In China, the month after childbirth is both a critical and sacred time for mother and baby, and most new moms choose to stay in lockdown for those thirty days, otherwise known as confinement.
While the word "confinement" may have negative connotations here, the practice is deeply rooted in cultures with an emphasis on respect for mothers and children.
USA Today reports that, according to traditional Chinese medicine, the month after giving birth is when new mothers are especially vulnerable to health problems, so they're not supposed to go outside, take a bath, brush their teeth or do anything else that could allow "bad wind" into their bodies.
The confinement period is also a source of big business in China. While we have doulas, the Chinese have confinement specialists. In fact, if you do not have relatives staying with you to help you follow the rules of confinement, known as cho yuet, you can stay in one of China's many postpartum hotels. But not everyone can afford this, so participating in confinement has become a status symbol.
Many Latin American countries practice La Cuarentena, or forty days of rest for the mother after her baby is born. During this period, diet and cleanliness guidelines are strictly adhered to, and rest is of the utmost importance.