Confinement practices that even your doctor will approve of
Article by Cherlynn Ng
Confinement is a traditional practice that originated in Asia and has been passed down through the generations. Once a foreign concept to those in Western countries, it is gaining popularity all over the globe — with good reason.
More and more people are starting to see the positive effects and long-term benefits of confinement. It goes beyond being some old wives’ tale and even your doctor will encourage some of its practices.
Cutting back on heavy chores
In case you didn’t know, confinement in the Chinese language literally translates to ‘sitting the month out’. Childbirth stretches and strains your pelvic floor muscles, which require four to six weeks before they return to their normal state. Partaking in strenuous activities during this time can slow down the healing process and even cause your womb to droop.
Therefore, mothers in confinement should leave the household chores to someone else while they focus on recuperating and getting their strength back. They can also use the time to bond with their newborn instead.
Avoiding spicy food
Spicy food should be kept out of confinement diets as it is likely to cause constipation and diarrhea. It can also result in bloating and abdominal pains among new mothers, whose gastrointestinal systems are already weakened by childbirth.
Fans of spicy food should not be disheartened though, as there are many ways you can work around this. For instance, you can substitute chilli and mustard with ingredients such as ginger and onion, which will not only add a dash of flavour to your meals but also contain warming properties to replenish the ‘qi’ you lost during delivery.
Staying away from cold temperatures
You might have been told that mummies in confinement should avoid consuming cooling food, drinking iced beverages or taking cold showers. Well, there is actually some basis to these beliefs. A woman’s constitution and immune system is weakened after childbirth, making her more susceptible to falling sick. Therefore, she should not be subjected to a cold environment for extended periods of time during confinement.
Of course, that does not mean not bathing for a whole month and wrapping yourself under layers of clothing for an entire month. You can still sleep with the fan or air-conditioner turned on at a reasonable temperature e.g. 25°C. The most important thing is to be comfortable.
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