Young Parents Team
While there are some traditional confinement rules you can break, others are worth following. Our experts help you make sense of these.
1. Leave the housework to someone else. If you don’t rest well, it will only lead to all sorts of health problems later.
Take the advice! After what your body has gone through during pregnancy and labour, you should certainly rest well after childbirth. This will allow your womb to return to its normal size (it takes an average of six weeks) and heal any tears, episiotomy or C-section wounds, explains
TCM believes this also helps to replenish qi in the body and restore health, adds Wong Yueh Chin,
This doesn’t mean you need to lie in bed all the time, warn the experts. This will hamper circulation and increase your risk of blood clots in the legs, says Dr Law.
2. Carrying heavy items will cause your womb will drop.
Take the advice! Surprise, surprise – there’s scientific truth to this bizarre-sounding advice! After childbirth, lax ligaments and pelvic floor muscles offer weaker support, so heavy lifting can increase your risk of a prolapsed womb, explains Dr Law. In very serious cases, your womb may even appear visible through the vagina entrance.
You should also refrain from carrying loads in the first two months after a C-section, advises Dr Law. There’s a small risk that your surgery scar tissue may tear if you do. Get Hubby to do all the heavy lifting in the meantime.
3. Steer clear of cucumbers and grapefruits.
It’s up to you! In TCM, foods are divided into five energy groups: cold, cool, neutral, warm and hot. Cooling ones like gourds (such as cucumber, bitter gourd and melons) and most citrus fruits (pineapple, orange and grapefruit) affect digestion and worsen gastric problems, says Yueh Chin.
In Western medicine, Dr Law says there is no evidence that such foods are detrimental to women’s health after childbirth. “Unless my patients believe in and practise TCM, I wouldn’t stop them from taking these foods during their confinement period,” he says.
If you want to play it safe, it’s still possible to have a well-balanced diet after excluding cooling foods from your meals. For instance, Yueh Chin suggests opting for fruits with neutral properties like apples, grapes and cherries.
4. Chilled salads and iced drinks will give you an upset stomach.
It’s up to you! Similarly, TCM practitioners believe that taking frozen and chilled foods can harm your stomach and cause digestion problems. They may also hamper your body’s ability to get rid of lochia, leading to prolonged discharge, says Yueh Chin.
Again, Dr Law says this practice has no scientific basis, and he wouldn’t prohibit his patients from enjoying a cup of ice cream if they feel like it.
Uncertain about what to do? Stick to lukewarm food and drinks. Ensuring that food is well cooked and heated also gets rid of harmful germs that might upset your stomach.