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Prenatal and Postnatal Qi

Our bodies only have a certain amount of qi, or energy, at any given time.  There are numerous types of qi.  Our bodies as a microsystem are no exception (numerous functions, numerous types of qi), but when it comes to the qi that helps us carry from day to day, we can look at two particular types: our prenatal and postnatal qi.  The former is what is given to use by our parents at the time of conception, and the latter is what we get from the air that we breathe and the food that we eat.  Together, they provide the qi that we all use each day to walk, talk, work, and generally do most things in our daily lives. 

Prenatal qi, as mentioned above, is the qi of both the mother and father in the form of the egg and sperm.  Inherent in them both is the qi for life to be started and to create a reaction to provide the connection in the uterus and placenta to further gain nutrients and qi from the mother for the next 9 months.  The general health of the mother and father help to determine the overall health and strength of the baby through its development.  For example, older parents have a higher risk of developmental disorders in the child.  The relative qi of the parents may not be as abundant or virile as parents of a younger age.  However, even young parents can have health conditions that can affect the prenatal qi of the child.  Even from a biomedical perspective, the egg and sperm together are what give us our various genes, our dispositions and constitutions.  These can be seen as various manifestations of prenatal qi, which will affect the shape our character, our behavior, or predisposition for certain ailments.  As we age, we lose our prenatal qi.  As it diminishes, we will experience old age and eventually death.  We can see those who have used their prenatal qi too quickly, and thus age much faster; and conversely, those who seem to keep a ‘youth’ well into a mature age.

Postnatal qi is all the qi gained after birth.  Again, our nutrition and air quality have an effect on the quality of qi that we use every day.  We have to eat and breathe all the time to maintain a certain amount of daily qi that we use constantly.  Therefore, the food that we eat everyday can be seen as integral to our overall health and wellbeing our entire life.  What are we eating? Are we able to digest and absorb the nutrients and qi we need?  On the same level, are we breathing in a way that is relaxed and uses our lungs fully?  Or is it shallow and frequently constricted?  We need both food qi and air qi to form usable postnatal qi.  When we deplete this qi, or don’t supplement it well enough, we tap into our prenatal qi to continue on.  This, as discussed above, ages us, for when there is no more prenatal qi, there is no more life.

Therefore, we can see how, on a daily basis, our ability to function is a product of both prenatal and postnatal qi.  There are many ways to supplement and maintain a strong postnatal qi beyond just food and air.  Stress, overwork, or lack of sleep, etc., have negative effects upon our wellbeing.  Although we can argue to what extent these things are inevitable in our lives, we can also look at them as a source of how to reflect upon the general state of our life and lifestyles as a means to best carry on as long as possible in a balanced and healthy way.

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