Can Acupuncture Help Post Partum Depression?

Childbirth is nothing short of a revolution. For nine months, women share their inner resources with a new being that’s growing inside. Then, the baby comes into the world. The enormous demands of gestation and childbirth can leave a new mother physically, psychologically and energetically depleted and out of balance. This is just when she needs lots of energy to contend with her new baby.

Western culture teases new mothers with images of young celebrities with brand new babies and gym fit bodies. Traditional Chinese culture views this period of postpartum recuperation differently.

New MothersIn the month following childbirth, new mothers observe Zuo Yuezi.  The English translation is, “sitting the month.”  During this time, the woman stays indoors, often wearing P.J.’s and rests in bed.  She nurses the baby, bonds with them, eats, sleeps and takes care of herself.

In Chinese medicine, the postpartum period, or the period after childbirth is very important for a woman’s health. The new mother’s body and mind have experienced many changes, and it is essential to help her combat the many problems associated with this transitional time.

• Fatigue
All new parents go through a phase of adjustment even if they are not going through postpartum depression. The newborn baby’s many needs and irregular sleep habits can be very draining. Often, these initial days of parenthood are a haze of sleep deprivation and fatigue.

Ideally, when we are functioning well, we are able to accommodate to stress.  If however, the stresses become excessive, adrenal exhaustion is not uncommon and can contribute to PPD.

Acupuncture can help you balance your nervous system, restore your energetic reserves and accommodate to the stresses of parenthood.

• Postpartum depression (PPD)
Postpartum depression is a common occurrence for new mothers. During pregnancy, childbirth and after deliver, the balance of progesterone and estrogen change dramatically. These hormonal changes can affect emotional and mental health.

Progesterone levels normally peak during ovulation and fall off before menstruation, sometimes leading to PMS. Similarly, progesterone is normally high throughout pregnancy and drops dramatically before labor, during and following childbirth. Low progesterone levels following childbirth can lead to postpartum depression. Ideally, each new mother’s progesterone would normalize by her fifth day postpartum, but this is not always the case.

Acupuncture is a wonderful way to help normalize hormonal balances and restore health after delivering a baby. Through gentle palpation of hormonal reflex points, we are able to locate each hormonal imbalance. Our choice of treatment is than verified by palpating again and observing a positive change of the reflex point.

• Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding problems are exceptionally taxing to new mothers.  Acupuncture is quite helpful in increasing milk supply, improving milk flow and in the treatment of breast engorgement and mastitis.

• C-Sections and Episiotomy
Women who have had a C-Section or episiotomy are basically recovering from a major surgery.  The disruption of the abdominal muscles and pelvic floor can create muscle weakness, tenderness and pain. What you may not know is that surgical scars can become tough and thick.  A poorly healed scar can sometimes cause chronic problems including headaches, hormonal imbalances, depression and back pain.

Acupuncture can help the incision to heal uniformly while maintaining elasticity and resilience. Acupuncture is also extremely helpful in restoring a poorly formed scar.

Here in the west, we can take some cues from  “sitting the month.” Find the support you need to restore you physical & psychological wellbeing and energetic balance.  Acupuncture is a perfect way to help new mothers in this period of great transition and change.

Five Element Acupuncture supports the health of the mind, body and spirit to come into balance in pregnancy, childbirth, motherhood and at any time in your life. Call us at 973.509.8464 • 212.529.1901 or book on line to schedule an appointment.