Around the World Series | Traditional Thailand postpartum practices

This month, we delve into the postpartum traditions of Thailand, recognising the significance of embracing diverse cultural practices to provide support to mothers during their postpartum journey.

Thailand's postpartum period follows traditional practices influenced by traditional Indian and Chinese postpartum concepts. It emphasizes the importance of rest, healing, and nourishment for women. After giving birth, Thai women are encouraged to complete a confinement period, known as "doing the month," this involves both the mother and baby confine themselves for a minimum of 30 days. This period is seen as essential for the mother to fully restore her health.

During these 30 days, mothers are advised to limit physical exertion, focusing on regaining strength, mental well-being, and consuming nourishing meals to ensure quality breast milk production.

Nourishment plays a vital role during this period of rest. Mothers are encouraged to consume simple and plain meals accompanied by a few dishes, such as plain rice with soup. The food is advised to be mildly seasoned, not too hot or salty. Cold water consumption is strictly forbidden, as it is believed that cold water may introduce cold meridians into the body, potentially causing illness. Instead, mothers are advised to drink boiled water, that is believed to aid in breast milk production.

Bathing is considered an important aspect of postpartum recovery. Mothers are advised to take warm baths, either plain or infused with herbs, to aid in the body's healing process after childbirth.

The traditional practice of "Yue Fai," also known as "Lying by the fire," stems from the belief that the mother and baby are exposed to cold and damp conditions during conception. To counterbalance this, mothers lie by a hot fire to warm their bodies and promote internal drying. Some women also place a heated stone on their abdomen, wrapped in cloth, to facilitate the uterus's return to its normal state.

Regarding intimacy, women are discouraged from engaging in sexual activity until their confinement period is completed. Resuming intimate activities is typically advised once vaginal bleeding has ceased.

By understanding and embracing these postpartum traditions, we can collectively support mothers during their postpartum journey, fostering a sense of community and well-being.

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