Acupuncture for Postpartum Pain

postpartum pain

Whether you had a vaginal or a C-section delivery, after your baby is born there is often a time where you may experience discomfort, muscle weakness or even pain in the pelvic region. Your body has been through a lot of changes during the past 9 months! Between growing a being inside you, hormonal fluctuations and possible surgery, it often takes time to fully recover from postpartum pain.  

Postpartum Pain

One of the many reasons for postpartum pain can be related to trying to do too much too soon. Even if you are feeling great, it is best to ease back into life and a regular movement routine somewhat slowly. East Asian Medicine believes the birthing parent should give themselves a full month of recovery after the baby is born.

This period is called “sitting in,” and is a time the birthing parent is able to rest with the newborn, being fed nourishing foods and tea by family and friends. This is, hopefully, a lovely time to enjoy and get to know your new family.

Acupuncture for Postpartum Pain

Acupuncture and Moxa (heat therapy) are effective at relieving pain in the pelvic area, lower back, and hips during postpartum and beyond. It helps decrease pain by bringing better blood flow and/or warmth to the area. Once you feel able to move around and are ready to leave your home, we suggest having acupuncture 1-2 x per week to help relieve pain and speed healing.  

When you come in for an appointment, we will sit and talk to you about your situation, and make a plan that may include Acupuncture along with Moxa (warming therapy), East Asian Nutrition advice, Herbal Medicine, and gentle stretches. It is often possible to be pain free and feeling better in just a few sessions.

Below are some reasons you may be experiencing postpartum pain:

Diastasis Recti

While your body is growing a baby, the pelvis expands and the growing baby puts pressure on the abdominal muscles. Sometimes this can cause something called Diastasis Recti, where the abdominal muscles are stretched to the point where they separate apart a bit.  Due to the core abdominal muscles then being weaker, it may lead to low back pain, loss of bladder control and sometimes a distention in the abdomen that doesn’t return back to your normal postpartum. Acupuncture is one of the great tools that can help restore your body if this happens to you. 

C-section recovery

Recovering from a C-section can be challenging while caring for your newborn. During this kind of delivery, the surgeon has to make an incision into the abdominal muscles in the pelvic region. While you are recovering, this can mean less control and strength in your abdomen with picking up your newborn, going to the bathroom or even doing light household chores. Acupuncture is excellent for healing after surgery, and can especailly help your scar to heal well.

General Pelvic pain

Every delivery is different, and while some may seem to go smoother than others, they all can cause pressure on the pelvis and organs which may cause pain.  As your uterus begins to contract after giving birth, this can feel like anything from a mild menstrual cramp to more severe pain that can radiate into the back or hips. Acupuncture and Moxa treatments are well known to help reduce low back pain and pelvic pain, and can be a great resource for your postpartum support to help you be able to focus on your new baby.

*As always, if any pain persists and/or is accompanied by a fever or any abnormal vaginal discharge, please make an appointment with your OB or go to an emergency room*

To read more about how acupuncture can help Postpartum pain, check out these studies:

*Research article on Postpartum pain cause by C-section recovery

*Efficacy of electro-acupuncture in postpartum with diastasis recti abdominis: A randomized controlled clinical trial

We love helping people improve their health after a baby is born! If you are interested in learning more about how East Asian Medicine can support you during the postpartum period, please contact us.

Established patients can schedule online, patients who haven’t seen us at Kwan Yin Healing Center call (503) 701-8766, or email us to schedule your appointment.

About Lisa Tongel

We are practitioners of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine specializing in fertility, IVF support, pregnancy care, reproductive health, and pelvic pain.