Malay confinement

Malay confinement

Wondering how Malay women do their postpartum confinement (dalam pantang)? Read this article to find out.

In the past, Malay confinement (also known as dalam pantang) was done for 44 days. But now, more and more women are opting for just 20 days.

Traditional Malay confinement practices revolve around these six elements:

1 – Tuku

The tuku is a ball-like metal object with a handle. After it has been heated, it is wrapped in a cloth and noni leaf, and gently rolled over the abdomen.

2 – Mengurut Badan

Translated it literally means massaging of the body. The massage is done by an experienced massuese.

3 – Barut (Wrap)

For most women, barut is the most crucial part of confinement. Barut is a tight wrap around the woman’s waist. This practice of tightly binding the tummy is called berbengkong and helps to regain the woman’s figure.

4 – Salai

Salai refers to lying on a warmed wooden apparatus, in order to keep the body warm.

5 – Air Akar Kayu

These are herbal baths and tonic drinks made from medicinal plants.

Malay confinement

Medicinal plants for Air Akar Kayu


6 – Pantang Makan dan Minum

This refers to the prohibition of eating and drinking certain food items. In general, Malays believe in the avoidance of “cooling foods” and promote the consumption of “heating foods”. Some mums who have just delivered take a drink called Jamu. Jamu is believed to keep the body warm.

Other Taboos

No sex for forty days after postpartum as it is against their religious teachings.

Avoid knocking your toe, because it will affect your uterus.

Avoid squatting, because your uterus will descend.

Cannot leave the bed, move about or leave the house.

Cannot read or watch TV as it strains the eyes.


For more related articles on confinement and pregnancy, see:

Confinement taboos across the races

10 Asian post-natal traditional confinement tips

Recommendations for confinement food

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