Natural postpartum recovery is not only about healing after labor but also giving your body the opportunity to bloom into something stronger

Seven tips for a natural postpartum recovery

Congratulations mama! You did it.

Some say that it was the hardest thing they have ever done in their life. Others say it was the best. Most agree it’s a little of both.

Whatever you think about labor and delivery and however you went about it, there is no argument: its recovery time.

I know some of you are reading this thinking that recovery will be no bigdeal. Some of you may even go to Target tomorrow. I hope that this post will change your mind.

Even if you feel great, you just ran your body through the ringer. It will take five weeks for your body to start to feel normal. Some traditional texts say that it will take 100 days for you to be back to where you were before you got pregnant. I’ve heard some professionals say that it can take up to three years to fully recover from childbirth.

But I’m here to give you good news. If you manage your recovery right, not only can you bounce back sooner, but you can bounce back better. The postpartum period is one of three opportunities a woman has to heal herself and build on the foundation she had before pregnancy so she can be harder, better, faster and stronger.

The first tip? Bed rest.

Natural postpartum recovery is not only about healing after labor but also giving your body the opportunity to bloom into something stronger

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Five ways to naturally induce labor, either at home or in a clinic

Five Ways to Induce Labor Naturally

38 weeks have passed and you’re looking to induce labor.

Your back hurts. Your feet are tired. Your innards haven’t functioned “normally” for months. You are done with pregnancy.

You hop on Pinterest and before you know it your fingers have tapped out “natural labor induction” and you ended up here.

I get it. I see so many mamas at 38 and 39 weeks who are exactly where you are and frankly, I’ve been there myself.

So I wanted to get some labor induction ideas down on paper (well, pixels anyway) for mamas to be able to peruse and then discuss with their midwives or ob-gyns. But first, some important information about the differences between labor preparation and labor induction.

Five ways to naturally induce labor, either at home or in a clinic

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Painful periods and cramps may be common but they are not part of a normal cycle.

How to get rid of painful menstrual cramps

Dysmenorrhea is something most women have experienced at least once in their life and many women experience monthly.

Dys– means ‘painful’. Meno– means ‘pertaining to menses or menstruation’. –rrhea means “to flow through”.

Dysmenorrhea – painful menstrual flow.

The most common presentation of dysmenorrhea is menstrual cramps. Many women think that painful periods and menstrual cramps are just a normal part of life. It doesn’t need to be this way.

Menstruation can be a positive and painless part of your existence and this is how acupuncture can help.​

Painful periods and cramps may be common but they are not part of a normal cycle.

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It can be frustrating to be told to just relax, but the fact is that stress can impact fertility. But you can fight back with these five stress busting ideas

Five ways to increase fertility by decreasing stress

I don’t think stress ever came up more than when my husband and I were trying to conceive.

“Relax, it will happen!”

For a great many of you reading this on the TTC or “trying to conceive” journey, your eyes just twitched. I have to be honest, it hurt a little to type. Out of all the phrases I hated hearing while TTC, that was at the top of the list.

The problem is that as much as we hate it, conventional wisdom has it right:​

Stress impacts fertility.

It’s not something we can argue. We have thousands of years of doctors and sages corroborating all of the studies we’ve done on the subject in the past century. The difference is now we know why – hormones.

It can be frustrating to be told to just relax, but the fact is that stress can impact fertility. But you can fight back with these five stress busting ideas

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This simple and healthy dessert has only a few ingredients - pears, walnuts, ginger and honey. But it's simplicity is based in Chinese Medicine.

Baked Pears with Walnuts and Ginger-infused Honey

You have finally gotten over this year’s flu (with the help of this cold fighting broth, perhaps) and now you have a new battle to fight:

The dry and bloody nose.

Every winter families dig through their storage spaces and garages for their humidifiers with the hopes of fighting off cracked and painful noses and lips. Sometimes we’re successful, most times we are not.

I have a solution for you. This simple recipe is a delicious dessert and can help with the dreaded winter dryness.

This simple and healthy dessert has only a few ingredients - pears, walnuts, ginger and honey. But it's simplicity is based in Chinese Medicine.

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What is qi? What are yin and yang? Check out this primer on Traditional Chinese Medicine and find out how to talk to your acupuncturist!

Acupuncture 101: How to talk to your acupuncturist

“What’s wrong with my liver?

My patient was confused and a little concerned.

“You have liver qi stagnation.” I said, “But don’t worry, there’s nothing physically wrong with your liver…” I went on to explain that in Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, the liver governs a category of symptoms that relates to emotional regulation and flow. I was describing a constricted emotional flow, what we commonly refer to in the West as “stress”.

Acupuncturists and other East Asian practitioners can often sound like they are speaking another language, because in a way they are. I started college as a linguist and I have maintained that interest to this day, so I think of a lot of things in terms of “language”.

As Americans, we speak the “language” of Western medicine. During my internships at Regions hospital, Masonic Children’s Hospital and the University of Minnesota Medical Center I had to learn how to “translate” what I was saying because when I speak to my patients I often speak to them from the metaphor of Chinese medicine.

I’ve realized over time that it would be incredibly helpful to have a glossary for my patients to read, something I could reference over and over in future blog posts and newsletters.

So here it is: Acupuncture 101. I will cover some basic concepts (and misconceptions!) of commonly used words and phrases so that at your next appointment you can be prepared to talk to your acupuncturist.

What is qi? What are yin and yang? Check out this primer on Traditional Chinese Medicine and find out how to talk to your acupuncturist!

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Shonishin: Holistic infant and pediatric care

When we picture acupuncture, most of us see comfortable warm rooms with soft lighting and relaxing needle naps. Or for those of us who are familiar with community acupuncture, we see a group setting with people kicking back and healing together. What do all of these have in common?

Almost all of us are picturing adults.

But Traditional East Asian Medicine, or TEAM, isn’t just for adults. My most rewarding internship was at the Masonic Children’s Hospital in the Twin Cities, where I treated children (and their parents) for nausea and pain related to cancer treatments, anxiety, depression and many other conditions.

TEAM is a great way to support your child’s health. It can help them sleep better at night, even out their energy, support their digestion and bolster their lifelong vitality.

Go beyond infant massage

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Why you need to take a bed rest postpartum

The modern American approach to postpartum care is lackluster at best.

It starts in the hospital with medical staff not knowing how to educate mothers about the signs and symptoms they should look for postpartum. There are even stories of women returning to the hospital postpartum complaining of symptoms and being turned away only to find out that their conditions are serious and life threatening. Medical staff are there to support you, but in the overwhelm and the confusion postpartum overlooking symptoms isn’t uncommon.

Many traditional medicines are very clear - moms must take a bed rest postpartum. We tell moms to "resume normal activities." Is this ok?

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How to Pack the Ultimate Birth Center Go-Bag

My husband and I had to pack a birth center bag. Fortunately, we are list makers and preppers. Literally at this moment my husband is telling me how he’s going to consolidate all of our travelling gear while I’m gone so that we just need to go through it tomorrow morning. Hooray organization!

We were like this for the birth too, but almost everything we found for prepping for a birth was geared to a hospital birth. In hospital births, you need to plan to be there for a couple days. This means packing entertainment things, extra changes of clothes – so much stuff.

Birth centers are much more simple. I went into active labor at 5, my daughter was born at 9:30 and we were home by 2. So much less time away from home. As you can imagine, a birth center bag will look much different than a hospital bag – you just don’t need as much. Depending on the birth center, there may be additional things you’re allowed to bring that a hospital would not allow.
I wanted to share with you what we couldn’t find – a list of what to pack for the short trip. Feel free to download your copy of the checklist here.

Birth center bags and hospital bags are two different animals. Find out what to pack in your birth center bag in this blog post!

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Acupuncture for birth preparation and labor induction

The last few weeks of pregnancy are unique. You’re excited because you’re going to meet your new baby so soon! There’s anxiety because oh wow, there is so much still left to do. Maybe you’re  a little scared. And you might be frustrated because you’re big enough now that if you drop something on the floor that it lives there now.

You could be any of this and more. Every pregnancy is different, every woman is different but there is one thing that is pretty much constant across pregnancies:

You want it to be over and that 40 week mark is juuuuuuuust within your reach.

Are you looking for a natural means of labor induction? Or maybe you're looking to prepare for birth. Chinese Medicine may have your answer - acupuncture!

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