Nourishing New Mothers: Traditional Chinese Medicine for Postpartum Depletion

Postpartum depletion service in Nurtured Birth Clinic Melbourne

Welcoming a new life into the world is a joyous occasion, but it’s also a time of immense physical and emotional changes for mothers. The postpartum period, often referred to as the “fourth trimester,” is a critical time for a mother’s recovery and well-being. However, many women experience postpartum depletion, characterised by fatigue, hormonal imbalances, and overall weakness. In this blog, we’ll explore how Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers holistic support to new mothers, addressing postpartum depletion and enhancing their overall health and vitality.

Understanding Postpartum Depletion:

Postpartum depletion is a common phenomenon among new mothers, characterised by exhaustion, mood swings, insomnia, and difficulty concentrating. These symptoms often stem from the physical demands of childbirth, hormonal fluctuations, sleep deprivation, and the stress of caring for a newborn. Left unaddressed, postpartum depletion can have long-term consequences on a mother’s health and well-being.

TCM Approach to Postpartum Care:

Traditional Chinese Medicine takes a holistic approach to postpartum care, recognising the interconnectedness of body, mind, and spirit. TCM views childbirth as a significant physiological event that depletes a woman’s Qi (vital energy) and Blood (vital substance). Therefore, the focus of postpartum care in TCM is on replenishing Qi and Blood, restoring balance, and supporting the body’s natural healing processes.

Key Components of TCM Postpartum Care:

  1. Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a cornerstone of TCM postpartum care, offering numerous benefits for new mothers. Acupuncture treatments can help regulate hormone levels, alleviate postpartum pain, promote relaxation, and enhance overall well-being. By targeting specific acupuncture points, practitioners can address common postpartum symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, and mood swings.
  2. Herbal Medicine: Herbal medicine plays a vital role in TCM postpartum care, providing nourishment and support to a woman’s body during the recovery process. Chinese herbal formulas are carefully tailored to address each mother’s unique needs, promoting Qi and Blood circulation, tonifying the organs, and restoring vitality. Common postpartum herbs include Dang Gui (Angelica sinensis), Shu Di Huang (Rehmannia glutinosa), and Huang Qi (Astragalus membranaceus).
  3. Dietary Therapy: TCM emphasises the importance of nourishing foods in postpartum recovery. According to TCM principles, warm, nourishing foods are recommended to replenish Qi and Blood and support lactation. Foods such as bone broth, congee, leafy greens, and lean proteins are rich in essential nutrients and can help strengthen the body after childbirth.
  4. Rest and Relaxation: Rest is paramount in TCM postpartum care, allowing the body to recover from the rigours of childbirth. New mothers are encouraged to prioritise rest and relaxation, minimising stress and conserving their energy reserves. Gentle exercises such as Qi Gong or Tai Chi may also be recommended to promote circulation and balance.

How Many Treatments are Needed?

The number of TCM treatments needed for postpartum care varies depending on individual factors such as the mother’s health, the mode of delivery, and the presence of any complications. In general, a series of acupuncture treatments may be recommended in the weeks following childbirth to support the body’s recovery process. Typically, new mothers may benefit from weekly acupuncture sessions for the first 4-6 weeks postpartum, followed by bi-weekly or monthly sessions as needed.


In the whirlwind of new motherhood, it’s essential for women to prioritise their own health and well-being. Traditional Chinese Medicine offers valuable support to new mothers during the postpartum period, addressing postpartum depletion and promoting a swift and smooth recovery. Through acupuncture, herbal medicine, dietary therapy, and restorative practices, TCM provides holistic care that nourishes the body, balances the mind, and strengthens the spirit. With the right support and guidance, new mothers can embrace motherhood with vitality, resilience, and joy.

Some books that we love here in clinic that further deep dive into this topic are:

  • The Postnatal Depletion Cure by Oscar Serrallach
  • Life After Birth by Jessica Prescott and Vaughne Geary
  • The First Forty Days by Heng Ou
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