In China, there is a tradition of “Zuo Yue Zi”, literally translated as sitting the month, where the new mom stays at home for one month with the baby, and doesn’t go out at all. There are certain restrictions imposed on new mothers, as well as a specific type of diet to follow.
Maternity doesn’t end at giving childbirth, Zuo Yue Zi is the 4th trimester!
The fundamental belief of Zuo Yue Zi system, or confinement period(considered a significant period), is that right after a woman gives birth, her body is in its most fragile and vulnerable state. The rules and diet are designed to help women to promote healing, strengthen the body and help prevent illness (especially female-related illnesses) in the future.
There is a popular belief that everything you do during the first month after delivery has a significant effect on your health for the rest of your life. Not drying your hair before sleeping causes you headache when you’re old. Wearing too little hurts your bones in the old age. Drinking anything cold is definitely out of the picture too. In more traditional families even taking a shower might still be prohibited and you need to be covered in thick clothing from head to toes. Eating a lot of chicken and drinking special soups is a must as well.
Three Stages of Postpartum Recovery
Week 1: Detoxification stage
After giving birth, there is still some lochia (uterus discharge) in your body that we need to get rid of. Hence, during this initial stage, we select ingredients that helps the detoxification process of the postpartum body.
Week 2: Replenish stage
Once the body has gone through a week of detoxification, your body is ready for the repairing process. Ingredients such as beef, kidney, and green vegetable rich with iron to aid your body return to pre-pregnancy levels in the postpartum period.
Week 3-4: Rejuvenate stage
At the last stage, the purpose is to rejuvenate all the energy lost during labor and pregnancy. If you imagine your body as a vessel, after detoxification and repair stage, your body is ready to be rejuvenated.
For more information: ZuoYueZi—Chinese Traditional Custom of Postpartum Confinement