It’s part of Chinese and Japanese culture for women who have just given birth to be kept at home and looked after by their mothers in the first postpartum month, so they can fully recover.
It’s believed that this period is the weakest time in a woman’s life, and she needs to rest and recuperate in order to regain her strength and health.
But the latest generations of Chinese women are changing some of these traditions and relying more upon a growing number of independent maternity care services.
Having a month off at home might sounds like heaven, but to many young girls it’s increasingly stressful, because some of their parents are so strict they won’t even allow them to wash their hair. They view it as much as a prison sentence, and count down the days until they are ‘free’.
Instead they are turning to other options including the more western approach of professional midwives or doulas.
But for those that can afford it there are some luxury maternity hotels. These are also known as confinement hotels or Zuoyuezi hotels.
Zuoyuezi is the name for the traditional Chinese practice of confinement for new mothers, which involves resting and following a strict diet.
Some of these hotels provide a luxurious and convenient alternative for new mothers, and typically offer a variety of services:
- Private rooms with all the amenities a new mother could need, such as a comfortable bed, a bathtub, and a TV.
- Round-the-clock care from nurses and confinement ladies, who can help with everything from bathing the baby to preparing meals.
- A variety of postpartum treatments, such as massages, acupuncture, and herbal baths.
- Classes on breastfeeding, baby care, and zuoyuezi.
- A social environment where new mothers can meet other mothers and share their experiences.
Maternity hotels can be expensive though with the average cost of a stay in a maternity hotel in China of around 40,000 yuan (about $6,000). However, there are also more affordable options available, starting at around 10,000 yuan (about $1,500).
Some of the most popular maternity hotels in China
- Mammybest: This chain of maternity hotels has over 100 locations in China. They offer a wide range of services and amenities, as well as a variety of classes and workshops for new mothers.
- Xiangshan Postpartum Care Center: This hotel is located in the coastal county of Xiangshan, Zhejiang province. It is affiliated with a local private maternity hospital and offers a variety of services, including round-the-clock care from nurses and confinement ladies, a variety of postpartum treatments, and classes on breastfeeding, baby care, and zuoyuezi.
- Confinement100: This hotel is located in Beijing and offers a more luxurious experience than some of the other maternity hotels in China. It has private rooms with all the amenities a new mother could need, as well as a variety of services, such as round-the-clock care from nurses and confinement ladies, a variety of postpartum treatments, and classes on breastfeeding, baby care, and zuoyuezi.
India & Malaysia
Many other cultures including India, have similar 40 day confinement periods, whereby mothers, aunts and grandmothers care for mum and baby.
In Malaysia the confinement period is known as the “pantang”. During this time, she is not supposed to do any strenuous activities, such as cooking or cleaning. She is also advised to avoid cold foods and drinks, and to eat warm, nutritious foods that are believed to help her recover.
Some women get all sorts of treats during and after pregnancy including stone massages, flower baths and healthy food. But they often have to wear a daily tummy binder to help their stomach return to normal, and can’t leave the house throughout or beware the judgemental aunties!
The confinement period seems to be widespread in Asian cultures but not so much in Anglo Saxon countries. In the United Kingdom & Australia post birth there are also doula’s for support, and the more modern options of postpartum meal deliveries.
One exception to this is in Germany where the traditional postpartum period is called Wochenbett, which literally means “week’s bed”. It is a 10 day period after giving birth when the mother is expected to rest and recover.
During this time, she is also not expected to do any housework or childcare, and is often visited by a midwife or doula who can help her with her needs.
There is no specific month long bed rest, but there are also maternity hotels, but they are not as common as they are in countries such as China.
Maternity hotels in the USA are typically geared towards wealthy families who want a luxurious and pampered experience after giving birth. They offer amenities such as private suites, gourmet meals, and 24-hour childcare. Some maternity hotels even offer services such as postpartum massages and facials.
One of the most well-known maternity hotels in the USA is the Boram Postnatal Retreat in New York City. The Boram offers suites that start at $1,400 per night and include amenities such as a Swedish Duxiana bed, a marble soaking tub, and a personal concierge. The Boram also offers a variety of services for new moms, such as lactation consultants, postpartum doulas, and meal delivery.
Another popular maternity hotel in the USA is the Postpartum Boutique in Beverly Hills, California. The Postpartum Boutique offers suites that start at $2,500 per night and include amenities such as a private balcony, a wet bar, and a Nespresso machine. The Postpartum Boutique also offers a variety of services for new moms, such as postpartum yoga, acupuncture, and massage therapy.
Maternity hotels can be a great option for new moms who want to relax and recover in comfort after giving birth. However, they are also very expensive. If you are considering a maternity hotel, it is important to compare prices and amenities to find the best option for your budget and needs.
Here are some other maternity hotels in the USA:
- The Carlyle in Irvine, California
- The Nest at Montage Laguna Beach in Laguna Beach, California
- The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe in Lake Tahoe, California
- The Peninsula New York in New York City
- The St. Regis Aspen Resort in Aspen, Colorado
There is however a growing interest in postpartum confinement in the USA, as more and more women are realizing the importance of taking time to heal and bond with their babies. There are now a number of companies and organizations that offer postpartum confinement services in the USA, such as:
These companies can provide new mothers with the support and care they need during the postpartum period, helping them to recover physically and emotionally.