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5 Ways Acupuncture Can Support Postpartum

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), women lose a lot of qi and blood postpartum. Much of their bodies support the growth of their fetus throughout their pregnancies. Because of this, much of their reserves and energy have been redirected to the pregnancy, leaving them in need to build them back after giving birth. 

What Is Qi And Why Is It Important For Women’s Health?

According to TCM, qi (pronounced “chi”) is a word to describe life force vitality. Qi encompasses many different parts such as energy, warmth, and oxygen, and is a force that is linked to the body’s innate intelligence. 

Qi plays a role in many different biological processes and just like cells, there are many different types of qi for different roles played out in the body’s function. Qi can be reflected in the body’s mitochondria, which are powerhouses of the cells. Reproductive health requires a lot of qi, which is apparent in the design of the egg cell, which contains hundreds of thousands of mitochondria (in contrast to hundreds to a few thousand in other cells in the body). This shows us just how much qi goes into supporting new life.

According to TCM, Blood is an essential substance in the body, which nourishes and supports a woman’s reproductive cycle by thickening the uterine lining and also carrying vital nutrients to the ovaries and eggs. Blood supports all organs and depends upon a robust nutritional regimen to have enough nutrients to feed those organs of the body. 

Why Women Need to Have Postpartum Support

During pregnancy, much of a woman’s nutrients are passed to her growing fetus through her blood. This is a natural process that helps the growing fetus have everything it needs to thrive. 

While this is an amazing aspect of pregnancy, it can leave many women depleted postpartum, leading to a host of symptoms which can include:

  • Fatigue

  • Anxiety

  • Hair Loss

  • Depression

  • Difficulty falling asleep

  • Night sweats

  • Brain fog

Some women may also feel like they have a low milk supply if their bodies are extremely depleted of qi and blood. 

Ways That Acupuncture Can Support Postpartum Symptoms

  1. Acupuncture can support a woman’s overall qi. Many acupuncture points support overall qi production. Many acupuncturists will also recommend certain dietary suggestions like bone broth to support qi and blood. Acupuncture helps support and move the body’s overall qi by ensuring the free flow of qi. When the body’s qi can move more freely, it can rejuvenate all the organs and biological processes while promoting a more efficient production of its qi. This can support a new mother’s ability to restore her overall qi. 

  2. Acupuncture improves night sweats. TCM views a woman’s hormonal balance as a reflection of a kidney yin and yang balance. The yin and yang are two opposing forces that can shift throughout a woman’s life. After pregnancy, a woman can lose a lot of blood which is a yin substance. This can cause her to lose the cooling aspect of yin which can create an illusion of too much yang or heat in the body. This can manifest as night sweats for the first few months postpartum. While this can be very common, it is something that shouldn’t continue if the body begins to regulate and restore its yin and yang balance (which can be supported with regular acupuncture). 

  3. Acupuncture can help improve lactation. There are protocols for many different conditions including lactation support. Acupuncturists who are familiar with treating women’s health and postpartum will know which points to use to support milk supply. Many are also familiar with foods that can help support milk production for new mothers. This can also help with lowering stress and anxiety, as many new moms experience tremendous anxiety when breastfeeding challenges arise. Besides specific points, acupuncture helps the body rest more deeply, which in turn helps it produce more milk. 

  4. Acupuncture regulates the nervous system. This can help support deeper sleep, digestion, improved focus, and immune function. When it comes to any type of recuperation - sleep is vital! Oftentimes, new moms can feel overwhelmed and stressed by their new roles. Even if they aren’t new to this, they are balancing new babies with older ones, which can add to their responsibilities. Acupuncture helps tremendously with nervous system regulation, which allows their bodies to enter a self-healing and restorative mode. 

  5. Acupuncture can support emotional well-being. TCM practitioners understand that our body’s energetic state impacts our emotions and mental state. If our bodies have too much stagnation or if they are too deficient, it can impact how we feel emotionally, while also triggering a cascade of events that influence how we function from day to day. Moms who have recently given birth must get the support they need not just for their bodies but also for their emotional and mental health as many suffer from mild to severe depression. If the depression is severe, it is important to first get proper care from a trained psychotherapist or doctor. 

When looking into acupuncture, make sure that you find someone who specializes in women’s health and can support the needs you are specifically seeking. Keep in mind that, like most therapeutic modalities, benefits can take time to appear and the best way to see improvement is through repetition and consistency. As a rule of thumb, expect to go at least weekly to an acupuncturist to get the best results. 


Michelle Oravitz is a Fellow of The Acupuncture and TCM Board of Reproductive Medicine (FABORM) and a licensed acupuncturist who employs this and other modalities such as mindfulness and hypnotherapy to help couples conceive, in collaboration with their Western healthcare providers. She has a practice in Miami, Florida, hosts “The Wholesome Fertility Podcast,” and conducts online fertility programs and fertility coaching consultations. In her new book, The Way of Fertility: Awaken Your Reproductive Potential through the Transformative Power of Ancient Wisdom, Michelle Oravitz encourages women to look to the power of their minds and the wisdom of nature. Both are inextricably linked to overall wellness and fertility potential.


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