Postnatal Conditions, Confinement R​ecipes​

​The postnatal period or confinement is a critical time for new mothers to adapt and recuperate their health. As this may be a totally new experience for some mothers, much energy is channeled into fe​eding​ and taking care​ of the newborn. Thus, many new mothers may find little time to care for themselves and hence conditions such as insomnia, fatigue or depression ​may be easily triggered. 

In traditional Asian culture, the confinement period is crucial for the mother’s body system, which had just undergone the physical demands of pregnancy and labour, to recuperate. 

Some Common Postnatal Conditions

Lochiorrhea (excessive amount of lochia)

Lochia refers to vaginal discharge after delivery of baby. This usually consists of blood, debris, leukocytes (white blood cells) and serous (watery) fluids from the womb in the first two weeks after childbirth. 

Lochiorrhea is excessive amount of lochia especially after more than three weeks of childbirth. Lochiorrhea must be treated as soon as possible to prevent excessive loss of blood that may lead to anemia. 

Postpartum hypogalactia

This is defined as abnormally low milk secretion that is insufficient to breastfeed the newborn. 

It is important to distinguish hypogalactia from diminished milk secretion due to blocked ducts of the nipples. 

Granny’s Recipe for Confinement 

There are some recipes from our grandmothers, which have been used over decades to ensure a smooth and pleasant confinement period for new mothers.​ 

​Pig Trotters in Black Vinegar Recipe​​


1 pair of pig trotters 
1 kg of matured ginger 
6 tablespoons of sesame seed oil 
4 cups of black vinegar 
600 g of brown sugar 
4 hard-boiled eggs 
9 cups of water 


  1. Clean the pig trotters and chop into big cubes. 
  2. Heat the sesame oil, add in ginger and fry till golden brown. 
  3. Place the fried ginger in a big clay pot and stir in vinegar, sugar and water. 
  4. Bring to boil and leave to simmer for about half an hour. 
  5. Add the pig’s trotters and continue to simmer until the meat is tender. 
  6. Add the egg about 30 minutes before serving. 
  7. ​Best served warm. 

​Chinese Herbal Bath​​

​Note: This prescription is NOT suitable for mothers with fever after labour. 

Improves blood circulation in new mothers.


Artemesia argyi 30 g 
Eucommia ulmoides 20 g 
Ledebouriella divaricata 20 g 
Perilla frutescens 20 g 


  1. Put the first three herbs in a muslin bag and seal. 
  2. Then put the herbs in a water kettle and bring to boil. 
  3. After boiling, discard the herbs and pour the water into the bath tub. Add same amount of hot water to fill the tub. 
  4. If bathtub is not available, the boiled decoction can be used to soak the feet or simply by rinsing or wiping the body with the herbal solution. ​

​Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I consume Essence of Chicken during confinement?

Essence of Chicken is made from chicken and contains no stimulants. It may improve absorption of iron and thus, restore your blood hemoglobin quicker. Also, it may help to reduce physical and mental fatigue. 

2. Can I consume Lingzhi (Ganoderma Lucidum) during confinement? 

Lingzhi helps in the recovery after childbirth and is useful for insomnia or fatigue in new mothers. Due to the different species and product forms (e.g. capsules, tablets, powdered herbs) of Lingzhi, it is strongly recommended to consult your doctor before consumption if you are breastfeeding.

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​Source: Dr TAN Thiam Chye, Dr TAN Kim Teng, Dr TAN Heng Hao, Dr TEE Chee Seng John, The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth, World Scientific 2008.