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First Period After Birth: Everything You Need to Know & How TCM Can Help

 

Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) see regular menstruation as an important component of a woman’s health and evidence that the body is in proper balance. That is why it is necessary for women to understand the importance of regular menstruation and what the first period after birth may be saying about their bodies. If menstrual flow is heavy, light, or absent, this may be an indication of imbalance or blockage. The practice of Chinese Medicine especially acupuncture has been shown to help women achieve regular healthy periods and can help to bring regularity back to the menstrual cycle. To learn more about how Chinese Medicine & acupuncture can help with the first period after birth, read on.

Frequently Asked Questions about First Postpartum Period

 

Q. Is it normal to bleed after childbirth? 

Bleeding is common after childbirth, and women may find themselves using large amounts of sanitary napkins in the days after delivery. This, however, is not the return of normal menstruation. This is often made up of a discharge called lochia which is the result of the shedding of the uterine lining. 

 

Q. How long after childbirth should I get my period?

After childbirth, a regular period should return about six to eight weeks postpartum. This may vary for women who are breastfeeding as some women may not have a period at all when exclusively breastfeeding. The first period after birth will likely differ from those prior to pregnancy. Some women report stronger cramps, a heavier, intermittent flow, blood clots, and differing cycle lengths. Once clotting subsides, women may experience the clear or white discharge known as lochia. When menstrual blood returns to a red color, that is a likely the return of menstruation. 

 

Q. Should I be worried if my period does not arrive?

Not all women will return to a normal period after childbirth. It is not uncommon for women to skip a period or for it to arrive sooner than scheduled. If normal menstruation does not return, and symptoms such as heavy flow or a period lasting longer than seven days are present, consider speaking with a healthcare practitioner to confirm that the reproductive system is functioning properly.

Traditional Chinese Medicine’s View of the Menstrual Cycle

 

Traditional Chinese Medicine views the menstrual cycle in four phases: Qi, blood, yin, and yang. As blood is discharged, a TCM practitioner’s goal is to ensure the proper circulation of Qi while also taking care to provide nourishment to the blood. When follicles mature, both yin and blood are abundant making properly nourished blood of the utmost importance. During ovulation, Qi helps to convert yin into yang which is most abundant when ovulation is complete. When menstruation is abnormal, this is a sign that the body is not properly balanced. 

The first period after birth may depend on a number of factors. It will depend on such things as the health of the new mother as well as regularity of breastfeeding. For some breastfeeding women, the secretion of the hormone prolactin may suppress the hormones required for reproduction. Though this is a possibility, a secondary form of birth control is recommended for those women who are not planning to conceive. 

If the first postpartum period is light, which is referred to as hypomenorrhea, it is possibly due to insufficient or blocked blood flow. Though a recent pregnancy is a known cause of a light period, it may also be due to a poor diet that is lacking in micronutrients. 

If the first period after birth is heavy, known as menorrhagia, this may be an indication that Qi is not firm enough to hold the blood which will allow it to flow out. Since the liver is responsible for moving Qi and blood, it plays a role in regulating the menstrual cycle. If liver Qi stagnation is present, this can result in a heavy period, dampness, and phlegm. Those with Qi deficiency may also notice that their menstrual blood is pale.

Acupuncture for Postpartum Period

 

Acupuncture has been used in TCM for thousands of years and has been shown to help regulate the menstrual cycle due to its ability to resolve insufficient blood flow.  During acupuncture, fine needles will be inserted into various points on the body. The process may require multiple sessions. Acupuncture is a safe procedure. Any side effects from acupuncture resolve very quickly.

Since a light first postpartum period is due to an insufficient or blocked blood flow, acupuncture can bring relief by promoting proper blood flow to the muscles and skin. The improvement in blood flow often correlates with the intensity of the needling during treatment. Depending on the acupoint used, blood flow may improve during treatment or within the minutes following treatment.

Acupuncture is also beneficial for women who experience a heavy first postpartum period. If the first postpartum period is heavy due to heat, phlegm, or stress, acupuncture can help by clearing the heat and phlegm while also invigorating the blood to help bring regularity back to the menstrual cycle. As a result, acupuncture may also bring relief to the physiological stress by bringing balance to the nervous system.

Conclusion

There are many places to find books and advice about carrying a baby and what to expect during childbirth. However, not many women are well-informed about what to expect when the body is healing from delivery. Though a normal period may return six to eight weeks postpartum, that is not the case in the presence of improper blood flow or Qi deficiency. If your first period after birth is abnormal, consider speaking to a TCM practitioner about acupuncture to bring regularity back to your menstrual cycle. Acupuncture is proven to be effective, and it is a safe, drug-free option to ensure that your body is in proper balance. 

Get personalised advice from TCM specialists for free! 

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our consultation page where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.

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