10 Feb Postpartum confinement
Postpartum confinement refers to a traditional practice following childbirth. Those who practice it typically begin immediately after the birth, and it lasts for a culturally variable length: typically for one month or 30 days, up to 40 days, two months or 100 days. This postnatal recuperation can include “traditional health beliefs, taboos, rituals, and proscription.” The practice used to be known as “lying-in”, which, as the term suggests, centres around bed rest. In some cultures, it may be connected to taboos concerning impurity after childbirth.
The custom is well-documented in China, where it is known as “Sitting the month”. Japanese women know it as “Sango no hidachi” and Koreans as “Samchilil“, which means “twenty-one”. In Latin American countries it is called la cuarentena, i.e. “forty days” (the source of the English word “quarantine”). In India, it is called jaappa (also transliterated japa).