Reasons for confinement
The 9 months period of carrying a child and the delivery are highly tiresome to the mother. The womanâ€™s body undergoes physical and hormonal changes to accommodate the developing baby, the body expands, and all the organs also move to create space. During this phase, one might experience mild to severe discomfort and pain. Much mental stress also accompanies these changes.
Childbirth can be an exhaustive process, whether it is by regular delivery or cesarean section. It takes time for the mother to heal after delivering a child as there may be substantial wounding. In addition, there is a sudden dip in hormones after delivering a child, which may lead to postpartum depression in some women.
The Asian practice of confinement came into effect initially in China and was observed in India, Iran, Korea, Thailand, Europe, and Latin America. The duration and regulations for confinement vary from place to place. Confinement is introduced for the following reasons:
It is meant for relaxation, so the body heals from the effects of pregnancy and childbirth.
It takes time for all the internal organs to get back into their normal location.
During this period, mothers are fed foods that help in boosting their immunity. After childbirth, the immunity of some women may decline.
Confinement is also a time for women to heal mentally and rejuvenate themselves. The 9 months of the pregnancy can be stressful and anxious.
The 30-40 days is a bonding time for the mother and child. Also, during this time, the child is learning to breastfeed.
At the end of the confinement period, the mother feels refreshed, energetic, and healthy.
Doâ€™s and donâ€™ts during confinement
Confinement does not mean just sitting isolated in one room. There are certain doâ€™s and donâ€™ts that are supposed to be followed. These practices differ from culture to culture.
Women cannot indulge in cold foods and beverages like watermelon, juice, cold water, or ice creams.
Avoid exposure to cold water; women in some cultures cannot have a bath or wash their hair for the entire confinement period.
In cultures where bathing and cleaning are permitted, the mother and child should only use warm water.
Some women are made to eat five to six meals of chicken and pork liver in a day.
Avoid fruits and vegetables that have a cooling effect on the body.
Avoid the use of cooling devices like fans, coolers, and air conditioners.
In some regions, a cloth is used to tie the tummy area to maintain the structure of the abdomen.
Some cultures encourage body massages for the healing mother.
Some families believe that the women become impure after childbirth and do not allow them to enter religious places or prayer rooms for 30-40 days.
Most of these practices are not followed in this modern-day culture and age. With the advancements in the medical field, women are treated efficiently in hospitals and clinics. Many working women cannot even afford to stay confined in a room for such a long time.
A step-by-step plan is followed for the 4 weeks of confinement which are as follows:
Week 1: This week focuses on healing the wound and increasing the appetite. The woman should eat chicken, pork liver, eggs, and many herbs. One should not indulge in oily food during this week.
Week 2: This week focuses on increasing the supply of breast milk for the growing baby. To facilitate this, the woman eats pork, green papaya, eggs, and ginger.
Week 3 and Week 4: These 2 weeks focus on building physical strength. The diet now includes vegetables, fruits, seeds, herbs, and seafood.
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