Traditional Chinese medicine perspective on constitution transformations in perinatal women: A prospective longitudinal study

Shih Hsien Kuo, Hsiao Ling Wang, Tzu Chi Lee, Te Fu Chan, Fan Hao Chou*, Lih Mih Chen, Wei Ting Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Pregnancy is an important stage in life for many women. Humans are complex organisms that are prone to exhibiting gradual alterations in their constitutions that fluctuate with age, diet, and living environment. This is particularly true during the pre- and postnatal periods, in which qi and blood are required to ensure foetal growth. Aim: To examine women's constitutional transformation of pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, and postpartum. Methods: A prospective, longitudinal study was conducted, and structural questionnaires were used to collect data. The participants were healthy pregnant women 21-49 years of age. Data were collected at six times: during the first (weeks 6-13), second (weeks 14-27), and third (weeks 28-40) trimesters and during the postnatal admission (1-week postnatal) and home self-care (6-week and 6-month postnatal) periods, yielding 86 valid questionnaires. A cubic polynomial regression analyses with generalised estimation equations (GEEs) method was used to reveal the trend of constitution score by different constitutions. Findings: Significant differences (. p<. .0001) for the scores of Yang-Xu (yang-deficiency), Yin-Xu (yin-deficiency), and Tan-Shi-Yu-Zhi (phlegm-dampness and blood-stasis) constitutions were observed at pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, and 6 months postpartum. A least significant difference test showed that the scores obtained in the pregnancy period and at 6 months postpartum were higher than those of pre-pregnancy, indicating mitigated constitutional imbalance during postpartum. The highest scores of the Yang-Xu and Tan-Shi-Yu-Zhi constitutions occurred in the first trimester (36.02. ± 8.00 vs. 30.00. ± 7.21), and the highest scores of Yin-Xu constitution occurred in the third trimester (32.95 ± 7.48). The lowest scores of the Yang-Xu constitution were obtained at 6 months postpartum (25.24. ± 5.63) and during pre-pregnancy (25.26. ± 4.82), and those of the Yin-Xu and Tan-Shi-Yu-Zhi constitutions were observed in the pre-pregnancy (25.48. ± 4.46 vs. 19.94. ± 3.09). The 6-month postnatal scores of the Yang-Xu constitution nearly recovered to the prenatal level, whereas those of the other two constitutions did not. Conclusion: The results indicate that women's constitutions underwent changes throughout the perinatal stages. These findings provide a valuable reference for healthcare professionals in administering perinatal care and demonstrate empirical evidence for use in future intervention-based research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-111
Number of pages6
JournalWomen and Birth
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jun 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Constitution
  • Postpartum
  • Pregnancy
  • Traditional Chinese medicine
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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