Confinement practices from around the world
Mothers all over the world want to recuperate from a strenuous birth during their confinement period. Discover how they do so with these diverse confinement practices and traditions from across the globe.
Many cultures emphasise the health and recovery of a new mother. Thus, the confinement period is vital to restore her strength and focus on caring for her newborn. Here are some interesting ways women in other countries carry out their postpartum care.
Several days after giving birth, new mothers may receive presents from her family and friends. These include silver and gold coins or special stones to help ward off the “evil eye.” -- a belief that bad luck may befall a person if he or she receives a look from an envious person.
In spite of this Caribbean nation’s high maternal mortality rate, new Haitian mothers are taken care of as much as possible. Baths, warm teas, and massages are believed to help women rest and relax after a delivery.
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The name of the long confinement period in Guatemala is called la cuarentena (quarantine). Women in this Central American country are said to stay at home for nine months after giving birth. This is because of a fear of exposure to illness, evil spirits or even the ill-tidings of their neighbours.
The Korean word for the confinement period is ‘Samchilil’, which translates as “21 days”. During this period a woman needs to rest to help her uterus shrink back to normal size. Cold or hard foods are not allowed to be eaten.
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A woman is to eat spicy food, usually including pork or fish and prepared with black pepper or ginger. The food has to be very spicy so that the food will ‘heat up the body’ and strengthen the tissues and muscles.
New mothers are discouraged from eating ice-cream after giving birth. It is believed that the bones are still ‘open’ after childbirth and any cold foods may cause rheumatism.
A ‘gabla’, or midwife, massages a woman’s stomach and vulva with olive oil. The gabla also makes infusions from various herbs such as mint, thyme, and cinnamon to soothe away any pain.
For new mothers in the Togolese Republic in West Africa, it is recommended that they hold their peace after giving birth. Keeping quiet during and after birth ensures a woman will not attract the attention of any evil spirits.
In another West African country the leftover placenta is believed to affect a new mother’s mood and even cause illness. To avoid negative aftereffects, the placenta is washed, dried and buried by the baby’s father.
Bubblegum is off-limits to new mothers of the Inuit tribes inhabiting the Arctic regions of Greenland and Canada. They believe that chewing and popping gum may rupture delicate membranes in the body.
What did you do during your confinement? Or do you know of any other confinement practices? Share them in the comments below!
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