Mother warming and Post partum Care
Mamas are truly amazing! For nine months we take great care of ourselves, get doted on by strangers, and have showers in our honor. But after delivery, the care and health of baby takes priority and mama’s health moves to the background.
At Wild Roots Clinic, we know the postpartum period is a vital time to prioritize the health of the mother and carefully guard the emotional and physical vulnerability of her body. A very effective treatment during this period is called Mother Roasting, which is popular among numerous cultures worldwide for it’s many benefits, such as:
- Bringing warmth and blood back to the lower burner – lower abdomen
- Assisting in the efficient clearing from the uterus, easing abdominal pain and cramping, and preventing excessive bleeding
- Bringing the spine back into alignment
- Firming and reintegrating the loosened and stretched tissues
- Repairing tissues, nerves, and blood vessels that have been weakened from pregnancy and birthing
- Energizing and strengthening the mama
- Providing comfort, grounding, and a cozy tool for self care
What is Mother Roasting?
Mother Roasting is simply the act of keeping a woman warm and actively warming a mother following childbirth, which in turn protects and nourishes both mama and baby.
Mother Roasting: Internal & External
The magnitude of change the body goes through after labor is incomprehensible. Massive amounts of fluid and blood loss severely deplete the new mama from day one. At Wild Roots, we recommend internal and external warming methods:
- Internally, nourish the new mama with warm meals high in protein and iron for both healing and lactation benefits. In many Asian countries, foods like boiled eggs, chicken, lamb, rice porridge, soups and stews are consumed throughout each day. Warming teas made by boiling fresh ginger root are also beneficial. Chinese herbal teas provide some of this internal warmth as well.
- Externally, use “moxabustion” or “moxa” and acupuncture treatments to encourage circulation of blood and vital energy in the abdomen, and to comfort and honor the mother at this transitional moment.
How to do a MOXA treatment at home
- Get in a comfortable position with a pillow under the knees, head supported, in a warm spot, and the baby quietly resting.
- Expose abdomen below the belly button.
- Have your partner, friend, or doula, prepare the moxibustion stick for you.
(I recommend using a smokeless moxibustion stick that you can get from our office)
- Light the stick well and have a glass jar ready to collect ashes.
- Scape the ashes off the stick regularly during the treatment
- Warm the area below the belly button and above the pubic bone by holding the moxa stick about one to three inches above the skin. Make sure the heat can be felt but is not prickly or burning hot.
- Wait until the skin is warm and slightly reddened – it can take between 15-45 mins.
- Repeat this every second day.
NOTE: Do not mother roast if you have had a C-Section unless you consult with Andrea Hansen or Shawna Wafler or you are experiencing
- Fever with pelvic pain
- Retained placenta or obstructed lochia (bleeding after birth)
- Hard, full, or painful abdomen
Practices from the Sitting or Golden Month – Zuo Yue Zi
For 30-40 days post partum the practice of Zuo Yue zi is designed to preserve you and your health
- REST is a priority. Do not become re engaged in the life you had before. Slow down!
- Reach out for communal assistance with household chores and food preparation
- Consider abdominal or belly binding to support the health and recovery of your abdomen
- Regulate lactation. Get help with breast-feeding if you need it. Getting a good start will make a huge difference hormonally, for your breast health, you ability to get longer sleeps, and your babies comfort
Things to avoid during the Sitting month
- New moms and babies should limit exposure to wind, cold and pathogens. Keep the house and rooms warm especially at night when getting up to feed. And use hot oil rubs with sesame or coconut oil.
- Avoid cold water
- Wash you hair as infrequently as you can. (The traditional practice was to use dry washing to avoid the chill that can come from wet hair)
- Avoid baths, choose short warm showers in a warm bathroom. Dry off completely before leaving the bathroom
- Keep your back, abdomen, and feet warm and covered at all times.
- Avoid lifting and climbing stairs (have family members carry you baby for you as much as possible unless you are sitting, especially after a C section.) This can help your pelvic floor recover much faster
- Avoid uncomfortable nursing positions, use ample pillow support when nursing in a sitting position or simply lie down
- Do not watch TV or read in bed to protect the eyes. The eyes are the opening of the liver and the liver regulates the blood. The over use of the eyes can exhaust your liver blood. This is an important piece in this time of the world because of phones and excessive computer use.
- Do not over eat. Eat smaller amounts, chew well, eat slowly, be mindful – protect your stomach
- Avoid sex for up to 100 days
Specifically for the first month avoid sex when you are tired, the weather has changed, you are nervous, going to a funeral, or having an argument (some older references add when you are drunk or on your birthday)
- Do not shed tears. The tears are the fluid of the liver. Each tear is said to be like 500grams of gold. (This of course is very difficult to do right after you have had a baby.
Enjoy this precious time. Do the best you can for your self care. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself. Despite how difficult it can be to withdraw from the life you knew from before to follow these post partum practices – taking the time now for health, will save you the time later in life treating disease! These practices are one of the best ways woman can prevent postpartum depression, burnout and overwhelm with small children, the onset of various chronic diseases during the middle age, and uncomfortable menopause later on.
www.WildRootsClinic.ca © Wild Roots Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture Clinic
250-682-7289 | Dr. Andrea Hansen & Shawna Wafler