This is the second installation in a series about Jaime’s postpartum experience. Read the first post here.
Now 8 months postpartum, after the delivery of my son Hayden, there are still physical hurdles I face on a regular basis. The impact of childbirth on our bodies is immense, but why is the recovery process so long following childbirth? How can the process be made more manageable?
As with most human experiences, eastern medicine places balance at the forefront of wellness. Eastern medicine maintains that childbirth creates an imbalance in our bodies. The delivery itself results in blood, yin (feminine health) and qi (energy flow) loss, which is particularly taxing on a woman’s spleen, stomach and kidneys—which have an immense impact on our overall wellness.
If you are breastfeeding, milk production is comparable in eastern medicine to blood loss, so you are continually depleting your body of energy as you supply. The spleen is working overtime to replenish that blood and energy, resulting in other postpartum ailments such as
poor digestion and constipation;
difficulty falling asleep and sleep deprivation, leading to fatigue;
postpartum depression and anxiety;
dizziness and overall weakness; and
rashes and other inflammations.
After labor and delivery the womb is also blood deficient. The pathways that move along the uterus and lower abdomen are weakened and open, allowing cold to enter, which in eastern medicine is believed to contribute to achiness and pain. Because of this weakening, women often experience abdominal pain, scant bleeding or even clots. During this time avoiding cold food is important, as is keeping the body warm and covered.
Because the different elements of the physical being are so interconnected in eastern medicine, severe postpartum depression can be explained by a deficiency in the liver and hearts blood or yin. Some of these symptoms are as follows: agitation, anxiety, trouble concentrating, palpitations, or disturbed sleep and vivid dreams.
An acupuncturist, like myself, can help with these postpartum symptoms, making them more manageable while you heal. My acupuncturist came to my house as soon as I came out of the hospital, and it was the most effective thing for me in my c-section recovery. It helped to increase my circulation and reduce swelling and inflammation, which helped minimize pain and constipation, and allowed me to maintain some energy (which meant more quality time with my little man).
Stay close to my blog for more on my postpartum recovery experience.