In the asian culture, it is common for women to undergo postpartum confinement for a period of time, mothers & their babies are confined to rest & recuperate. Normally this occurs between 14 to 28 days. During this time, mothers follow a set of strict traditional confinement practices, specific to each culture, it is believed to help accelerate healing, as well as to prevent future sicknesses resulting from careless postpartum care.
However, there are several confinement myths that although were once applicable in the past, they do not apply to us now. Here are 4 common confinement myths that we have busted for you.
Confinement Myth #1: Drink rice wine and other alcoholic drinks
Myth: Mums aren’t allowed to drink plain water, but they can drink alcohol! Drinking alcoholic drinks like rice wine and eating dishes cooked with alcohol is believed to boost blood circulation and warm up the body.
Fact: While alcohol can affect blood circulation, it is not essential to the recovery of mums who have just given birth. In fact, mums should avoid alcohol intake especially if they’re breastfeeding.
Large amounts of alcohol can be very harmful to a breastfeeding baby and could impair growth and development.
Confinement Myth #2: Don’t drink plain water
Myth: Drinking plain water during confinement will increase water retention in the body, causing the body temperature to go down. This is believed to lead to “wind” entering the body.
Fact: Mothers need to stay hydrated, especially if they’re breastfeeding. A normal adult needs 8 glasses of water a day. Breastfeeding mums should take at least that amount plus a little more.
To meet your hydration needs, you should take at least 1 glass of water after every breastfeeding session (which is 8 – 10 times a day).
Confinement Myth #3: Consume copious amounts of ginger and herbal supplements
Myth: One of the goals of confinement is to restore a woman’s “energy” or qi. Since childbirth drains a woman of qi, it’s important for her to consume specific herbal soups and dishes to boost energy and blood flow. This also includes consuming a lot of ginger, which is believed to promote healing as well as help boost milk production in lactating mums.
Fact: Every woman’s health profile is different; she may not benefit from the same remedies that help others. There is no firm conclusion from studies attempting to prove the efficacy of Chinese herbal supplements.
A healthy diet consisting of nutritious confinement food will help your recovery more than over consuming Chinese herbal medicine.
Confinement Myth #4: Confinement food should only consist of meat, liver, and herbs
Myth: During confinement, mothers are restricted to a diet of meat, liver, and herbs. These are believed to be essential to heating the body because they’re excellent sources of protein and iron.
Fact: Mother should follow the food pyramid, have a well-balanced diet rather than specific food types to replenish the body’s stores. In the case of vegetarians or vegans, iron or vitamin supplements may be needed to satisfy the body’s nutritional demands. Mothers should also avoid raw food, caffeine and alcohol.
Overall, following the food pyramid is still the way to go.
We hope that busting these myths for you would help you have a more relaxed & reassured confinement period.