What is Confinement?
A mother’s body will have undergone a significant amount of stress and trauma after nine months of pregnancy and the delivery of the baby. The body is now weak and requires special care to recover from the intensities of childbirth. Confinement period is commonly the next 28 days after childbirth.
In Singapore, confinement care practices have been passed down through many generations. The Chinese, Malay and Indian communities all have their respective confinement practices but what is common between them is the careful attention towards the safe and healthy recovery of the mother after childbirth.
It is common belief that mothers are extremely “deficient”; from the loss of blood and energy and her body is considered “out of balance”. This is known as entering the “cold stage”; so there is strong emphasis on keeping the body warm. Avoiding exposure to “wind” and “cooling” elements where postnatal mothers to avoid contact with cold water and windy environments. This is evident in confinement care practices which focus on revitalizing the body with the “warmth” that has been lost.
After childbirth, the mother’s body undergoes several physical changes. The uterus gradually shrinks back to its pre-pregnancy size whilst the volume of blood returns to normal and the hormone levels in the body changes. During the confinement period, mothers are required to a strict regime of postnatal diet; confinement care practices. This is to facilitate the body to heal, help shrink the uterus, invigorate the blood flow, strengthen joints and muscles, and also regain the pre-pregnancy figure.
Confinement Care Practices
One of the small joys of confinement period diet is that the food regiment can be delicious, so enjoy the yummy confinement food! After your confinement period, you probably will not continue eating these “heaty” yet tasty dishes. Of course, you will need to find a great cook or a good specialized catering service that will provide you with a good variety of dishes that adhere to proper confinement care practices.
You can find out more about the essentials of confinement food here.
Some Useful Tips
The Chinese believe that there should be no washing of hair for the entire confinement period. Due to hygiene reasons, this is not a realistic practice. Hence, it is advisable not to wash hair for 10 to 12 days; to minimize scalp irritation and absorb excess oil from the hair, use dry shampoo.
One common question amongst new mothers – Can I bath during my pregnancy? The Chinese believes that there should be no bathing until the 12th day after delivery; some even do not bath for a month. For obvious hygiene reasons, you should at least do a quick rinse of your body. Since Singapore weather is very hot you can take short quick showers with warm water (no soaking). You can also prepare a pail of warm water infused with herbs or homeopathic remedies; use it to bath or do a wipe down. Always wash your hands and practice good personal hygiene which is essential to protect both you and the baby.
Avoid leaving the house, as exposure to windy environment could allow “wind” to enter her body; which could result in rheumatism, backache, arthritis and incontinence later in life.
Avoiding exposure to cold elements such as cold water; and also, low temperatures from an air-conditioner or fan must be avoided. Dry yourself up quickly after showering or coming into contact with water. Wear caps and sweater if you are cold and stay away from the fridge.
Lie down as much as possible. Proper rest will help recovery, prevent backaches and is also beneficial to mothers that are breast feeding.
A good postnatal massage helps to regulate blood flow, alleviate “wind” and reduce water retention. It also helps strengthens the uterus and allows the womb to go back to its prenatal size and position. It is advisable to find a reputable and certified therapist that do house calls.
Try not to do exercise at least 2 months for normal delivery, as for c-sec, at least 4 months onwards.
For nourishing, healthy confinement meals delivered lovingly to you, check out the delights via www.nouriche.sg today.
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You deserve the best in your confinement!