October 2005 >
Health Preservation & Rehabilitation after Childbirth
and Rehabilitation after Childbirth
By Xiaomei Cai, L.Ac.
time after childbirth is called the "puerperium" and is defined as the
time during which the pelvic organs return to their normal condition. By
convention the puerperium is said to last about 6-8 weeks. Puerperal
care is very important for the mother to recover from childbirth and get
back to her pre-pregnancy state.
According to Traditional Chinese medicine, there are three major ways to
take care of this important period.
One of the main priorities after delivery is prevention of infection
from implantation of pathogenic organisms in the birth canal. For this
reason, the vulva and perineum should be kept as clean and as dry as
possible. The mother should abstain from sexual intercourse in the first
It is absolutely essential that a woman has adequate rest after
Resuming a normal routine of work too soon or lifting heavy objects is
very depleting to Qi and Blood. Sometimes, it can cause prolapse of the
uterus. However, too much rest and lying down may also be harmful,
leading to stagnation of energy. Moderate exercise is beneficial.
It is important for a woman not to be exposed to cold after childbirth
as this may cause cold to invade the uterus leading to abdominal pain,
body aches, cold or flu.
The mother should consume more nutritious and easily to digested foods.
Four to five meals a day and soups are recommended. It is important to
have enough vegetables to promote bowel movements. Consume
blood-nourishing foods such as egg, liver, beef, chicken, carrots,
spinach, wood-ear mushroom, peanuts and Chinese red dates.
In summary, the mother should maintain a good mood, get enough rest, eat
well and be in a clean environment. With good puerperal care, she will
benefit for the rest of her life.