You might know that confinement care after having a baby is important, but do you know exactly why this is so? From a TCM perspective, it is critical for you to get proper postpartum care, because this will set the stage for your future health.
A woman’s body undergoes major hormonal, physiological, circulatory, respiratory and metabolic changes during her pregnancy. While most mothers bask in this “glow” of pregnancy, there are many who are caught off guard by the post-delivery changes that occur in a matter of days or even hours.
Pregnancy and childbirth deplete blood and Qi from the mother’s body. The resulting postpartum imbalances include:
- Qi and blood deficiency: Fatigue, frequent urination, low appetite, indigestion, incontinence and poor breast milk production
- Yin and blood deficiency: Constipation, excessive night sweat, insomnia, depression, hair loss, dizziness and hormonal imbalance
- Pathogenic cold resulting in blood stasis: Abdominal pain, retention of lochia (uterus discharge), incontinence and severe depression
Herbs and acupuncture can help
Confinement herbs can help with postnatal recovery if taken according to these three stages:
- Uterus recovery: Aids in uterus contraction and lochia discharge.
- Digestive wellness: Improves digestion and absorption of nutrients to improve Qi and blood supply.
- Vitality booster: Nourishes the respective organs to regain pre-pregnancy vitality.
To address the concern of the safety of TCM herbs for breastfeeding mothers, as well as the risk of postpartum bleeding, it is advisable to only take TCM herbs that are prescribed by the physician.
Together with proper rest and diet, the herbs will help mums regain the balance of Qi and blood at a pace that is in accordance with their body constitution.
While Chinese herbs nourish the internal organs, acupuncture can be used to improve circulation. Mothers who suffer from conditions such as headache, osteoarthritis, lower back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and tension may benefit from acupuncture right after delivery.
Thomson Chinese Medicine offers postnatal TCM programmes. These programmes include 28 Days Confinement Herbal Care, Internal Rejuvenation for Mommies (post-confinement herbs) and Go Go Mommies (six sessions of acupuncture to relieve stress, fatigue, aches and pains).
This article has been written by physician Seah Ai Wei who practices at Thomson Chinese Medicine, Thomson Medical Centre.
An earlier version of this article appeared in Celebrating Life, Issue 16| Jun – Jul 2015