Disorders Following Childbirth

Post-Natal Depression

Post-natal depression is easily explained in Oriental medicine. The physical exertion and loss of blood experienced during childbirth induce a state of blood deficiency. Since the heart houses the mind and governs the blood, heart-blood deficiency causes the mind to become depressed and anxious. This causes a state of depression, mild anxiety, insomnia and fatigue. On a mental level, the mother feels unable to cope, becomes more tearful, loses libido, and feels angry or upset.

Persistent Lochial Discharge

Persistent lochial discharge consists of a lochial discharge that goes on for longer than normal and continues to be red rather than yellowish in color.

There are three pathogens to cause persistent lochial discharge:

  1. Excessive and long labor depletes Qi. When Qi is deficient, it fails to gather blood, which may leak out causing lochial bleeding with pale blood.
  2. Invasion of cold during or after delivery affects the blood vessels and the Uterus; Cold slows down the circulation of blood and may cause stasis of blood. Stagnant blood obstructs the blood vessels and the Uterus so that newly generated Blood has nowhere to go and bleeding results.
  3. Excessive loss of blood during childbirth injures blood and Yin; in women with a pre-existing condition of Yin Deficiency, this leads to severe Yin deficiency with Empty Heat. Heat enters the blood portion and makes it reckless, causing it to spill out of the blood vessels.

Sweating

After childbirth, Qi and blood are deficient and skin pores are open. Sweating is likely to occur when eating or during sleep. It usually stops spontaneously in a few days. Profuse sweating that continues for a long time is pathological. Sweating after childbirth is one of the three acute conditions during the postpartum stage.

Prolonged labor taxes the woman’s Qi greatly. Deficient Qi fails to hold the fluids in the space between skin and muscles and they leak out in the form of sweat.

Constipation after Childbirth

Constipation occurring after childbirth in a woman who previously had regular bowel movements is always due to Blood Deficiency and dehydration following excessive blood loss during labor. When blood and fluids are exhausted, the Large Intestine is affected and deficiency of fluids in the organ makes the passage of stools difficult.

Joint Pain

Joint pain after childbirth includes pain, soreness, numbness, or feeling of heaviness in the joints, back or knees. Profuse blood loss during labor leads to severe Blood Deficiency after childbirth; the deficient blood fails to nourish the channels and the sinews and this causes a pain. Also external wind pathogen may invade the channels and settle in the joints causing pain. A woman is more prone to such invasion after childbirth because the channels are in a weakened state due to Blood deficiency and the space between the skin and muscles is empty due to Qi deficiency