Category Archives: week 17

Week 17B: Enlightened confinement

Mom sent me a good article about new confinement practices among the Chinese.  Pheew. Modern moms are enlightened! Excerpts below.

In medical terms, the confinement period is known as puerperium, the period of adjustment after childbirth during which the mother’s reproductive system returns to its normal pre-pregnancy state. It generally lasts six to eight weeks and ends with the first ovulation and the return of normal menstruation.

With increased information and awareness about health, nutrition and breastfeeding, current confinement trends have certainly become more progressive. For one, a mum who breastfeeds knows the need to consume a variety of foods that provides adequate nutrients, and avoid or limit substances like alcohol and caffeine.  Modern lifestyles and working mothers also mean convenience is key in shaping trends.  Modern confinement practices emphasise rest, a balanced, nutritious diet and good hygiene.

Many traditional habits are no longer blindly followed [as] mothers are more educated and will ask the logic behind each practice. For instance, 20 years ago, mothers were encouraged to eat one whole chicken a day to regain their strength.  No fish or vegetables were allowed, [curtains were] drawn at all times to avoid any draft, mothers were prevented from watching TV or reading lest their eyesight weakens later in life.  A woman should also refrain from taking a bath for the first 30 days after childbirth.

Women these days are not so old-fashioned and can accept new trends.  Now, after 12 to 14 days when lochia discharge stops, mothers can [take a shower/bath/hair wash]. In addition, mothers need to be relaxed, comfortable, consume enough nutrients to breastfeed successfully and also prevent post-natal depression. [Given] our weather, air-conditioning and fans are necessary as long as the air flow is not aimed directly at the mother. Mothers are also watching TV, surfing the Internet and reading during confinement.

In the first two weeks of confinement, a mother should take foods that are mildly nutritive while in the last two weeks, stronger herbs to revitalise the body. [Avoid vegetables] that are ‘cooling’ or cause ‘wind’ in the stomach [and go for greens] like kai lan (kale) and French beans … fried with ginger and sometimes minced meat. However, the basic practice of consuming ginger, sesame oil, red dates drink and herbal soups remains.

Week 17a: I’ll tolerate confinement food, but no nannies please

Hubby’s been complaining of the heat so this week’s soup is especially for him:  绿豆汤 – green bean / mung bean soup, served chilled.  Since our babymoon, I’ve also decided to swim more (when it stops raining, that is) now that our condo pool is finally “fixed.” I do feel quite self-conscious about my body lately though – definitely look forward to start my prenatal pilates class on Monday!

Meanwhile, received a confirmation email for our childbirth education classes in August (starting week 24 onwards).  The Parentcraft Centre also included details on confinement nannies trained by the hospital plus home delivery/catering options.  I know nannies have been a life-saver for many, but I still would prefer to be hands-on and besides, our apartment doesn’t have room for more than the three of us.

Gotta admit the sample confinement menu (see below) looks terribly UN-appetizing even if it’s 100% nutritious for recovering moms.  Maybe I can convince folks to join me on those liver/kidney/ginger days – misery loves company, right? =8