New life is an incredibly special time, but it also comes with its challenges. Chinese culture believes confinement helps new mothers recover and regain their strength after childbirth. Certain foods are strictly prohibited during this time due to their adverse effects on the body. Discover which food to avoid during confinement and learn how to prepare for this unique experience!

Why Is It Used?

It is a cultural practice that Chinese women have practiced for centuries to assist new mothers in recovering from childbirth and to enhance their overall well-being. A strict routine of rest, diet, and hygiene is followed by the mother during the confinement period, which typically lasts 30-40 days. Chinese Medical Confinement actively promotes postpartum recovery by rebalancing the body. 

According to traditional Chinese medicine, the body undergoes an imbalance between yin (cold) and yang (heat) after childbirth, which can lead to fatigue, insomnia, and depression. The body’s equilibrium can be restored more rapidly if specific dietary restrictions and meticulous hygiene are observed during the confinement period. Moreover, this time allows new mothers to bond with their infants without distractions or external stressors.

Although some aspects of Chinese Medical Confinement may seem outdated or unnecessary in modern times, numerous women still adhere to this tradition because they believe it speeds up their physical and mental recovery.

Effects of Confinement on the Baby

Traditional Chinese confinement involves caring for the mother and newborn during the first month following birth. While this practice has existed for centuries, there is lingering concern about its impact on infants. A potential consequence of confinement for babies is reduced exposure to natural light and fresh air. 

Families may confine their babies indoors or limit outdoor time based on cultural beliefs or fears of illness. Consequently, vitamin D deficiency and compromised immunity can result. Overfeeding can lead to obesity and future health issues, as some families consider larger babies healthier.

A newborn’s liver or nervous system may be damaged if specific Chinese herbs or remedies are improperly administered without medical supervision during confinement. Parents should be aware of these potential effects and work with healthcare professionals to ensure their child receives appropriate nutrition, exercise, and safety measures during this period.

Foods to Avoid During Chinese Confinement

There is certain food to avoid during confinement because they are believed to possess properties that can be detrimental or counterproductive.

  • Cold or raw foods, such as watermelon, cucumber, and lettuce, are commonly prohibited because they are believed to cause diarrhea and disrupt digestion.
  • It is also forbidden to eat spicy foods during confinement, as spices such as chili peppers and ginger can cause bodily inflammation, which can cause postpartum bleeding.
  • You should know food to avoid during confinement that contains high-fat content, such as fried dishes, oily meals, fatty meats (such as pork belly), and creamy soups, stews, and sauces.
  • New mothers should refrain from consuming alcohol and caffeinated beverages for at least three months after childbirth because these substances can adversely affect milk production.

In conclusion, traditional Chinese medicinal practices recommend that new mothers refrain from consuming cold/raw foods, spicy dishes, high-fat-content meals (including fried/oily/fatty options and creamy soups/stews/sauces), as well as alcoholic and caffeinated beverages during this crucial post-pregnancy period.

The Different Types of Chinese Food

The Chinese cuisine boasts a wide variety of dishes with a long history of evolving traditions. Various types of Chinese food are recognized as beneficial during confinement, helping new mothers regain their health and facilitating their recovery.

  1. The “Yang sheng” category includes dishes like chicken soup, fish, and pork liver, which are believed to provide essential nutrients for healing.
  1. Chinese cuisine also includes “warming” or “hot” foods. These dishes contain ingredients like ginger, garlic, and other spices that promote blood circulation and reduce inflammation.
  1. During confinement, food to avoid during confinement it is best to avoid certain types of foods, such as cold or raw foods, which can interfere with digestion and weaken the digestive system.

It can be significantly beneficial to a healthy recovery during the confinement period following childbirth to understand the diverse range of Chinese foods. Successful outcomes can be achieved when nourishing meals are selected using traditional techniques and detrimental ingredients or cooking methods are avoided.

Tips for Eating Chinese Food Safely

To eat Chinese food safely during confinement, it is important to take specific precautions. Consider the following guidelines about food to avoid during confinement:

  1. Carefully select restaurants When planning to eat out, choose restaurants known for their cleanliness and hygiene. Check online reviews to make an informed decision.
  1. Steer clear of street vendors Although street vendors may offer tempting snacks, their adherence to strict hygiene standards is often questionable, which may lead to stomach issues.
  1. Exercise caution with sauces Chinese cuisine heavily relies on sauces, but be wary of homemade or uncooked sauces as they may harbor bacteria.
  1. Inquire about ingredients Some traditional Chinese dishes feature unique ingredients, such as herbal remedies or exotic meats like snake or turtle. If unfamiliar with these varieties, ask about them beforehand.
  1. Prepare meals at home The safest way to ensure the consumption of safe Chinese food is by cooking at home, where you can maintain control over the preparation and cooking processes. This approach also allows for customization based on personal preferences and dietary requirements.

By adhering to these straightforward tips, you can savor delicious Chinese cuisine without compromising your health during the confinement period.

How to Prepare for Chinese Confinement?

For a comfortable and seamless experience during Chinese confinement, several significant measures must be taken. Finding a qualified and experienced confinement nanny who can provide effective guidance through this period is the first step. A large supply of traditional Chinese herbs is also important, including red dates, ginger, dang gui, and goji berries.

You should consume nutritious foods and engage in regular exercise before the beginning of your confinement period to prepare your body. Take prenatal classes or read books about breastfeeding, infant care, and postpartum recovery to strengthen your immune system and prepare your body for childbirth. To create a relaxing environment for you and your baby, it is imperative to follow the guidelines provided by your confinement nanny regarding diet, rest, hygiene, and other daily routines.

This unique period of Chinese confinement can be thoroughly prepared for if you conscientiously follow these steps and approach them with dedication. Every woman’s experience is unique, so be patient with yourself if things don’t go exactly as planned!


New mothers need to be aware of the food to avoid during confinement since they significantly affect their recovery and well-being. The purpose of this article was to provide valuable insight into the different types of Chinese medical confinement practices and their uses. Moreover, we stressed the importance of avoiding specific food items during this period as well as the potential effects of confinement on both the mother and the baby.

Following these guidelines can enhance your chances of a smooth recovery and ensure optimal health outcomes for both you and your newborn child. By carefully following these guidelines on how to food to avoid during confinement, you can enhance your chances of a smooth recovery.