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5 Myths About Confinement You Shouldn’t Fall For – Reassured By Doctors

Chief Editor | Published on February 9, 2023

You may run marathons and climb mountains, but few physical feats are as exhausting as giving birth! Given the demanding rigours of labour, what you do (and don’t do) in the month following your delivery can determine your health in the long run. So, while you pamper yourself with rest and nourishment, be careful not to let these confinement myths sidetrack — or even harm — your recovery.

Myth 1: “Don’t Drink Plain Water”

Originating from the false belief that drinking water causes water retention, this myth can cause major health issues if you subscribe to it. Post-delivery, prevention of water retention is unnecessary; your kidneys automatically produce more urine to remove excess fluid accumulated throughout the course of your pregnancy. Not only that, you’ll need sufficient hydration to maintain your health and, if you’re breastfeeding, produce enough milk for your baby.

Myth 2: “Consume Traditional Herbs and Alcohol”

What sounds logical at face value may prove dangerous. “There are various substances present in traditional herbs that we are not fully aware of,” warns Dr Tan Thiam Chye, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist (OBGYN) at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital. “If you’re breastfeeding, you should also avoid alcohol as it might be passed to your baby through your breastmilk. Alcohol may affect your newborn’s liver and worsen jaundice if it’s already present.”

Myth 3: “Keep Fans and Air-conditioners Switched Off”

A major traditional confinement belief is that new mums (and their newborns) should avoid wind like the plague! Reality, however, is far from truth. To help baby and you sleep better and prevent heat rash in Singapore’s oppressive heat, some form of cooling is essential. Just make sure that cold wind isn’t blowing directly onto you or your baby; set your fan or your air-conditioning vent to oscillating (or swing) mode for best effect. Same with showering and washing your hair; go ahead, but make sure a towel and hairdryer is within reach.

Myth 4: “I Can Only Eat Liver and Meats”

Statements like these are ill-advised as they advocate an imbalanced diet. “Whatever your beliefs are, it’s important to take a well-balanced diet — including grains, vegetables and fruits — to replenish your body’s stores during confinement,” says Dr Tan. “If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you may be advised to take iron or vitamin supplements to satisfy your nutritional demands.”

Myth 5: “Don’t Read or Cry”

Contrary to the old wives’ tale, you don’t have to besiege yourself with boredom during your confinement. “While the traditional belief is that reading or crying causes eye problems later in life, this claim has absolutely no scientific logic,” reassures Dr Tan. Now you can have no qualms about watching your favourite tear-jerkers on Netflix.

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