Bearing children and raising them properly was an important duty of women in ancient Chinese society. The status of a mother used to be far above childless women. Though in modern China, motherhood is regarded as just another aspect of a woman’s life, certain practices and customs related Bearing children and raising them properly was an important duty of women in ancient Chinese society. The status of a mother used to be far above childless women. Though in modern China, motherhood is regarded as just another aspect of a woman’s life, certain practices and customs related to pregnancy and postpartum period continue.
Pregnancy is one of the most important and crucial stages in the life of any woman and like most other females around the world Chinese womenare also discouraged from doing heavy work and encouraged to take rest during this period. Apart from the precautions that Chinese womenare advised to take during the pregnancy, they also have to follow those postpartum practices, which are believed to play a crucial role in restoring their health and vitality. Generally women are required to go through a strict health care and diet regime for a period ranging from one to three months. During this period, which is commonly referred to as the “sitting period”, women are required to follow practices depending on the region of their residence. Most of these practices are entirely different from the ones followed in the western countries and societies.
The most prominent of the postpartum practices that Chinese womenare required to follow is to avoid exposure to anything cold. As such these females are forbidden from taking a bath, washing their hair or exposing them to cold temperature or environment at any cost. In fact the restrictions are also extended to food items as during the “sitting period”, the women are not allowed to drink or eat cold foods including, fruits, salads, raw food, ice cold water, juices etc. It is believed that the loss of blood during delivery puts the women in a “cold” stage and to reinstate their normal state and avoid exposure to cold related diseases in the future, they need to eat and drink only hot foods and beverages, such as foods, high in protein, soups, wine and hot water.
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Common Postpartum Customs Followed By Chinese Women