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Your Burning Questions About Confinement: Answered by TCM Physicians

Congratulations, soon-to-be or new mothers! As you embark on the beautiful and sometimes overwhelming journey of motherhood, remember your health and well-being should never take a backseat, especially during the delicate postpartum period. 


Confinement, a time-honoured tradition in many cultures, is the opportunity for mothers to rest, recuperate, and nourish their bodies after childbirth. But what exactly does confinement entail and how can Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) enhance this experience?


Here at Thomson Chinese Medicine, a TCM clinic in Singapore, we are thrilled to introduce you to our TCM physicians – Jun Negoro and Zhou Jing who are both practising at Paragon Medical Centre, and Ho Chin Ee who is practising at Waterway Point. They will be answering some of your burning questions to guide you through your confinement journey. 


Before that, let us first debunk some common myths surrounding this important period.


Myth 1: Drinking plain water is bad

Despite common misconceptions, the notion that drinking plain water during confinement leads to increased water retention and excessive cooling of the body is unfounded. In reality, maintaining adequate hydration is important, especially if you are breastfeeding. Our physicians recommended consuming 7 to 8 glasses of warm water daily to support your overall health and well-being during this period.


Myth 2: Do not shower or wash your hair

Bathing used to involve cold water sourced from wells or rainwater, posing potential contamination risks. However, with modern advancements, you have access to clean water and water heaters. That is why showering is not only acceptable but also recommended for maintaining optimal personal hygiene. This will help you keep postpartum wounds clean and dry, reducing the risk of infection following childbirth. Take short, warm showers or use a herbal bath which can be easily purchased at a TCM clinic in Singapore


Myth 3: Do not cry as it would lead to eye problems

This myth stems from the belief that blood loss during childbirth could potentially weaken the eyes, as both eye and blood health are interconnected with the Liver system, according to TCM principles. But crying is a natural and healthy means of releasing stress and coping with the emotions that accompany motherhood. Suppressing tears, on the contrary, is not conducive to overall well-being, so allow yourself to express emotions through crying when needed. Nonetheless, if your mood is constantly low for more than a month, do not hesitate to reach out to a professional for help. 


Answering Your Burning Questions


1. What are some food or drinks mothers can consume during confinement?

You can take Sheng Hua Tang, an herbal soup known to enhance blood circulation, prevent retention of placental fragments in the uterus, and promote uterine contraction. However, if you have undergone a C-section or experienced excessive bleeding during childbirth, our physicians advise delaying consuming this soup. 


Additionally, opt for nourishing and warming ingredients such as old ginger, black vinegar, sesame oil, and scallions or spring onions to support your digestive system. It is also wise to focus on consuming light and easily digestible foods in the first week before gradually incorporating heavier options like pig’s trotter in vinegar. 


Consider incorporating recommended confinement herbs such as dang gui (当归), huang qi (黄芪), and longan red date tea (桂圆红枣茶) into your diet to boost Qi and Blood. If you have a heaty body constitution, exercise caution with these herbs as they may potentially overheat your body. Consult a TCM physician for personalised guidance when in doubt.


2. Can mothers exercise during confinement?

It is advisable to steer clear of strenuous exercises during confinement as excessive exertion may deplete your body’s Qi. But, once you feel ready, incorporating low-impact exercises such as yoga and brisk walking can be beneficial for enhancing blood circulation and alleviating stress.


3. Can I shower or have a fan blow at me during confinement?

Yes, it is completely acceptable to shower during confinement, as mentioned above. Make sure to dry your hair thoroughly and avoid standing under the fan or aircon after showering. 


4. How can mothers boost their milk supply naturally?

This is where a confinement herbs list comes into play – herbs like fenugreek, fennel, milk thistle, and nettle are renowned for their lactogenic properties. Additionally, incorporating fish and papaya soup into your diet can further promote lactation. We have specially crafted a balanced and nutritious menu at Thomson Nutri, tailored to aid in your recovery while boosting your milk supply. Adequate fluid intake is also essential for replenishing Qi and blood supply, while Chinese medicine and acupuncture can effectively address issues such as blocked Qi, blood, and milk in the breasts.


5. Is it wise for mothers to shorten their confinement period?

Our physicians strongly advise completing the entire 30-day confinement period, as comprehensive care during this time is vital for restoring Qi, replenishing blood loss, and strengthening your body’s constitution, among numerous other benefits.


6. How do I recuperate faster during confinement?

You can explore our personalised Confinement Herbal Care Programme, tailored to suit your unique body constitution and aid in post-delivery recovery. The programme consists of three distinct stages:

– Uterus Recovery: Focuses on promoting the healing and strengthening of the uterus.

– Digestive Wellness and Breastfeeding: Targets enhancing digestive health and supporting optimal breastfeeding.

– Vitality Booster: Aims to rejuvenate and energise the body, boosting overall vitality.


7. Are bird’s nests and chicken essences recommended during confinement?

You can incorporate one serving of chicken essence into your daily routine starting from the second week postpartum. But exercise caution with bird’s nest consumption, as it is advisable to begin only after water retention has subsided. Additionally, refrain from consuming bird’s nest if you have a weak digestive system.


We hope we have managed to clarify your doubts. Whether you are seeking advice on confinement herbs or looking for personalised postpartum care, schedule a consultation with us today and experience the benefits of TCM for yourself. 


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