Post-natal recovery

Chinese medicine considers the post-partum period as one of the most vulnerable times in a woman’s life. The reason for this is because of the profound task of birth.

During birth, the mother must open on every level – physical, emotional and spiritual. The task of birth asks the mother to travel to the deepest part of her being to meet her baby, and then journey safely together into the outside world.

This profound inner journey is an intense and prolonged altered state during the birthing process.

Once the baby has arrived safely and has attached to the mother to arrive “home” in the world outside the womb, then the mother needs to gradually bring herself back togetherphysically, emotionally and spiritually. This happens across the hours, days and weeks after the birth.

At the same time, the mother is changed profoundly every time she creates a new person within her deepest core. “You can never set foot in the same river twice” – and although the first baby transforms her into a mother for the first time, in fact every birth represents the beginning of a new universe in the form of a new person in the world.


Chinese medicine support

Chinese medicine has a long history of caring for mothers and babies.

The first month is the most important – called the Golden Month. Women traditionally take cleansing and nourishing foods and remedies after the birth to quickly rebuild and repair.

Treatments that warm the body, such as moxibustion at home, or herbal steam baths, are also commonly applied. Women generally have family support to ensure they get plenty of rest, nourishing food and relaxed time with the new baby.

The mother needs to regroup physically, emotionally and mentally. On the physical level, her main priority is to rest and bond with her baby. This generates the conditions to create milk, to heal and to cultivate the deep attachments in her baby’s nervous system that will set them up for stability in later life.

It is possible for modern Western women to create these conditions around them during the first month after birth. This gives you the best foundation for post-natal health and helps to avoid problems in the future that can arise during this vulnerable time.


The Golden Month

The Chinese really emphasised the importance of nourishment, warmth and rest during the critical first month after birth. The benefits to you include better energy, quicker recovery, enhanced bonding with your baby and better breast-feeding.

Some women are lucky to have friends and family close by, or a partner with plenty of time off work, who can help with cooking, cleaning and caring for siblings while mother and baby rest. If you don’t have access to such support, you can simulate this environment for example:

  • stock your freezer with nourishing soups and casseroles during your third trimester
  • enlist a food delivery service – cooked meals, groceries, fruit and veg etc
  • enlist a laundry and/or ironing service
  • hire a cleaner if mess is a big stress for you – write down instructions about what, when and how you want things cleaned so you can relax
  • organise play dates for your older children and offer to return the favour when your baby is a little older
  • buy a nappy service for a month or two if you are using cloth nappies
  • anything else you can outsource that will help you to rest and recover



More information

Chinese medicine views the whole person, and aims to recover balance and wellbeing through an integrated framework of treatment and advice. For articles on the postpartum time, see my clinic website at The Village Healing Centre.

If you would like to know how I can help you and your baby, please contact me.


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–> Acupuncture during pregnancy

–> Acupuncture to prepare for labour and birth


African mum and baby

Photo by Andrae Ricketts on Unsplash