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Supporting New Mums after Birth

By Chia Ying Chou
from Well Energy Practice

In Chinese Medicine supporting new mums after birth is referred to as Postpartum health preservation. Whether or not you believe in Chinese medicine herbs or superstitions surrounding “one month confinement” there is no doubt that belief plays a significant role in one’s feeling of health, preservation and well-being.

Postpartum period for some women is characterized by feeling tired due to excessive loss of blood and energy. It can also include symptoms such as sweating, backache and abdominal pain. Therefore, new mums will need gentle exercises, recuperation, appropriate tonics and diet to regulate and tonify their bodies or improve their energy.

In traditional Asian cultures the purpose of one month confinement whereby the new mum is confined to the home or postpartum centre after the delivery of their babies, aims to recover and restore their health after the 9 months of nourishing their infants in their wombs.

Origins in Chinese Medicine Medical writings about one month confinement (Zuo Yuezi) can be traced back to Xi Han (Li Ji‧NeiZe), it is more than two thousand years of history, also called “Yue Nei”. It is a very important ceremony after delivery process.

What is one month confinement (Zuo Yuezi)?

The term of Zuo Yuezi that translates into “one month confinement”. The Chinese tradition of Zuo Yuezi dictates that for 30 to 40 days from the birth of their children, new mothers must stay inside and avoid bathing, washing their hair or brushing their teeth. They must cover their heads to prevent chills, keep the windows closed, and remain in bed for as long as possible. It also requires mothers to avoid all forms of stress, including crying, shouting and talking for an entire cycle of the moon.

New mothers cannot eat cold foods such as cool drinks, ice cream, cold fruits during the one-month confinement. Instead, they must load up on ‘hot’ foods like boiled eggs, chicken and fish soup.”

Essentially, “one month confinement” was a primitive form of quarantine to prevent postpartum complications. If you analyze Zuo Yuezi in an early medical context, many of the practices made sense. The avoidance of bathing and teeth-brushing was a way to prevent water-borne illness; staying indoors helped women and babies avoid exposure to communicable diseases, and covering the head protected new mothers from catching a ‘chill’. Food-wise, the proteins and iron found in eggs, meat and fish provided mothers with strength and muscle repair.

Rest and heavy consumption of hot soup helped prevent dehydration, kept mums warm and was believed to promote the production of breast milk. Clearly a lot of these reasons behind the confinement are now obsolete since we don’t have to fear contaminated water supplies, nor would we be concerned about catching a “chill”, especially if you live in a tropical country. Although I think that the fallacy that you can catch a “chill” from cold weather should be acknowledged.

General diet of promoting lactation with Chinese medicine herbs – If new mums find that their milk supply is low, they should add Radix Rhapontici (lou-lu tong) or vaccaria segetalis (wang-bu-liu-xing) to their soups.

New mums can also eat the following food or soups for promoting lactation: knuckle, tail, chicken feet, eggs, beef, milk, scallions, white beans, black sesame, walnut, peanut, fish, shrimp, squid, sea cucumber, gouqizi, guiyuan, capsicum, tomato, sweet potato and potato.

More about the author

Chia Ying Chou
Chia Ying Chou
– Well Energy Practice

Chia Ying Chou is a nationally registered health practitioner of AHPRA (Acupuncturist, Chinese Medicine Practitioner, Chinese Herbal Dispenser) since 2012, qualified with a Bachelor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Diploma of Remedial Massage and a Fellow Member of the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society (ATMS).

At Well Energy Practice we are focused on providing Acupuncture, Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine consultation, Cupping, Scrapping(Gua Sha) and Chinese herbal products for Postpartum health services with the highest levels of patient satisfaction.

With over 10 years experience working in Chinese herbal products for postpartum health, skin disorders, gastrointestinal disorders and supplementary treatment for cancer patients. We will do everything best we can to meet your expectations.

To find out more visit and connect with Well Energy Practice online and if you would like to discuss your particular situation, or have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact us.