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Guidance for Postpartum Mother’s Health and Appearance

26 Feb 2024

By: Aileen Chua

Article, Blog, Physician Chua 蔡医师, Pregnancy, TCM Food

by Physician Aileen Chua Goal: The goal for postpartum recovery is to ensure that the body goes back to the pre-pregnancy state, or even better. The womb has provided all of its nutrients to the baby and we need to replenish the loss. The body is “empty” and we need to fill it up. During this time, we have to work on replenishing Qi and blood, prevent wind from entering the body, maintain circulation, remove water retention, strengthen the bones and muscles and take care of the mental wellbeing of the mother. Motherhood can be physically and mentally taxing, and this is the golden period to brace the body for it. This postpartum recovery can last between 28 days to 3 months, you can choose how long you want to adhere to the postpartum recovery routine for. /*! elementor - v3.21.0 - 26-05-2024 */ .elementor-widget-divider{--divider-border-style:none;--divider-border-width:1px;--divider-color:#0c0d0e;--divider-icon-size:20px;--divider-element-spacing:10px;--divider-pattern-height:24px;--divider-pattern-size:20px;--divider-pattern-url:none;--divider-pattern-repeat:repeat-x}.elementor-widget-divider .elementor-divider{display:flex}.elementor-widget-divider .elementor-divider__text{font-size:15px;line-height:1;max-width:95%}.elementor-widget-divider .elementor-divider__element{margin:0 var(--divider-element-spacing);flex-shrink:0}.elementor-widget-divider .elementor-icon{font-size:var(--divider-icon-size)}.elementor-widget-divider .elementor-divider-separator{display:flex;margin:0;direction:ltr}.elementor-widget-divider--view-line_icon .elementor-divider-separator,.elementor-widget-divider--view-line_text .elementor-divider-separator{align-items:center}.elementor-widget-divider--view-line_icon .elementor-divider-separator:after,.elementor-widget-divider--view-line_icon .elementor-divider-separator:before,.elementor-widget-divider--view-line_text .elementor-divider-separator:after,.elementor-widget-divider--view-line_text .elementor-divider-separator:before{display:block;content:"";border-block-end:0;flex-grow:1;border-block-start:var(--divider-border-width) var(--divider-border-style) var(--divider-color)}.elementor-widget-divider--element-align-left .elementor-divider .elementor-divider-separator>.elementor-divider__svg:first-of-type{flex-grow:0;flex-shrink:100}.elementor-widget-divider--element-align-left .elementor-divider-separator:before{content:none}.elementor-widget-divider--element-align-left .elementor-divider__element{margin-left:0}.elementor-widget-divider--element-align-right .elementor-divider .elementor-divider-separator>.elementor-divider__svg:last-of-type{flex-grow:0;flex-shrink:100}.elementor-widget-divider--element-align-right .elementor-divider-separator:after{content:none}.elementor-widget-divider--element-align-right .elementor-divider__element{margin-right:0}.elementor-widget-divider--element-align-start .elementor-divider .elementor-divider-separator>.elementor-divider__svg:first-of-type{flex-grow:0;flex-shrink:100}.elementor-widget-divider--element-align-start .elementor-divider-separator:before{content:none}.elementor-widget-divider--element-align-start .elementor-divider__element{margin-inline-start:0}.elementor-widget-divider--element-align-end .elementor-divider .elementor-divider-separator>.elementor-divider__svg:last-of-type{flex-grow:0;flex-shrink:100}.elementor-widget-divider--element-align-end .elementor-divider-separator:after{content:none}.elementor-widget-divider--element-align-end .elementor-divider__element{margin-inline-end:0}.elementor-widget-divider:not(.elementor-widget-divider--view-line_text):not(.elementor-widget-divider--view-line_icon) .elementor-divider-separator{border-block-start:var(--divider-border-width) var(--divider-border-style) var(--divider-color)}.elementor-widget-divider--separator-type-pattern{--divider-border-style:none}.elementor-widget-divider--separator-type-pattern.elementor-widget-divider--view-line .elementor-divider-separator,.elementor-widget-divider--separator-type-pattern:not(.elementor-widget-divider--view-line) .elementor-divider-separator:after,.elementor-widget-divider--separator-type-pattern:not(.elementor-widget-divider--view-line) .elementor-divider-separator:before,.elementor-widget-divider--separator-type-pattern:not([class*=elementor-widget-divider--view]) .elementor-divider-separator{width:100%;min-height:var(--divider-pattern-height);-webkit-mask-size:var(--divider-pattern-size) 100%;mask-size:var(--divider-pattern-size) 100%;-webkit-mask-repeat:var(--divider-pattern-repeat);mask-repeat:var(--divider-pattern-repeat);background-color:var(--divider-color);-webkit-mask-image:var(--divider-pattern-url);mask-image:var(--divider-pattern-url)}.elementor-widget-divider--no-spacing{--divider-pattern-size:auto}.elementor-widget-divider--bg-round{--divider-pattern-repeat:round}.rtl .elementor-widget-divider .elementor-divider__text{direction:rtl}.e-con-inner>.elementor-widget-divider,.e-con>.elementor-widget-divider{width:var(--container-widget-width,100%);--flex-grow:var(--container-widget-flex-grow)} Common Postpartum Problems Emotions Fatigue Pain from delivery Breastmilk supply or Engorgement Heatiness Weight loss Food to take for Postpartum Recovery To take food and herbs that help with the following: 1. Remove clots to clear the womb2. Remove water retention3. Help with wound recovery4. Ensure good blood circulation 5. Replenish the nutrients 6. Warm the womb 7. Remove “wind” from the body8. Increase flow of breastmilk, as well as maintain good flow of the breast milk to prevent painful engorgement. /*! elementor - v3.21.0 - 26-05-2024 */ .elementor-column .elementor-spacer-inner{height:var(--spacer-size)}.e-con{--container-widget-width:100%}.e-con-inner>.elementor-widget-spacer,.e-con>.elementor-widget-spacer{width:var(--container-widget-width,var(--spacer-size));--align-self:var(--container-widget-align-self,initial);--flex-shrink:0}.e-con-inner>.elementor-widget-spacer>.elementor-widget-container,.e-con>.elementor-widget-spacer>.elementor-widget-container{height:100%;width:100%}.e-con-inner>.elementor-widget-spacer>.elementor-widget-container>.elementor-spacer,.e-con>.elementor-widget-spacer>.elementor-widget-container>.elementor-spacer{height:100%}.e-con-inner>.elementor-widget-spacer>.elementor-widget-container>.elementor-spacer>.elementor-spacer-inner,.e-con>.elementor-widget-spacer>.elementor-widget-container>.elementor-spacer>.elementor-spacer-inner{height:var(--container-widget-height,var(--spacer-size))}.e-con-inner>.elementor-widget-spacer.elementor-widget-empty,.e-con>.elementor-widget-spacer.elementor-widget-empty{position:relative;min-height:22px;min-width:22px}.e-con-inner>.elementor-widget-spacer.elementor-widget-empty .elementor-widget-empty-icon,.e-con>.elementor-widget-spacer.elementor-widget-empty .elementor-widget-empty-icon{position:absolute;top:0;bottom:0;left:0;right:0;margin:auto;padding:0;width:22px;height:22px} For womb and general health recovery: 1. Ginger (Bentong Ginger)2. Turmeric (Can add turmeric powder to a warm cup of milk)3. Sesame Oil4. Black Vinegar5. Rice Wine6. D.O.M Benedictine (in moderation, 1-2times a week) To increase breastmilk supply and replenish nutrients for the postpartum body: Green Papaya Fish (Salmon, Cod Fish, Threadfin) Meat (Black chicken, lean pork meat, beef, pork liver and kidney) Oats Almonds & Sesame seeds Dark green vegetables or spinach, broccoli, green peas, black beans, red beans Herbal soups with meat General Herbs for Postpartum Recovery Week 1: Focus on blood circulation to help with clearing the womb and water retention Help with the production of breastmilk Nourish the digestive system to improve appetite to help replenish nutrients lost Herbs: 生化汤、四神汤、麦芽 Week 2: Focus on replenishing Qi and Blood Continue to nourish the digestive system Continue to help production of breast milk, at the same time help with the smooth flow of milk Herbs: 八珍汤、四神汤、麦芽 Week 3 & 4: Same as Week 2 Work on nourishing the kidneys and rejuvenate the reproductive system To strengthen the lower back, bones and muscles Herbs: 八珍汤、四神汤、杜仲、泡参、花胶 Daily Herbal Tea usually includes: Red dates 红枣 Longan 龙眼肉 Wolfberries 枸杞子 Codonopsis Radix 党参 Drink throughout the day, supplement with warm water if you feel heaty or thirsty easily.   If you need a set of herbs specially tailored to your individual body constitution, feel free to drop by our clinics for a consultation with any of our physicians from Week 34 onwards! 🙂 Self Care Services to Engage in: Confinement nanny: Nanny to help to look after your newborn while you recuperate, so that you can rest properly for this period and only have to focus on breastfeeding (pumping/latching), sleeping, getting used to motherhood and regulating the emotions. Postpartum massage: Helps with increasing milk supply, prevents engorgement, reduces water retention, helps the uterus contract back to its original size, reduces muscles tensions. Emotionally: You might feel very emotional due to the changes your body is going through, many focus on how labour is going to be, but there is very little information about how you will feel after the delivery. Breastfeeding can be painful and stressful too. Engorgement and low milk supply each has its own set of problems. You can be constantly tired due to the feeding and interrupted sleep, the body will also naturally feel more tired after going through so much, from pregnancy to delivery. There might be postpartum pain lasting 1-2 weeks. For mummies who went through C-Sec, the pain might last longer. You are constantly feeling hot and sticky, and maybe smelly, all these might make you feel just lousy about yourself. Rest as much as you can when possible, try to outsource for help as much as you can. Focus on your recovery and feeding the baby. If you are feeling down all the time, it would be good to seek professional help. In terms of TCM, acupuncture and cupping can help with postpartum blues by relieving tension, helping with sleep and calming the body. Physically: Shower (herbal bath to help remove wind and warm the body, you can wash your hair once every 1-3 days but wash in the day and blow dry immediately). Wear long pants and slippers at home to keep warm and prevent cold, wind and dampness from entering the weakened body. Avoid being in direct contact of wind, because the pores are open during confinement and the body is deficient in Qi & blood, which makes wind, dampness and cold easy to enter the body, resulting in aches, skin allergies etc. in the long run. Pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor. This helps prevent postpartum incontinence or frequent urination.
TCM Perspective on Foods to Avoid during Pregnancy

13 Jun 2023

By: Aileen Chua

Article, Physician Chua 蔡医师, Pregnancy, TCM Food

by Physician Aileen Chua Congratulations on your pregnancy! Now that you have a new life growing in you, naturally you would be more careful on what foods to avoid, especially for first time mums. Most of us know that we have to avoid raw and undercooked meat, unpasteurized soft cheese and seafood high in mercury during pregnancy. But are there other foods we need to avoid?  In TCM, we believe that a warm and nutritious womb helps with the growth of your baby. Different body constitution can lead to different discomfort during pregnancy. And that during pregnancy, foods that increase circulation should be avoided. Hence, I have compiled a list of foods to avoid or take in moderation during pregnancy based on the TCM perspective. I hope this can help you with your pregnancy journey 🙂  1) Avoid foods that are cooling in nature Avoid foods that are cooling in nature, especially during the first trimester (12 weeks of pregnancy) as this is the time when the main organs of your baby are forming. Vegetables that are cold in nature are more cooling when cooked in soup than when you pan fry them. Hence, if you really have a craving for any of these vegetables, you can pan fry them with ginger and sesame oil to reduce their cooling nature. For the fruits listed, if you want to eat them, have them in the daytime, and after meals, to reduce the cold effect on your body. 2) Avoid foods that cause bloating Avoid foods that cause bloating, especially in the first trimester. Ladies who have a weak digestive system tend to experience nausea or bloating when they are pregnant, especially in the first trimester. Hence, it is important to know which foods can cause bloating so that you can avoid them. Not all of the food listed below will affect you, different food might affect different people. So observe how your body reacts to different foods and eliminate them accordingly. 3) Avoid foods that are high in sugar and fats Avoid foods that are high in sugar and fats. During pregnancy, you might feel hungry all the time, or have cravings for all sorts of food. While it is a natural instinct to fill your tummy and to get your cravings satisfied, it is also important to eat healthily and watch the calories intake. Foods high in sugar and fats can lead to unhealthy weight gain, which might lead to gestational diabetes or having an oversized baby which can make labour tougher. Avoid these foods especially in the second and third trimester, as this is when most of the weight is gained. 4) Avoid foods that increase circulation Avoid foods that increase circulation from the beginning of the pregnancy till week 36, as it could increase the risk of uterus contraction and bleeding. 5) Take in moderation foods high in Vitamin K Take in moderation foods high in Vitamin K throughout the pregnancy, as it might affect blood supply to the baby. This applies especially to ladies who used to have sticky blood during their period, or whose babies are growing at a slower rate, or are taking aspirin during the pregnancy.