Zuo Yue Zi is a long-documented practice in China supporting women/new mothers after birth. It literally translates to “Doing the Month” – this is more commonly known in Western culture as the Golden Month after birth.
What is Zuo Yue Zi?
In China, this special time is characterised by 40 days of total rest with a heavy focus on Chinese diet therapy, hygiene and behavioural precautions. This allows for the birthing mother to rest and replenish her strength, while laying the foundation of her health as mother and care giver.
Why Zuo Yue Zi is crucial in postpartum recovery?
Sufficient postpartum care can provide the healthy foundation for the mother and the newborn but also pave the way for healthy pregnancies in the future. Zuo Yue Zi is even said to help the transition into menopause later in life.
From a Chinese medicine perspective, Zuo Yue Zi is crucial for the recovery of the birthing mother. Childbirth requires tremendous amount of energy, resulting in an imbalance of yin, yang, qi and blood. Due to the expenditure of energy and yang the mother is vulnerable to invasion of cold and wind which can cause illness or possible chronic health issues.
Rules of Zuo Yue Zi
Zuo Yue Zi is based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine to protect the new mother and prevent illness. During the 40 days it’s crucial for the mother to prioritise rest, do no housework, limit visitors, stay warm, minimise time spent outside and focus on a nourishing diet that replenishes and harmonises. Traditionally, new mothers are forbidden to wash their hair, go outside, watch TV or read and have zero visitors as it could deplete their energy and unnecessary drama could affect the new family.
How you can implement Zuo Yue Zi in your postpartum journey
Zuo Yue Zi is still practiced in China today and traditionally a care giver, aunty or mother would live with the new parents. They would cook, clean and assist in maintaining the household while the new parents spend time to rest and bond with their newborn. Translating these principles into postpartum life is difficult, which is why many women turn to Traditional Chinese Medicine while implementing Chinese diet therapy.
Diet Therapy during Zuo Yue Zi
Food is one of the most important aspects of “doing the month” with ingredients and herbs carefully selected for their warming and blood building properties while strengthening qi and yang. The meals consumed during this time are always abundant in nutrients, slow cooked, energetically warm, and easy to digest. This is to replenish blood, qi and yang lost during childbirth but also and gently correct any disharmonies. Raw and cold food and drink are to avoided during this time as they are hard to digest and deplete the energy of the already vulnerable mother.
Acupuncture, Herbs and Moxibustion
During this time Traditional Chinese Medicine can be extremely beneficial as it can help to balance emotions, improve energy, help with sleep patterns, promote lactation and perineal healing. It is recommended that acupuncture can be used 2 weeks after childbirth – ideally with a home visit session if possible. Once completing the month and feeling ready to leave the home, treatments in the clinic can commence.
If a home visit for acupuncture is not possible but you still want to follow the principles and access the benefits of a nourishing treatment – here are some ideas. Try to get someone to take you to your session so you don’t have to drive, make sure you are warmly and snuggly dressed, plan to come directly to the clinic and go home again (no ducking into the shops!) and take time to rest (with a warm bath or warm cup of your Chinese herbs or breastfeeding tea) afterwards.
In clinic, moxibustion (moxa) is used to stimulate the points and meridians to improve circulation, relieve pain, boost energy, dispel cold and warm the body. After childbirth the moxa is used on the abdomen to warm the channel, stop bleeding and help treat postpartum urinary retention. Moxibustion (moxa) is dried mugwort and is commonly referred as Mother Warming during postpartum period. The use of moxa helps energise the mother and facilitate recovery.
Are you in the postpartum period yourself, or do you know someone who would benefit from this style of care and treatment? Book with Acupuncturist, Meghan, by navigating to bookings > Acupuncture > Acupuncture INITIAL (60 mins)