A small study explored regular acupuncture treatments for women experiencing postpartum depression.
Here is a link to the study. If you are short on time, the end result demonstrated a total effective rate of 90% following treatments.
While it is not feasible for many women to receive multiple acupuncture treatments each week, even weekly treatments along with daily practices and herbs are tremendously helpful. I now offer home visits for those in the Denver metro/Boulder area. Contact me for more info.
Postpartum depression is a large topic that I cover in many lectures from the viewpoint of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda.
Here is an excerpt from my book, Yoga Mama Yoga Baby; Ayurveda and Yoga for a Healthy Pregnancy and Birth.
“The initial postpartum time is a delicate juncture for you as a new mother and for your family. It is a time of healing and transition physically, emotionally, socially, and psychologically. After giving birth, a woman is as fragile, energetically open, and vulnerable as her newborn infant. You are recovering from labor and birth and adjusting to include a new member of your family. Your baby is adapting to her new environment—life outside the womb, her parents, and siblings. Love, patience, and gentleness are essential for everyone’s health and harmony within your home.
In the first six weeks to many months after the birth, the optimum activities for the mother and baby are resting, bonding, healing, receiving nourishment, and allowing their growing relationship to nourish. You have been through a lot. Resting is vital to recovering from the intensity of birth and to adjusting to the demands of nursing and tending to your little one every couple of hours, around the clock….
Following is a list of ideas to create health and happiness in the initial six weeks after birth, although these ideas can be used for as long as desired. By following these suggestions, your recovery and rejuvenation are greatly enhanced, and chances of developing postpartum depression are considerably reduced.
• Sleep when your baby sleeps. Don’t be tempted to try to get everything done while your baby naps. Use this time to rest and sleep before she wakes and needs you, or your other children need you.
• For the first three weeks, stay in bed as much as you can and as close to your baby as you can.
• Minimize cold drafts, wind, bright lights, noise, and media stimulation.
• Minimize visits and the length of time visitors stay.
• Try to stay inside with your baby for six weeks. Shield yourself and your baby’s delicate nervous system from the outside world until he/she is a little older. If you go outside, cover your baby’s head and ears.
• Don’t lift anything heavier than your baby.
• Pay attention to your diet (more details to come in another blog). Do not attempt to diet or skimp on your calories now. The food you ingest is deeply nourishing both you and your baby.
• Massage yourself or have someone else massage you daily with copious amounts of warm oil, and follow that with a hot bath, if possible.
• Pay special attention to massaging your abdomen. Afterward, wrap a clean cloth around your belly, compressing it slightly to prevent a hollow space from forming where the baby was and to encourage organs and tissues to return to their proper places. You can use a lightweight cotton cloth or scarf about four to five yards long.
• Massage your baby.
• Line up as much help as you can for food shopping, cooking, cleaning, errands, and assisting with older children. Also arrange help so you can have time to bathe, shower, nap, or take quiet personal time. Allow yourself to be nurtured by others.
- Have someone you know well and trust be available for support, listening, and encouragement.
- Don’t rush anything. It takes time to heal. Learn your baby’s cues and and your rhythms together.
- Drink a tall glass of room temperature or warm water every time you breastfeed.
- Consult with your doctor or midwife before returning to any exercise programs. Gentle stretching and breathing are probably okay.
- Go to bed early, by 10:00 p.m.”