What Is Confinement In Pregnancy
There are several Asian societies that practise postpartum confinement. It comprises customs that have been passed down from our ancestors and are intended to aid new mums in recovering from postpartum discomforts. The mother and child are strongly advised to remain indoors during the confinement period in order to prevent future illness.
Some of the confinement methods may have been observed and exposed to by your parents or elders. Do you support these methods? How many of them are reliable and ought to be acted upon? Let’s find out!
Image source: iStock
Zuo Yue Zi, or “sitting the month,” is a Chinese medical practice that dates back to the Han Dynasty and involves reclining down.
In accordance with the custom, new parents and their infants would remain indoors so that their bodies could recover. Additionally, they would abide by other prohibitions including no guests, no washing, and food limitations.
Even now, immigrant communities in the United States and East and Southeast Asia still practise Zuo Yue Zi.
Similar lying-in postpartum cultural customs have existed in other tribes and nations for thousands of years, promoting healing and breastfeeding to ensure the baby’s survival (because formula wasn’t yet invented).
Up until the World Wars, it was common practice for new parents in the United States to stay in a hospital bed for about a week following delivery. However, for parents who could afford to sleep in later, it would frequently continue even after they arrived home.
What Is The Purpose Of Chinese Confinement
- To give the new mother time to recuperate and spend quality time with the child
- After delivery, the reproductive organs go through some modifications, therefore confinement promotes healing.
- The confinement food menu was also designed to hasten the mother’s recovery from her physically “weak” state. This special diet consists of foods for confinement that are intended to do specific tasks, such as removing “wind” from the body, reducing heat, enhancing blood circulation, increasing the mother’s milk supply, reviving strength, etc.
- in order to avoid postpartum illnesses like early labour, rheumatism, backaches, and hair loss.
Although the confinement time is often completed in 30 days, it is not uncommon to extend it to 40 days.
Is Confinement After Birth Necessary?
Even though confinement may appear archaic in today’s world, it helps support new mothers through their most trying times. Mothers are required to follow a specific diet and dress in a particular way for a month during this time.
The mother has to be confined since it aids in her physical recovery and provides her time to get used to the new family member. Your emotions may be impacted by the pain you feel during delivery, and this could get worse if you are exposed to outside disruptions.
In rare cases, the mother might recognise the importance of solitude and even ask for a longer time frame. The confinement nanny in such circumstances should be prepared to accommodate such requests. Here are some explanations of why confinement practice is still important today despite modernisation and lifestyle changes.
Chinese Confinement Rules
Your body needs a time of confinement to recover from childbirth. For Asians, the concept of imprisonment is particularly common. Numerous cultural practices and ideas about confinement in Asia have little to no scientific support. Chinese culture has the following restrictions on confinement:
- In order to minimise outdoor pollutants and wind, new mothers should stay inside.
- To prevent further muscular exhaustion, strenuous exercise is discouraged
- Avoid washing your body or your hair, especially with cold water.
- Avoid air conditioning, fans, and wind.
- Refrain from moving about; laying on your back in bed is excellent.
- Never enter someone else’s home.
- Avoid becoming sick.
- Avoid crying or reading.
- Avoid having sex.
- Avoid dining with relatives.
- Avoid going to a temple or altar, or burning incense.
Confinement Rules You Can Follow
1. Let someone else handle the household duties.
After pregnancy, new mothers need to get enough sleep. This would enable the mother’s womb to heal and return to its initial condition. You could assist yourself in handling housework and child care by hiring a helper or confinement nanny.
But you don’t have to spend all of your time in bed to get enough rest. To assist lower the danger of blood clots, you are permitted to take a brief stroll and move around if you find it comfortable.
2. You may read!
Reading during labour is thought to impair eyesight because of blood loss and a weaker liver from childbirth. While it’s true that women should receive enough rest while they’re in labour, engaging in activities like reading can make the time pass more amusing.
3. Avoid lifting heavy things
For women who underwent caesarean delivery, this is analogous to not completing household tasks. For the first few weeks, it is advised to avoid lifting anything heavy because your wound has not yet entirely healed.
Confinement Rules You Can Break
1. I cannot bathe or wash my hair
Warm water can be used for a bath, and you can dry it off right away. Before taking a bath, make sure to close all of your doors and windows to prevent being exposed to the outdoor breeze once you’ve finished.
When your body and hair are still damp from the shower, avoid going into an air-conditioned room or having a fan blowing straight at you. In addition, taking a herbal bath can lift your spirits, help you get rid of wind, and ease postpartum discomforts.
2. I can’t consume plain water
According to traditional belief, new mums should refrain from drinking plain water during their confinement and are only permitted to consume red dates tea.
The fact is that you need to drink enough water to stay hydrated, especially if you are a breastfeeding mother. You can consume plain water while you are in labour to stay hydrated and to help your kidneys continue to produce more urine in the first few weeks after giving birth.
3. I should only consume meat, liver and herbs
In order to replenish blood lost during pregnancy and breastfeeding, new mothers should have a balanced diet during confinement. The idea behind this is to satisfy the desire for consuming enough foods that are “hot,” like meat, liver, and ginger.
Well, eating these things is not an issue. In fact, foods including beef, pork intestines, and ginger include nutrients that support lactation and healing. Mothers should consume other things as well to heal, though. A balanced diet is necessary for your body to heal.
Pregnancy Confinement Before Birth
Image source: iStock
Sometimes referred to as pre- or postpartum confinement, lying in. In order to lower the risk of pregnancy or postpartum issues, such as preterm labour or bleeding, it is a method where a pregnant person restricts their mobility both before and after giving birth.
It frequently entails bed rest, which involves spending the majority of the day lying in bed or sprawled out on a couch. In some cases, it could entail being confined to a hospital bed while being connected to monitoring.
In Western medicine, bed rest prior to delivery was once frequently advised for women with higher-risk pregnancies.
In several parts of the world, it is still common practice to lie down right after giving birth.
Chinese Confinement Food
Our list of confinement tips would not be complete without discussing a very important aspect – food.
The core of this technique is a diet that emphasises restoring “chi,” or energy force, the balance of yin and yang. It is followed during the confinement month. According to traditional Chinese medicine, yin, or cold, foods should be avoided, and special confinement meals should be consumed.
The first week emphasises foods designed to drain out any leftover placental blood; the second week includes collagen- and iron-rich soups, frequently cooked with organ meat; and the third week emphasises foods designed to support a good milk supply. These filling dishes include Chinese herbs.
For meals while you’re confined, pay attention to the following:
- Low-fat, high-protein foods
Our bodies’ internal repair and wound healing processes are aided by protein. Low-fat foods are meant to stop dyspepsia.
- Frequent little meals
You may have 6 to 7 tiny meals during the day—3 main meals and soups and teas in between meals. It will support you throughout the day and shield you from indigestion.
- Sufficient calories
Throughout the confinement period, there is a lot of sleeping. Even though the postpartum mother doesn’t move around much, she still needs enough calories to aid in recuperation, provide her with the stamina she needs to care for a baby, and support breastfeeding.
When you consume enough calories, you shouldn’t fill up on “empty calories” (stuff that provides little nutritional value aside from helping you reach your daily calorie goal).
Image source: iStock
To provide enough calories, teas including red dates tea, dang shen tea, goji berry tea, and Chinese herbal soup are frequently utilised.
- Iron-rich foods
It is crucial to consume foods high in iron, such as animal offal, pork, poultry, fish, and dark green vegetables, as blood was lost during labour and/or a C-section.
- Sufficient hydration
The idea that a postpartum mother shouldn’t drink water while in confinement is untrue. It’s crucial to stay hydrated by drinking milk, water, Chinese herbal tea, and soup. Steer clear of coffee and tea.
- Consists of dietary fibre
Because of the reduced exercise level and the widespread misconception that no vegetables should be consumed while confined, constipation is a regular problem. Read on for more information.
The Chinese diet traditionally includes a lot of sesame oil, ginger, and alcohol. Common dishes served in imprisonment are:
- cooking pigs trotters in vinegar and ginger
- Fish soup cooked in papaya is thought to increase milk production.
- Sesame oil-cooked chicken
- a classic tonic made with ten herbs
- Pork kidney and liver
Others might also:
- Consume five to six meals each day, and wash the rice bowl in scalding water afterwards.
- To prevent water retention while confined, refrain from drinking water and opt for a carefully crafted beverage made from herbs and preserved dates.
- Steer clear of raw, “cooling,” and dishes that were prepared the day before.
Confinement Do’s And Don’ts
Here’s a list of dos and don’ts for confinement and post-pregnancy for all you new mums.
Image source: iStock
If you’re somebody who used to excel in multitasking, it’s time to relinquish that title for a while. Caring for your baby and getting enough rest alone will keep you busy daily.
Let hubby attend to matters for a while.
Everything can be shelved; only attend to matters if it needs immediate attention. Don’t commit yourself to any strenuous activity such as moving house or racquetball playing.
For the first 40 days even if you’re up and about a few days after giving birth. Your body is still not ready for high-impact workouts for several weeks.
Although most mothers are usually back on their feet within two weeks of giving birth, they are better off restricting themselves to low-impact activities. It’s not uncommon for many mothers to engage in yoga exercises around this time.
You’ve just had your baby hence muscles and whatnots are probably very sore. Sexual intercourse should preferably only resume after the postnatal check-up. Of course with the hormones going haywire in you, sex may be something you would pounce on. Refrain yourself for six weeks if possible. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
If the previous paragraph has upset your husband, here’s something he can rejoice about. When we said preferably no sex, we didn’t rule out foreplay. Hand petting by you on him or vice versa is encouraged. You don’t want to reach a point where you both lose interest in sex (although we have our doubts over any man ever losing interest in sex!).
Do build up on good nutrition.
We are not just saying this to help you get into the process of regaining your strength or to supplement the baby with the necessities when you breastfeed. We are insisting on this because studies have shown that good nutrition (with good moral support) prevents mood swings and hence decrease postpartum depression.
Before you roll your eyes at us and mumble that you already know that, allow us to emphasise why we are not just telling you, but writing it in capital letters and highlighting it.
Flushing out toxins and aiding in digestion and elimination is just general stuff water helps with. Drinking heaps of water also helps facilitate milk production.
Do get a postnatal massage if possible.
The benefits of getting a massage are tenfold. Not only does the massage provide relaxation, but it also releases stress, relieves aches on the shoulders and neck, hastens the reduction of fluid retention, helps the uterus to shrink to its original size and reduces cellulite. If you have delivered via C-section, then consult a massage therapist before you partake in this massage.
Nursing affects the hormones and thus would leave you exhausted. There is no such thing as too much rest for a mother who has just given birth. Try and master the art of catnapping. This will be extra beneficial when you need to wake up in the middle of the night and feed the baby.
So there you have it – some do’s and don’ts that you should be aware of in those first 40 days. With these confinement tips in mind, do enjoy the arrival of your little one and rest well.
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.