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Can Broths and Baths Help the Baby Blues? Where Indigenous Wisdom Meets Functional Medicine

by Ihotu Jennifer Ali, MPH, LMT, CLC
  • Duration: 1439 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 R-CERP, 0.1 Midwifery CEU
  • Handout: No

Indigenous practices around pregnancy, birth and postpartum have become wildly popular, and some even controversial, from rebozo belly sifting and Bengkung binding to herbal massage oils and vaginal steams. This presentation will dive deeper to explore the theories and assumptions behind certain lineages of indigenous postpartum care (Traditional Chinese Medicine, Mayan and Nigerian), their analysis of the postpartum body as in a “cold state,” and common warming foods and practices. We will also look at the theories behind functional medicine and compare the two perspectives – both ancient and emerging science - in their common view of the postpartum body as being in a depleted state in need of nourishment.

Given the lack of standard postpartum care and the high rates of postpartum depression and mood disorders, a family-oriented and public health approach is proposed here, at the intersection of both indigenous and functional medicine. Both early research and generational wisdom suggest that integrative postpartum care focusing on regular warm broths and baths, anti-inflammatory foods, and nourishing the hormonal, digestive and circulatory systems can relieve new parents’ swelling, joint pain, constipation, hot flashes, energy and mood, especially for those with health conditions, after a difficult pregnancy, or a long or traumatic birth.

Learning Objectives:

Objective 1: Discuss indigenous postpartum foods and practices as centered around extended family support, and based on the globally widespread concept “warming” the body from a “cold” state of losing the heat and fluids of pregnancy.;

Objective 2: Discuss a functional medicine view on the postpartum body as a depleted state, with respect to adrenal and thyroid function, loss of progesterone, sluggish circulation and digestive systems, and possible connections to postpartum mood.;

Objective 3: List specific foods, spices, supplements, practices, and affordable ways that friends, family, and birth professionals can support postpartum families, especially those with previous history of health challenges, difficult pregnancies, or long or traumatic births.;

Categories: Midwifery
Presentations: 6  |  Hours / CE Credits: 6  |  Viewing Time: 4 Weeks