Traditional Confinement
And
Scientific Confinement

When it comes to the confinement, many expectant mothers get nervous. The traditional confinement customs of the older generation had too many restrictions and rules.

Such as “No Bathing And Washing Hair”, “No Brushing Teeth”, “No Opening Windows, “No Eating Vegetables And Fruits” etc.

Grandmothers and mothers-in-law have more say on “one-month home confinement” because they have done it before, thereby they always set many “confinement rules” for new mothers. Does the “confinement rules” from our last generations make sense?

Confinement Q & A

A:
Traditional View:
After delivery, the pores and bones of a woman’s skin are opened and she is deficient in qi and blood, so if she takes a bath during the confinement, wind and cold will attack her body and remain in her muscles and joints, causing poor circulation and stagnation of qi and blood. It will eventually cause menstrual disorders, joint pain, and muscle pain.

A Scientific View:
After delivery, postpartum mothers should bathe during the confinement. It is true that the living conditions were not good enough to provide good bathrooms and heating facilities for postpartum mothers in the past. When mothers were giving birth to the babies, the pelvic joints were opened under the effect of hormones, and the body became more relaxed to give birth smoothly. After childbirth the mothers are still week and venerable.

Nowadays, the living conditions have improved compared to the past, and we can provide a better bathing environment and facilities for mothers, they are no longer venerable to cold and flu. Therefore, this traditional custom should be abolished because it is not conducive to the recovery of the mother. The fact is that there will be sweat which could contaminate skin after giving birth; lochia and overflowing milk will also make the skin dirty. Body fluids will cause an unpleasant odor and leave the new mother in a bad mood and feeling uncomfortable. What’s more, germs accumulated on the skin will cause folliculitis, endometritis, and mastitis. The baby may get infected while being picked up by the mother.

Importance:
If there is no wound or incision in the private part, you can take a shower in 2-3 days in summer and 5-7 days in winter.
In summer, the temperature of the bathroom can be kept at room temperature, and when it is cold, the bathroom should be kept warm and sheltered from the wind. The temperature of the bathing water should be kept around 35℃-37℃. In summer, it is not advised to take a cold shower which is not beneficial to getting the lochia out of the body. An inappropriate approach may cause abdominal pain, irregular menstruation, and body pain in the future.

It is better to take a shower instead of tub bath. It is to avoid infection caused by dirty water entering the vagina. If the woman is weak and cannot stand up to take a shower, she can take a towel bath.

Each bath should not be too long, generally 5-10 minutes. The temperature of the bathroom in winter should not be set too high as the bathroom can easily fill with lot of water vapor, resulting in lack of oxygen. A potential hazard of falling may occur for weak mothers.
After shower, dry the body as soon as possible and put on warm clothes before walking out of the bathroom to avoid cold.
If the perineal wound is large or the laceration is serious, or if there is a cut on the abdominal area, you should wait until the wound heals before taking a shower, or you can take a towel bath instead.

A: 
A Traditional View:
During the confinement the bones and pores of the scalp are wide open, washing hair can easily cause dampness and get a cold, causing sickness in the future, e.g, frequent scalp pain, headache, hair loss and neck pain.

A Scientific View:
It is not scientifically justified, neither hygienic nor in line with modern aesthetics, and it is harmful to the physical and mental health of the mother. Heavy sweating during childbirth, combined with increased perspiration after delivery, can leave the scalp and hair dirty whilst it smells unpleasant. Research shows that by washing and combing the hair, the dust and dirt on the hair can be removed to avoid bacterial infections. Combing can stimulate the scalp and the meridians on the scalp, which improves the spirit of the mother and help them to relax. This approach also further promote the blood circulation of the scalp and to increase the nutrients needed for hair growth whilst avoiding hair loss.

Importance:
Use your fingers to massage your scalp when washing your hair and use a hair dryer to dry your hair immediately.
When washing hair, the water temperature should be appropriate, not too cold, preferably to be kept at about 37 ℃
In general, after giving birth the hair is oilier and it is easier to lose hair. Do not use strong shampoo products. Dry your hair and wrap it in a dry towel to avoid the evaporation, which may cause sudden contraction of the scalp blood vessels and cause headache.

A:
A Traditional View:
There is a popular belief that “you will lose tooth by giving birth to a child”, people believe that gargling during the confinement will shake the roots of the teeth, injure the gum which will lead to teeth bleeding and teeth loss. During pregnancy, pregnant women will experience bleeding gums, edema under the effect of endocrine hormones, especially when brushing their teeth. In the past, when there was limited access to science, and pregnant women did not know enough about how to take calcium nutrition during pregnancy which resulted in calcium deficiency. And therefore, mothers got bad teeth after giving birth. Which makes people believe that pregnant women should not brush their teeth.

A Scientific View:
Mothers must brush teeth and rinse mouth during confinement, otherwise the teeth are more likely to develop yellow stains and damaged. No brushing teeth, you will leave food residues in the slit between your teeth, which will lead to decalcification, caries, or periodontal disease, and cause bad breath and mouth ulcers from bacteria. When the mother kisses the baby, it is also possible to transmit the bacteria.

Importance:
You must brush your teeth every day during the confinement if your physical strength allows. Start brushing your teeth on the second day after childbirth.

Pay attention to calcium nutrition and maintain oral hygiene during pregnancy.
Remember to brush your teeth with warm water and soak your toothbrush in warm water before brushing to prevent excessive stimulation of teeth.
Brush teeth in the morning and in the evening, and before going to bed. If you like eating late night snacks, brush again afterwards.
You can use finger rinse 3 days after childbirth, that is, use your index finger or wrap gauze around your index finger, squeeze toothpaste on your finger and use it as a brush to brush your teeth, and then press your finger on your gums several times. This method can activate blood circulation, strengthen the teeth, and avoid teeth lost.

A Traditional View:
The mother’s spleen and stomach are weak after childbirth, vegetables or fruits during the confinement period should be avoid to prevent frequent gastrointestinal discomfort or diarrhea or hurting the teeth.

A Scientific View:
Vegetables and fruits should be consumed during the confinement period. Vegetables and fruits can prevent constipation and hard defecation, as vegetables and fruits are rich in dietary fiber which promotes intestinal peristalsis and empty bowels.

Importance:
Mothers should eat less as their gastrointestinal function is relatively weak.
A mother’s gastrointestinal tract is very sensitive therefore cold vegetables are not suitable as it may lead to gastrointestinal bruising and hurt digestive function.

答:
傳統習俗觀點:產婦在生孩子時,全身的骨縫都被打開,很容易使風邪從張開的骨縫中進入,引起“七日風”,即在產後7天內抽風。而且,風邪會長久滯留在骨縫裡,給產婦留下病根。因此,月子裡一定要把身子捂嚴實,同時還要把家裡的門縫窗縫封住,不可透風,更不能到外面去。

現代醫學觀點:所謂“七日風”,即產婦在月子裡因身體感染而引起的高熱抽風。以往,產婦無論從營養、居住環境還是醫療保健方面都較差,因此抵抗力較弱,容易使病菌侵入身體,導致發燒。這種做法在今天看來是不科學的。現代人們的生活水準大大提高,能夠使產婦吸收充足的營養和溫暖的居住環境,醫療保健也大為提高。因此,產婦身體的抵抗力比以往增強了。無論冬夏家裡均保持空氣流通,身體也無須包得密密實實。不然,很容易使產婦發生中暑,特別是在天氣炎熱時。

注意事項:
不管是自然風還是空調風,避免讓風直接吹到產婦身體上
衣著應根據季節變化增減,天熱時不一定穿長袖衫、長褲或頭戴帽包圍巾,如果覺得肢體怕風,可穿上長袖衫

A:
A Traditional View:
Pregnancy and delivery consume a lot of energy and cause bleeding, which can easily damage women’s back and knees. Eucommia is preferred as it can replenish qi and blood, fill the essence and marrow, nourish the liver and kidneys, strengthen the muscles and bones, speed up the recovery of the body, and prevent back and knee pain in the future.

A Scientific View:
Eucommia postpartum helps to improve the recovery of the opened pelvic joint ligaments, strengthen the strength of the lumbar and abdominal muscles, maintain the stability of the lumbar spine as soon as possible, and reduce the chance of damage to the lumbar region. It also helps with weakness, dizziness, frequent urination, and other discomforts.

Importance:
Eucommia can be boiled in water and eaten with cashew flowers and can also be ground into powder and packed into capsules.
During the confinement period, women can take 2-4 capsules of Eucommia capsules after each meal and take about 150-200 grams of Eucommia powder throughout the confinement period, which is very helpful in preventing back pain.

A:
A Traditional View:
The new mother consumes a lot of energy and physical strength during childbirth, the muscles and bones are weak therefore, it is important for the new mother to stay in bed to make sure her body recovers quickly. Getting out of bed will hurt the body and weaken bones in the future. That is how the custom “not getting out of bed during the confinement” came into being.

A Scientific View:
Medical research shows that if the mother does not move for a long time after giving birth, the mother is easier to get venous thrombosis of the lower extremities and intestinal adhesions, especially mothers who had cesarean section. At the same time, the muscles, and tissues at the bottom of the pelvic cavity may not be able to support the uterus, rectum or bladder due to lack of exercise after delivery and then resulting in bulging. If the mother does some activities after delivery, she can increase the contraction force of the abdominal muscles, promote the recovery of the uterus as soon as possible, and promote the recovery of the rectum and bladder. At the same time, it also helps to drain the discharges and prevent constipation.

Importance:
If there is no wound in the vagina and fatigue has disappeared, 12 hours after childbirth you are free to sit up eating and drinking. 24 hours later you are free to move around such as sitting in bed for a while or getting out of bed for bathroom; 48 hours after delivery, you can get out of bed and do some light activities such as changing diapers for the baby or walking around the room, 2-3 times a day.
Women has cesarean should try to get out of bed 24 hours after delivery and gradually increase the amount of activity to avoid intestinal adhesions or to prevent thrombophlebitis in the lower limbs if physical strength allows.
12 days after childbirth postpartum health exercises are allowed.