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Dec 8 2010

Chinese Postpartum Traditions

By at 11:19 am

Pig knuckle soup to eat after giving birth. Photo by Tina Zeng.

You  know, we really don’t have it that bad. The “we” here being the Jews.

I know it’s annoying that a lot of our superstitious mothers don’t want us to buy baby supplies or have baby showers before the baby comes. But what if they didn’t want us to shower at all?

That is what this woman is dealing with. In many Chinese cultures the post-partum period is considered crucial for the mother to properly recover from the birth. So, after you give birth you’re not supposed to shower for a week or go outside (the latter is not such a bad idea if adhering to the former) and your health is considered compromised if you don’t eat a soup made primarily of pigs knuckle, ginger, and eggs.

Karin Mak, a Chinese-American woman based in Los Angeles wrote an article last week (just a day before her first child was due) for the Alhambra Source about the traditions her mother is trying to pass down to her

The article offers a pretty fascinating glimpse into another culture’s postpartum traditions. Here are a few highlights,

• Try not to shampoo your hair for the first week at least. Again use ginger water to shampoo if you really have to. Blow dry hair immediately.

• After giving birth, drink roasted rice water instead of plain water for several days.


• Drink the roasted rice tea or boiled water. Do not drink straight from the tap.

• Keep warm all the time.
I’d love to hear your family’s traditions. Please send ‘em my way.

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on Kveller are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

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