Wed, May 02, 2012 - Page 16 News List

Traditional postnatal confinement taboos in need of updating: doctors
坐月子禁忌 宜與時俱進

A woman who just gave birth rests on a bed along with her newborn baby in the post delivery ward at a community health center in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh on Feb. 24.

Photo: Reuters

Are there any taboos that need to be respected when it comes to zuoyuezi (postnatal confinement)? Gynecologists are saying that as time progresses the standards of lying-in for the modern postpartum woman should be relaxed, and the old rules no longer need to be followed.

Chen Tsai-chuan, director of gynecology at Greater Taichung’s Lin Shin Hospital, says the belief that postpartum mothers must avoid showering or washing their hair to avoid catching a cold is not wrong, but advances in technology mean that we now have hair dryers and heaters, so there is not much risk of catching a cold if the postpartum mother dries her hair immediately after showering and stays warm.

Gender specialist Huang Rui-ru says that gender-related problems often have to do with communication and living habits. She says some new mothers suffer postpartum depression because they feel scared about having to fill so many roles at once. Huang says that friends of new mothers, as well as the families of the husband and wife, should show more concern for them.

Mothers-in-law might insist that their postpartum daughters-in-law follow traditional postnatal confinement norms out of concern for them, but when miscommunication occurs it can easily make a person feel burdened instead of loved.

Huang says that people should adjust their way of thinking to keep pace with the times, adding that many central air conditioning systems are excellent nowadays, so using air conditioning will not adversely affect a postpartum mother. She also says people should not get divorced simply because they have different views regarding postnatal confinement, because it is not a good thing for a child to be brought into this world only to be separated from its parents.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)


1. to catch a cold v. phr.

感冒 (gan3 mao4)

例: Robby caught a cold, so he’s resting at home today.


2. hair dryer n.

吹風機 (chui1 feng1 ji1)

例: My hair dryer broke, so my hair was still wet when I got to work.


3. daughter-in-law n.

媳婦 (xi2 fu4)

例: She doesn’t get along with her daughter-in-law.








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