It is a painful topic to broach - miscarriage. But unfortunately, in Singapore many women have suffered a miscarriage. In fact, it is estimated that one in four to six pregnancies end in a miscarriage, according to SingHealth.
Miscarriages are devastating because you go through the joy of finding out you're pregnant, but never have the chance to see your baby in the world. It is an emotionally and physically taxing time for a woman.
What happens to a woman's body after a miscarriage is similar to what happens when she gives birth. She goes through extreme bodily changes and subsequently, have to go through a healing period. During this time, many women also practice confinement.
CONFINEMENT AFTER MISCARRIAGE
Firstly, what is confinement? Confinement practices are common across Asia. In Singapore, all three major races practice confinement. Chinese confinement, Malay confinement and Indian confinement all differ greatly from each other, but the root of it is the same. Confinement is done to help a mother recover postpartum.
A mother's body is often weak after giving birth or experiencing a miscarriage. Therefore, many Asian households will also practice confinement after miscarriage.
Though not as extensive as confinement after delivery, confinement after miscarriage also follows certain rules. There are no hard and fast rules for it and most people would not hire a confinement lady in this case. But these are general practices for those looking to recover better after a miscarriage.
CONFINEMENT AFTER MISCARRIAGE: PRACTICES AND RULES
Whether you choose to go through confinement for two weeks, a month or longer, here's what you need to know about confinement after miscarriage.
1. RESTRICT MOVEMENT
Going through a miscarriage is as taxing on the body as it is going through a delivery. Mummies should limit their movement after having a miscarriage as it can delay your recovery period. Avoid exercising and doing strenuous activities during this period and give your body some time to rest and recuperate.
2. EAT NUTRITIOUS FOODS
It is entirely up to you whether you want to follow a strict confinement diet or not, but the least you should be doing is eating nutritious foods. Eat foods that are high in protein and iron to replace what your body has lost. Do not go on a diet or starve yourself during this period. Though you might have little to no mood to eat, you should try to keep to a healthy meal plan during this time.
Avoid junk food and instant noodles if possible. Avoid food that might be too spicy or irritable for your body. This also means you should avoid raw food, deep fried food and other unhealthy foods. The last thing you need is to worry about your bowel movements while you're trying to recover.
3. AVOID EXTREME TEMPERATURE CHANGES
The Chinese believe that you should not wash your hair or sleep in an air-conditioned room after giving birth. Though many modern mums no longer follow these rules, there is some truth to it. Washing your hair is optional, but if you choose to do so, you should quickly dry your hair and sit around with damp hair for too long.
Air-conditioned rooms might also be too cold for your body during this time, so try to keep warm as much as you can. Don't expose yourself to too many temperature changes (like walking from a hot sunny balcony directly into a really cold air-conditioned room). This can leave you susceptible to illnesses.
4. TAKE IT EASY
Though you might not be afforded the same luxury in the form of maternity leave as you would if you had gone through your whole pregnancy, it is still important to take time off. Some women prefer to go back to work immediately after a miscarriage, but you should try to take a few extra days off if possible.
Rest is essential during this period. Take it easy, try not to stress too much during this time.
SHOULD YOU DO CONFINEMENT AFTER A MISCARRIAGE?
While there is no hard and fast rule whether you should do it, most older women in Asia would recommend that you go through some of the practices, even if it's for a short while.
Every woman is different and will handle their pregnancy and miscarriage differently. Do what you feel is best for your body and don't feel too pressured to bow to societal influences.
This article was first published in theAsianparent.