Body Constitutions and Confinement Principles
The concept of confinement has been recorded ever since the Song Dynasty in China. It is practiced commonly in China and various other oriental countries.
The traditional way of confinement was perceived as a superstition practice by many in the past. However, science and sociology today have developed the concept of confinement to a knowledge-based concept than just a mere superstition.
It is profound to understand how women recuperate their body through confinement. When confinement care is planned according to individual body constitution, greater results can be achieved.
Traditional Chinese medicine classifies human body into 9 different constitutions: Blood-Stasis, Qi-Stagnation, Neutral, Qi-Deficient, Phlegm and Dampness, Yin-Deficient, Yang-Deficient, Allergic, and Damp-Heat.
Human body can also be categorized into 3 different attributes: Cold Body Type, Hot Body Type, and Neutral Body Type.
In order to comply with the proper diet therapy during the confinement period for a greater and speedier recovery, postpartum mothers may understand their body type and the suitable diet and medicines to be taken.
Cold Body Type
Characteristics: Cold body type is commonly caused of an excess of Yin energy that leads to an imbalanced level of Yin-Yang. Prior to the pregnancy period, women with cold body type tend to be fatigue, afraid of coldness, limbs are constantly cold, paleness in face and lips, inconsistent menstrual cycle, and having blood clot in period.
Mothers with cold body type usually suffered from cold stomach and poor circulation of qi and blood, hence it is advisable to consume more food that is warming and replenishing to improve both qi and blood circulation. Food that is warming and replenishing increases body heat, improves the functioning state of internal organs, energizes the body, and helps to recover from body fatigue and limbs coldness.
Suggested Foods: Sesame Oil Chicken, Wine Cooked Chicken Soup, Four Substances Soup (Si Wu Tang), Ten Ingredients Tonic Soup, etc.
Note: Spicy food and food that is over-replenishing should be avoided during the first week after giving birth to prevent problems like rapid heartbeat, constipation, etc.
The older generations say fruits should be avoided during confinement, especially for those with cold body type. However, dieticians perceived that it is absolutely fine to consume fruits in moderate amount during confinement period, as it helps the digestion and absorption of nutrients and prevents constipation. Indeed, so long as the fruit is not naturally cold attributed, then it is absolutely fine to consume it.
Suitable fruits: Lychee, longan, apple, strawberry, cherry, grape
Not suitable fruits: Cold attributed fruits and vegetables (watermelon, papaya, cantaloupe, etc.)
Hot Body Type
Characteristics: Mothers with hot body type tend to have flushed face and congested eyes, afraid of heat, limbs and palms are constantly warm, suffered from dry mouth and constipation, stools are often dry and hard. Some tend to have thick and yellowish mucus and phlegm, urination in small volume, strong smell and yellowish in color, dry tongue coating, ruptured lips, acnes on skin, piles, etc.
Not advisable to consuming too many hot attributed food like Sesame Oil Chicken, Wine Cooked Chicken Soup, and Ginger Wine Chicken. When preparing confinement meals for mothers with such body type, the usage of ginger wine and sesame oil should be cut down, and aims at moisturizing and reducing body heat.
Suggested Foods: Pork Rib Soup, Fish Soup, Black Glutinous Rice, Chinese Yam Chicken
Fruits: Orange, strawberry, cherry and grape in small amount. Avoid consuming too many hot attributed fruits, such as lychee and longan.
Neutral Body Type
Characteristics: Neutral body type generally does not come with have any particular symptom. Those with cold body type do not have a colder or warmer body. Hence, they tend not to experience issues like dry mouth, limbs coldness, etc.
Mothers with this body type have wider range of choices in both medicine and food. During the confinement period, avoid fruits and vegetables that are overly cold attributed, while other types of food are most likely suitable for consumption.
Suggested Foods: Balanced diet, Sesame Oil Chicken, Wine Cooked Chicken Soup, Pork Rib Soup, Fish Soup
Suggested Fruits: Strawberry, cherry, apple, grape, etc.
All postpartum mothers are not advisable to eat excessively during confinement period no matter the body types. Women are at extremely vulnerable stages after giving birth as pregnancy and delivery takes a toll on a woman’s body.
Before the body recuperate back to a healthy condition, it is better to consume more meals but in less portion each. Adopt a suitable diet therapy to recover the stomach and bodily function back to prenatal condition. With proper diet therapy, a woman may even have a better bodily function than her prenatal self.
The above contents are extracted from various resources both online and in print.