After childbirth, the first 40 days are commonly referred to as the confinement period for a woman. During this period, you are encouraged to refrain from any strenuous activity, and take your time to rest as much as possible.
Confinement practices vary across different cultures in the world, but they all share the same goal of helping the mother to heal and regain her energy. In Chinese confinement culture, mothers are encouraged to follow a set of traditional practices with the purpose of minimizing any physical activities to aid healing, as well as rejuvenate the body with a thoughtfully planned menu consisting of nourishing dishes and herbal tonics.
To understand why confinement practices are widely practised and highly emphasized across cultures, let’s look into what your body will go through after delivery. The postpartum period is divided into three different stages, namely:
- Initial/Acute Postpartum Period: This stage refers to the first 6 to 12 hours after labour. During this period, your body will go through rapid changes, including potential risk of postpartum haemorrhage, uterine inversion, and eclampsia. Due to these reasons, mothers will be under close medical care at the hospital during this stage.
- Subacute Postpartum Period: This second phase lasts 2 to 6 weeks. During this stage, your body will experience changes that are less rapid than the first stage. These changes include changes in terms of blood flow, metabolism, genital recovery, and emotional status.
- Delayed Postpartum Period: The delayed postpartum period can last up to 6 months. Body changes during this phase are milder, and most mothers are gradually returning to their pre-pregnancy lifestyle. This is the period of restoration of muscle tone and connective tissue to their pre-pregnancy state.
As your body will be vulnerable to various physical and mental discomforts, practising confinement can lower your risks on these issues. Here are some of the common health issues a woman may experience after childbirth:
Types of Postpartum Physical Issues
- Body aches
- Pain at the site of stitches
- Vaginal bleeding
- Hot flashes
- Swollen breasts
Types of Postpartum Mental Issues
- Postnatal Depression
- Shifting appetite
- Feeling worthless
How to Indulge Yourself During the Period of Confinement?
As overwhelming as your postpartum period may seem, please know that you are not facing it alone. Instead of trying to do everything on your own, get help from the people around you, such as your spouse, your mother, your mother-in-law, or other family members. Alternatively, you may have them to help to hire you a confinement nanny. Consider following the tips below to make your confinement more enjoyable:
- Spend time to bond with your newborn by cuddling, soothing, or talking to him or her.
- Talk about your feelings with your family members. Female family members who are experienced with childbirth, for example your mother, or your mother-in-law, would be able to provide you with relevant advice and suggestions.
- To transition into your role as a mother smoother, approach experienced family members or a childcare professional on how to take care of a newborn.
- Sleep as much as you can. Try to sleep whenever your baby is sleeping. Sufficient sleep can help you recover faster.
- Pamper yourself with a postnatal massage from home. Postnatal massages not only soothes your body discomforts, it’s very relaxing for the mind as well.
- Eat healthy foods. Your diet is extremely important in aiding your body to full recovery. Look up on food recommendations for your confinement period in order to ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need.
Pregnancy and childbirth can be an overwhelming and exhausting period in a woman’s life and hence pregnancy confinement for a mother is very important. Avoid strenuous work during your confinement period as it may lead to health issues later in life. Let your body heal at its own rate and ask for help whenever required. Confinement nannies are a great option and a wise choice. In the end, what matters, is your emotional, mental, and physical well being because only a healthy mother can raise a healthy child.
You May Also Read this : The Taboos of a Confinement Period After Giving Birth