Although being a new mom is an amazing experience, it’s not without its challenges. Emotional changes, changes to daily routine, and new physical demands often accompany motherhood, and the transition can be overwhelming. As a new mom myself, receiving acupuncture has been a key component of my self-care routine, and sometimes it’s the only hour of my week that I relax and focus completely on my own needs. As an acupuncturist, many of my patients seek treatment during pregnancy and continue postpartum because acupuncture is a low-risk way to manage physical and emotional issues, and can dramatically improve a variety of afflictions. Some of the most common concerns for which new moms seek treatment include:
- Backache: New moms often suffer from neck, shoulder, and back pain after months of carrying extra weight during pregnancy, recovering from labor and c-sections, and hours of holding, rocking, and nursing babies. Acupuncture is great for treating musculoskeletal pain of all kinds, and countless studies have been published supporting this claim. In fact, the American College of Physicians recently recommended acupuncture as a preferred method of treating chronic back pain.
- Fatigue: From sleepless nights to coffee abstinence, there are countless reasons new moms experience fatigue. Acupuncture patients often report feeling instantly energized after treatments without the adverse effects caffeine can produce. It’s so dramatic that several studies have shown acupuncture to effectively treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
- Mood (depression and anxiety): At least ten percent of new moms experience postpartum depression, which can manifest as intense sadness, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, apathy, difficulty concentrating, feelings of isolation or hopelessness. Acupuncture is not a substitute for talk therapy or antidepressants, but if you are on the fence about starting medication, acupuncture may be enough to manage symptoms in mild cases, or to support emotional wellbeing as in conjunction with other modalities.
- Breastfeeding complications: Breastfeeding moms may experience a myriad of additional physical challenges such as mastitis, obstructed milk ducts, and insufficient lactation. Before antibiotics and baby formula existed, acupuncturists developed dozens of strategies for addressing breastfeeding issues. Today, acupuncturists who concentrate on women’s health employ variety of methods to treat breastfeeding problems.