Postpartum Health Preservation

坐月子養生

Postpartum Health Preservation




Postpartum health preservation is a very important subject today. 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 is simply too tired due to excessive loss of blood and energy, sweating, backache, abdominal pain during childbirth process. In addition, external wind-cold or wind-evil may attack postpartum bodies due to their blood, bones, tendons and muscles are very weak after delivery process. Therefore, new mums will need more moderate exercises, recuperation, appropriate tonic and diet to regulate and tonify their bodies and energy.

The purpose of one month confinement is an Asian practice whereby new mums are confined to the home or postpartum centre for a period of one month after the delivery of their babies, aim to recover and restore their health after 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 JiNeiZe), 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 can not eat cold foods such as cool drinks, ice cream, cold fruits during one month confinement. Instead, they must load up on ‘hot' foods like boiled eggs, chicken and fish soup. Along with the tradition is a famous most importantly, Chinese postpartum ‘decoction' known as Shenghua Tang was thought to purify the female body and help slow vaginal bleeding.

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 moms 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.

The postpartum health preservation in different countries

“In the United States, Germany and Japan, the new mums can have shower, brush teeth, wash hair. They supply mineral water with gas but hot water to drink in hospitals. The diets for postpartum are no difference everyone. There are as well as ice apple, ice milk, iced tea for postpartum in Japanese hospitals. People do not preserve postpartum health as a very special status as in China.”


General diet of promoting lactation with Chinese medicine herbs.

If postpartum 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. Postpartum can eat following dietetic food or soups for promoting lactation.

Dietetic food includes knuckle, peanut, tail, chicken feet, eggs, beef, milk, loofah, dofu, day lily, scallions, white beans, black sesame, walnut, sweet potato, fish, shrimp, squid, sea cucumber, gouqizi, guiyuan, capsicum, tomato, potato and nuts.

Soups for promoting lactation includes stewed green papaya with ribs pork chops, fish soup, oyster soup, peanut and tails soup etc. In addition, there are some acu points may be used for promoting lactation including San Yin Jiao, Zhu San Li and Xue Hai etc.

According to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, pregnancy, labour and birth are a huge drain on postpartum energy reserves.

A balanced diet with adequate nutrition during the one-month postnatal confinement period is vital to restore postpartum to good health.

This is particularly important because postpartum now have the additional responsibilities of caring for new baby. However, this does not mean postpartum can eat anything you want.

In general, a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner would advise that postpartum need to note the following taboos during one month confinement.

There are three important stages for women – teenager (adolescence), postpartum and menopause. The stage of postpartum is just between adolescence and menopause.

We do believe one month confinement is truly important for postpartum that it is a customs and traditions of the Chinese characteristic as well as the health preservation of TCM culture. However, it has been less care by the Western when we as Chinese are treated it importantly and somehow, it has been seriously conflicting between the two.

Local eating and drinking habits are the result of the necessarily to have one month confinement. There is not a must have one month confinement like Chinese people do or wrong with Western that not to have it at all. Regardless of the past or the present, there surely is change in body after childbirth, an appropriate diet, proper rest and exercises will help recover postpartum health and body energy.


科學化坐月子新主張



近來有些人鼓吹某些坐月子觀念,如「坐月子不能喝水,只可以飲酒!」

「坐月子不洗頭!」「坐月子天天吃大補?」「一定要坐滿三十天月子?」

坐月子似乎又是另一個人生的難關,聽到這些禁忌,相信讓許多正在懷孕或是剛生完產的婦女神經緊張!

這些坐月子禁忌必須考慮到時空背景的因素,包括從前生活的環境、氣候、民情風俗,現在生活日用物品電器化、水源不同等等的考慮下,做月子的禁忌不一定要全盤接受,坐月子要做的科學化、現代化、舒適化。

產婦在生產之後幾天以內會排出大量的汗水,主要是排出體內多餘的水分。

因為孕婦在懷孕末期身體血液的量比沒有懷孕以前多出40﹪再加上身體水腫

所增加的水分,因此產後要排出的水分便相當可觀,排汗的現象也就特別明顯。

許多產婦的感覺就是剛換完衣服,馬上又溼透了,這是正常現象,不需要擔心,但是產婦應該多準備幾套衣物以便隨時更換,並隨時將身體擦乾,以免著涼或是影響個人衛生。

傳統習俗為何要坐月子?

坐月子最早可以追溯至西漢《禮記內則》,距今已有兩千多年的歷史,稱之「月內」,是產後必須的儀式性行為,以社會學的論點坐月子是協助產婦順利度過人生轉折,因為嬰兒產出生讓身體、生活有所改變,從人妻到人母、從外人到家人,坐月子的儀式促成使產婦進入神聖地位,周邊的人甘願為她付出,產婦趁此機會發洩累積的不平情緒,消除長期積勞。

從中醫學角度論述,因為經過生產時的用力與出血、體力耗損,處於「血不足,氣亦虛」的狀態,大約需 6~8 週的時間才能恢復到懷孕前的生理狀態,這段時間的調養正確與否,關係到未來日子的身體健康,如果能抓住生產的機會調整體型,或治療某些生產以前身體上的症狀,按照正確的方法坐月子,好好的補充營養,充分的休息,就能帶給你往後幾十年的健康身體。

中醫婦科典籍中建議不要吃太油膩,以免腸胃消化不良,並認為坐月子時不可使用太多酒,酒量差者更不要勉強喝酒,只有在烹煮生化湯以酒當作藥引。

臨床上看到許多產婦胃口差、感覺燥熱、口乾,吃不下麻油雞和豬肝,依照中醫營養學的觀念,魚、肉、蛋、奶、蔬菜、水果坐月子時可多吃,注重均衡飲食,食物不宜過鹹,除非有腎臟疾病,否則產婦並不需要特別限制鹽、水的攝取。

所以在坐月子期間的膳食原則,應把握不油膩、酒不過量、清淡、營養均衡四大要點,趁坐月子期間調理好體質。

產後養生調理分為「一般性體質調理」及「產後併發症調理」。

一般性體質調理是指因生產時精血耗盡,身體百節空虛,任沖帶脈虛損,造成免疫功能降低、抵抗力不足,只要有充分的休息及攝取充足的營養,即可恢復體力。

病理性調理是指產後所造成的一些常見病理性反應,如水腫、便秘等症狀。


給產婦的話

坐好月子除了讓產婦身體更健康,還附加調整體質、預防腰酸、消除妊娠紋、比產前更美麗動人、容易回復身材等等好處,所以坐月子是所有女性的一項福利,不要輕易放棄。

如果坐月子的觀念與婆婆媽媽不同,要如何折衷傳統與現代的坐月子觀念呢?

建議在清潔與感染的部分用現代的方式照顧,如會陰部的傷口、身體清潔等;

至於保暖、不吹風、膳補等傳統觀念,蘊含中醫的理論,都是基於產婦的健康

,只要依據本文所提供之做法,一個月換來一輩子的健康,值得!


吹風機吹穴位,預防月內風

在現代環境、水質、保暖設備都較齊全,洗完澡只要馬上擦乾身體、吹乾頭髮,不必過於擔心會有「月內風」的情形。

怕風的媽媽,在吹完頭髮後,可以使用吹風機吹頭頸部的雙側「太陽」、「風池」、「風府」穴各30再沿著頸部膀胱經左右各吹10,可以預防風邪入侵。