Congratulations, your new baby has arrived! The days, weeks, and months following the birth of your new bundle of love can be both exciting and joyful. It is also a delicate, and perhaps difficult, time for any new parent. In addition to adjusting to a new heartbeat and member of your family, there is also much postpartum recovery needed for you, the new mama. All of this adds up to a challenging time!
Chinese medicine actually views the postpartum period as the “fourth trimester,” a unique opportunity to restore and rebalance the health and hormones of the mother. In light of this, here are some tips to give you the support you need.
Help During Your Postpartum Recovery
Armed with evidence-based information and a healthy dose of Chinese medicine, new parents can have a quick recovery and a satisfying postpartum period. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be really helpful for women recovering after childbirth. We support mothers at Lotus Leaf Acupuncture & Wellness Center during the postpartum period for a wide range of conditions such as:
- lactation insufficiency
- postpartum depression (PPD)
- urine retention
- c-section recovery
- emotional overwhelm & stress
Postpartum Nutritional Support
A congee is traditional Chinese medicinal porridge made from rice. It is seen as a powerful therapeutic food for strengthening digestion, boosting energy and aiding in the recovery from illness.
A basic congee can be made from using ½ cup of rice to 3 cups of liquid.
This liquid can be water for a very plain congee, milk or nut milks (rice milk or almond milk) for a sweet rice pudding type of congee, or you can use vegetable or chicken stock for a savory congee. You may also prefer to use a ½ water ½ milk/stock mixture depending on your taste preferences.
- The amount of liquid you use will determine the thickness of the porridge, which can be thick like oat porridge or watery like a soup, simply adjust the amount of liquid depending on your preference.
- White rice is usually the grain used in China, however brown rice can be used to give a savory tasting congee.
- For a fast cook: Place all ingredients in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or a Dutch oven and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook at a lively simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice has completely broken down and the mixture is creamy, about 1 hour.
- For the traditional slow cook (my personal preference) use a crock pot and cook overnight, about 8 hours on low heat. You will need to make sure you have enough liquid for this.
- For postpartum support I like to add Gou Qi Zi (Chinese Wolfberry Fruit/Lycium berries) and Da Zao (dates) to nourish Blood, strengthen digestion, and improve energy.
- Eat and enjoy~
Motherwarming for Postpartum Care
This is one of my favorite self-care treatments that can be done in the comfort of your own home. You can read about it here. For now, I will say it has also been one of the most frequently used recovery methods in China applied to the postpartum mother for centuries. Simply apply moxa to your lower belly for 5 -15 minutes a day and receive the benefits of:
- helping the organs of the abdomen recover after pregnancy
- increasing breast milk supply
- healing scars from cesarean sections
- decreasing abdominal pain after birth
- providing the mother with increased feelings of well-being, stamina and strength