this form of care can help you with specific needs you are likely to encounter after your pregnancy has ended. Let me explain:
The stages of pregnancy and the process of giving birth take a lot out of you. Your energy may be profoundly depleted, just when you need to heal and take care of your new baby. Acupuncture can support your healing and help you replenish your energy.
In the first couple of days, we can help you fully discharge the lochia, using certain acupuncture protocols. This may help reduce blood loss from extended uterine bleeding. There can be different reasons for this, and we can adjust your acupuncture treatment accordingly.
Due to the hormonal fluctuations and irritation of tissues, there could be heat and cold sensations that we can address. If there are signs of infection, however, you should notify your midwife or obstetrician without delay.
Commonly, women experience sharp, crampy pains following childbirth, often worsening after multiple births. Acupuncture can be a very effective method to achieve pain relief, which may make it easier for you to relax enough so you can start breastfeeding, if that’s what you want to do.
Specific acupuncture strategies can also relieve night sweats, perineal discomfort and challenges with breastfeeding, including mild cases of mastitis.
Lastly, many new mothers find acupuncture quite helpful while dealing with emotional ups and downs or baby blues. We listen carefully to what your experience is and tailor an acupuncture strategy to your individual needs.
In addition, I give my new moms advice about nutrition approaches that support them and their babies, while helping them heal and recover. Some of this advice is based in modern holistic nutrition, but much of it comes from the ancient Chinese doctors who really knew how to take good care of women and their children postpartum so that they could regain their full wellbeing. And if food alone is not enough to nourish you back to good health, I can recommend botanical treatments that have been safely used for hundreds of years to help women recover from pregnancy and childbirth.
I recommend that you familiarize yourself with your options before you reach the end of your pregnancy so that you can seek out the help appropriate for your own needs without much effort and delay.
© 2020 Christiane Siebert