Postpartum confinement is still very much practised in Singapore. Each ethnic group has their own set of rules for the new mother to adhere to, but all have the same aim – to let the mother recuperate and restore her health.
Some confinement practices are rather outlandish and are not suitable to follow in Singapore due to our weather. We’ve debunked some confinement myths for you.
- No showering and/or washing hair during confinement
It is believed that women should avoid touching the water as much as possible during their confinement to prevent “wind” from entering the body.
Fact: With Singapore’s hot and humid climate, it is of utmost importance to take regular baths. Not only does this ensure good hygiene which is essential when handling a newborn baby with a weak immune system, it also helps you feel comfortable and relaxed. In addition, regular baths reduce the risk of skin and wound infections.
- Consume lots of tonic wine, ginger and traditional herbs to expel excess wind
Such ingredients are said to heat up the body and get rid of wind that is trapped in the new mother’s body.
Fact: Everything that we consume should be taken in moderation. Excessive consumption of these ingredients may bring about an adverse effect on the mother and baby. The properties of Traditional Chinese herbs have yet to be studied in detail and in large quantities, may cause more harm than help. If the mother consumes too much alcohol, it may be secreted in breast milk and be passed onto the baby. Hence, it is better to avoid alcohol during confinement.
It is more important to ensure that you consume a nutritionally balanced meal instead.
- Do not drink plain water.
Plain water is said to cause water retention. New mothers should only drink red date and longan tea.
Fact: Water retention is not caused by consuming water. In fact, by drinking water, you’re helping your kidneys expel excess fluids left over from pregnancy and childbirth. Red date and longan tea should not be the only source of fluids.
If you are breastfeeding, you should aim for a minimum of 2 litres of fluids in a day.
- Keep your entire body covered. Wear long sleeves and long pants. Make sure the fan is directed away from your body.
Exposing your body to the elements causes “wind” to enter your body. Keep warm by wearing long sleeves and pants. .
Fact: It is of utmost importance that your body remains well-ventilated. Wearing long sleeves and long pants without air-conditioning may lead to heat rash or in worse cases, heatstroke.
- Lie in bed as much as possible
Avoid strenuous physical activities as overexertion may cause uterine prolapse.
Fact: Allow your body to get ample rest but there is no need to stay in bed all day. Keeping yourself active aids in a quicker recovery.
Uterine prolapse occurs when the pelvic floor muscles are too weak and the uterus slips down the vagina. To prevent uterine prolapse, train your Kegel muscles.
Some confinement traditions are not suitable to be followed, given Singapore’s humid climate. What are other confinement rules and myths that you’ve heard of? Let us know in the comments!