Confinement is a practice that many Asians still implement after giving birth either by their own choice or due to cultural influence and pressure by friends and family members.
The perspective regarding this practice is somewhat divided among the urban modern mothers versus their more traditional counterparts.
Whether you believe in the benefits of confinement or not, everyone would agree that postnatal care is indeed important. Even doctors would agree!
What is Postnatal Care?
Postnatal care is to treat your body with healthy regime and diet so it can heal thoroughly and quickly. It is also known as postpartum care or antenatal care.
The care and treatment takes precedence in the first few months after delivery. After that, mothers may continue as is or return back to their previous routine and diet.
Objectives of Postnatal care.
- Avoid death of both mother and child due to health risks
- Ensure that the mother and child will not face health complications in the long term
What is Confinement?
Confinement goes by many names – Zuo Yue Zi, Dalam Pantang/Berpantang, Japa/Jaappa, Sanhujori are some of the names of confinement practice in different cultures.
The custom of confining a mother indoors for a length of time after delivering a baby is a traditional practice passed down over thousands of years but is mainly observe by Asians.
Is Confinement Necessary?
Contrary to postpartum care, confinement in itself is not necessary. What is necessary is the for the mother to take good care of her health.
There are definitely benefits of confinement but not practicing it does not result to any immediate risk or health implications.
Confinement in essence is to protect the mother and newborn baby from harm caused by external factors. The indoors, as were believed by our ancestors, is where the mother will be most safe and protected.
During confinement, the mother is often accompanied by someone to attend to their needs. Most of the time, it is our mother, or mother-in-law, or any close relatives and friends but there are also some who would hire a confinement lady.
How Long Is It?
Confinement period usually last about 40 days after delivery however it varies from culture to culture. In traditional Indian culture, for example, they observe a 100-day confinement.
Most mothers nowadays prefer to confinement in the first month after birth. Given that a lot of mothers are now working and having careers of their own, confinement are limit to two-thirds of the length of their maternity leave which is about 45 days.
Benefits of Confinement.
Confinement in the old days are believed to be beneficial to the health of both mother and child. Health benefits of confinement still remains but here are some things that you can also benefit from practicing confinement.
- Bonding – the confinement period is also a great time for mommy and baby to bond. The bond that is created during this period will have a long lasting effect on your relationship.
- Catching Up On Sleep – this period is also a good time to get some much needed rest. You’re expected to be in bed most times and your baby would also spend most of its time sleeping, so snooze on mama!
- Postpartum care – practicing confinement is equal to practicing postpartum care and that means you would also lower your chances of health complications in the future.
What Happens After Delivery?
So what exactly happens to the body after it delivers the baby? During this phase, your body is reverting back to its original form.
As your body went through a lot of changes both physically and hormonally during pregnancy and birth, this healing process is a crucial moment for mommies health.
After childbirth, your body, mainly your uterus, will start to discard all the leftover tissues from the body in what we call postpartum bleeding.
At the same time, your uterus will slowly shrink and revert back to its original size.
Essential Things To Do During Confinement.
1. Build Up Good Nutrition
Getting good nutrition will help in preventing mood swings and if paired with moral support, it can decrease the chances of postpartum depression.
Your body would also require a lot of nutrients to heal and return the body back to normal.
Taking good care of your nutritional intake helps your body heal quicker and better as your body gets the required amount of nutrients.
Nutrients That Is Best For You During Confinement Period
For energy to heal your body, your body will require a lot of protein. You would also need protein if you are breastfeeding. Aim for food that is high in protein like lean meats, eggs, and seafood.
Your body would need Iron to replenish the blood in your body after childbirth. Not to mention that during the confinement period, your body will go through what we call as Lochia or Postpartum bleeding. So go for food that is high in Iron like red meat, tofu, and beans.
You would need calcium mostly for your child but because your child will take a huge amount, you must increase your calcium intake to prevent any calcium-deficit would may affect your bones in the future.
2. Drink Lots Of Water
Drinking lots of water does not only help in flushing out the toxin and aiding indigestion and elimination stuff out of your body but it also helps in facilitating milk production.
So keep yourself hydrated at all times!
3. Get A Postnatal Massage
There are a lot of benefits if you get a postnatal massage.
Massage will provide relaxation, release stress, relieves the aches on the shoulder and neck, hasten the reduction of fluid retention, shrinking the uterus to its original size and help in reducing cellulite.
For mummies who undergo C-section, you should consult with your doctor before you do any postnatal massage.
4. Rest And Rest
Nursing babies will affect your hormones and will be exhausted. There is no such thing as getting too much rest for mum who had delivered.
You can try the catnapping method which is to take short naps every now and then throughout the whole day.
This will be very helpful if you need to wake up in the middle of the night and feed your baby.
Enjoy this beautiful moment and with these simple tips, you’ll be back in action again in no time!
If you are looking for confinement centres or lactation counsellors to help you during your confinement period, check out our directory!