Early in the summer, a young mother with her newborn baby was at the mall, doing some shopping. She was wearing a cute summer dress with no sleeves. The temperature at the store was pretty chilly and I could not help but get concerned about that girl’s health for being exposed to such a cold environment during her post-partum period that consists of about six weeks after childbirth.
In China, the post-partum period is considered a very vulnerable time for the mother, and they ensure that the mother receives proper care at home. There is a tradition called Zuo Yue Zi Postpartum confinement passed to women from generation to generation. Generally speaking, the new mother should follow a special care routine that involves a special diet and avoiding drafts and physical work for an entire month.
This makes sense from the traditional Chinese medicine perspective. After childbirth, the mother’s body is deficient in terms of energy and blood (Qi and Blood deficiency), so the focus should be on replenishing blood by providing high-quality nutrients and facilitating the digestive system’s ability to process and obtain nutrients from food.
Here are some symptoms that correlate to “Qi and Blood deficiency” that are common after childbirth:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Loss of memory
- Dry eyes
- Poor appetite
- Blurred vision
- Melancholy, sadness or depressive mood
Note: A more severe presentation may indicate post-partum depression, which is a condition that requires medical attention. If that is the case, seek immediate medical attention.
Recommended foods to support blood replenishment:
- Grains: barley, corn, oats, rice, sweet rice, wheat, bran.
- Vegetables: alfalfa sprout, artichoke, beetroot, button mushroom, cabbage, celery, dandelion leaf, dark leafy greens, kelp, shiitake mushroom, spinach, watercress, wheatgrass (in particular artichoke, beets, dandelion leaf, kelp).
- Fruit: avocado, dates, mulberries, grapes, figs, apricots, plums.
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, black sesame.
- Fish: mussel, octopus, oyster, sardine, tuna.
- Meats: chicken, red meat, liver (pork and sheep).
- Beans: adzuki, black soya, kidney beans, black beans.
- Spices: ginger, cardamom, vanilla, cinnamon.
- Herbs: nettle, parsley.
- Eggs: chicken eggs.
- Condiments that are warming and may increase the digestion are ginger, cardamom.
In addition, your Chinese herbalist can recommend appropriate decoctions or formulas for your individual needs (e.g. variations of Ba Zhen Tang or Gui Pi Tang) to speed up your recovery.
Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health topics but does not constitute medical advice. If you have any questions related to your condition, you should contact your doctor or healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention.