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Zhang Shasha stares out the window at a rare, blue, Beijing sky. “Next week I can go out,” she says. “I miss outside!”
But for now she has to remain indoors, wrapped in a thick sweater and woollen hat, even though it is a warm spring day.
Deeply rooted in Chinese culture, women have observed zuoyuezi, or the “sitting the month”, for generations.
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It is considered crucial for new mothers and their babies, and they are expected to remain indoors for at least one month after giving birth, following a strict and elaborate set of rules such as not washing their hair and eating pig’s feet soup.
But this age-old ritual has now become a big business in modern China with wealthy women hiring professional confinement ladies to help them navigate this fraught period.
101 East goes inside the private world of confinement to explore the growing industry that has emerged to meet Chinese mothers’ every need.
If you’re a mother, we want to hear from you. Have you done traditional Chinese postpartum confinement? Or were there other practices you swore by? Share your postpartum rituals with 101 East on their Facebook page