Table 2

Comparison between Traditional Practices for "Doing the Month" and Expected Diet and Lifestyle that We Advocated during the Postpartum Period

Traditional practices for "doing the month"

Expected diet and lifestyle during the postpartum period

Dietary Habits

Eat plenty of food

Increase total amount of food in accordance with energy expenditure

Meat-based diet components

Diverse food with both animal foods and plant-derived foods

Eat "hot" or "Yang" food (referred to meat, sugar, eggs, chicken soup, et al)

Ensure sufficient protein intake from fish, poultry meat, lean meat and eggs

Enjoy milk, soybeans, or their products daily Restrict fat intake from animal foods

Avoid "cold" or "Yin" food (referred to fruit, vegetables, cold water, et al)

Eat more vegetables fruits and nuts in various species

Drink sufficient quantity of water and juice every day

Have liquid food, such as non-greasy soup, before or between meals

Keep dietary taboos in mind

Advise the woman against dietary taboos about foods which are nutritionally healthy. Reassure the mother that she can eat any normal foods.

Talk to family members such as husband and mother-in-law, to encourage them to help ensure the woman eats enough.

Eat more foods rich in dietary fiber

Supplement with vitamins and minerals

Restrict salt consumption in diet

Avoid drinking alcohol, strong tea or coffee

Other Health-related behaviors

Never brush teeth

Brush teeth twice per day

Never bathe or wash hair

If possible, take a shower every day in a warm room and wash hair at least once a week

Shut well all windows or doors all the time

Ventilate regularly, but avoiding the cold wind blowing directly to the mother and child

Always lie in bed without any physical activity almost all day and night

Do maternal keep-fit exercises and increase physical activities gradually to maintain a healthy weight

Bao et al. BMC Public Health 2010 10:103   doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-103

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