In the movies, women have a healthy delivery and shed tears of sheer joy as they gaze adoringly down at their tiny, new baby. Yet, anyone who’s had a human being exit their body, knows it’s usually more complicated than that. With hormones going crazy, feelings of doubt, anxiety and, sometimes, a little sadness cropping up, exhaustion that runs bone deep and most likely, physical pain, the love and excitement are just part of a rollercoaster of emotions. Throw in a caesarian section and now you’re recovering from major surgery to boot.

The authors of a single-blind, randomized controlled study, published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies, noted that anxiety and fatigue have a negative effect on women’s postpartum recovery, yet there aren’t many effective pharmacological interventions that can relieve these common, unpleasant symptoms. The researchers aimed to examine the effectiveness of auricular acupressure in reducing anxiety, fatigue, cortisol levels, blood pressure and heart rate after a caesarian section.

Women who underwent a C-section were randomly assigned to two groups: intervention and control. The intervention group received auricular acupressure on the shenmen point twice a day, while the control group received the usual postpartum care. The researchers measured serum cortisol levels, heart rate, blood pressure, anxiety and fatigue.

Of the 76 women who finished the study, the ones who received auricular acupressure, had significantly lower mean cortisol levels, heart rate, fatigue symptoms and anxiety symptoms five days postpartum than those in the control group. The results illustrate that auricular acupressure is an effective non-pharmacological way to combat these problems in the first few days after a C-section to aid in recovery.

As a form of auricular acupressure, ear seeds are a way to exert steady, gentle pressure on the shenmen point, which can ease anxiety, stress, depression, insomnia and pain. While most Western doctors probably won’t break out the vaccaria seeds in the maternity wing, expecting mothers can talk with their healthcare practitioner about using EarSeeds during the postpartum period as a natural way to address uncomfortable symptoms. Check out our Postpartum EarSeeds kit  which contains points appropriate for use up to 2 years after giving birth.