Above Photo: My Mother, Mother-in-law and Grandmother-in-law after the birth of my first son Jason.
Going through pregnancy is a wonderful experience but lets be honest here, it can also be extremely uncomfortable with lots of emotional highs and lows. You spend over 9 months growing a human being! This takes a lot of energy. From a Chinese Medicine viewpoint, you are providing your baby with an enormous amount of your Blood and Qi. Thus all of the symptoms which tend to increase in variety and intensity the closer you get to giving birth.
We lose a great amount of Qi and Blood during and after labor. This can leave us warn out and emotionally imbalanced. But wait, we aren’t finished yet. Now you are going to be deprived of sleep while nursing and soothing your beautiful new baby around the clock. Chinese Medicine sees breast milk to be derived from our blood. This is another reason why taking care of ourselves postpartum is extremely important. We need to immediately get on top of building up our Qi and Blood in order to have energy and an abundant milk supply to care for our baby.
In China, it is customary for the mother of the new mom to come and stay with the family for an entire month. This time is considered to be the 4th trimester. We don’t tend to take the need for recovery postpartum very seriously here in the U.S. It seems we are all in a hurry to get back to who we were pre-pregnancy. I cannot emphasize enough how important this time of recovery is. If you don’t take it now, it can creep up on you later on down the road manifesting as anxiety, depression, extreme exhaustion, hair loss, night sweats, insufficient lactation, headaches, just to name a few.
Take it from me, you will be giving yourself and your child a great gift by allowing others to help you out and taking time to recover before jumping back in to life. I know first hand how difficult it is to do this which is also why I know how important it is. After giving birth to my second child, I was not allowing myself this time for recovery despite what I know to be true and suffered the consequences. I then realized how ridiculous I was being and allowed myself to let go of the need to control my environment and to let others take care of me.
Here are a few tips for Postpartum Recovery:
*Schedule an appointment for Acupuncture which can benefit you tremendously by helping to build your Qi and Blood back up and regaining hormonal balance. *Placenta Encapsulation (see my blog on for specifics on PE) *Eat right and eat enough (see my Black Chicken Postpartum Soup recipe blog) *Sleep when baby sleeps *Mother’s milk tea, 3 cups a day, the first week especially before milk comes in, steep with a cover for 15 minutes *Sleep when baby sleeps (yes I have it here twice) *Allow yourself to do nothing but rest and care for baby *Drink a ton of water *Ask for help! *Get a lactation consultant if needed, San Diego Breasfeeding Center is a great resource.