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Traditional beliefs and practices in the postpartum period in Fujian Province, China: a qualitative study

Raven, Joanna ORCID:, Chen, Qiyan, Tolhurst, Rachel ORCID: and Garner, Paul ORCID: (2007) 'Traditional beliefs and practices in the postpartum period in Fujian Province, China: a qualitative study'. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, Vol 7, Issue 8.

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Background: Zuo yuezi is the month postpartum in China associated with a variety of traditional
beliefs and practices. We explored the current status of zuo yuezi from social, cultural and western
medical perspectives.
Methods: We interviewed family members (36) and health workers (8) in Fujian Province,
selecting one rural and one rapidly developing urban county. We asked about their traditional
beliefs and their behaviour postpartum. We used a framework approach to identify main themes.
We categorised reported behaviour against their probable effects on health, drawing on Western
Results: Respondents reported that zuo yuezi was commonly practiced in urban and rural families
to help the mother regain her strength and protect her future health. Zuo yuezi included: dietary
precautions, such as eating more food and avoiding cold food; behavioural precautions, such as
staying inside the home, avoiding housework and limiting visitors; hygiene precautions, such as
restricting bathing and dental hygiene; and practices associated with infant feeding, including
supplementary feeding and giving honeysuckle herb to the infant. Respondents reported that the
main reasons for adhering to these practices were respect for tradition, and following the advice
of elders. Categorised against Western medical standards, several zuo yuezi practices are beneficial,
including eating more, eating protein rich food, avoiding housework, and daily vulval and perineal
hygiene. A few are potentially harmful, including giving honeysuckle herb, and avoiding dental
hygiene. Some women reported giving infants supplementary feeds, although zuo yuezi emphasises
breast feeding.
Conclusion: Zuo yuezi is an important ritual in Fujian. In medical terms, most practices are
beneficial, and could be used by health staff to promote health in this period. Further research on
reported potentially harmful practices, such as supplements to breast feeding, is needed

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:
Uncontrolled Keywords: qualitative, China
Subjects: WA Public Health > WA 20.5 Research (General)
WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 310 Maternal welfare
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WQ Obstetrics > WQ 500 Postnatal care
Faculty: Department: Groups (2002 - 2012) > International Health Group
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Faye Moody
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2012 10:51
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2020 10:07


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