How long is confinement?

You’ve heard varying lengths from different people about the ideal length of traditional Chinese confinement—28 days, 30 days or 40 days. So when does confinement actually end and how long are you supposed to practice

What’s in a month?

Well, officially confinement after having a baby is supposed to last for one month. So by varying definitions, a month could be as short as 28 days, although most people go by the average of 30 days. So why is it that some people suggest a confinement period of 40 days?

Is a longer confinement good for you?

The reason why longer confinement periods are talked about is that the longer the confinement, the better it is for you. Your body does not automatically bounce back to its original vitality and health after a month—recovery is a gradual process. So obviously, the more you rest at home, nourish your body and protect yourself from wind and other environmental toxins, the better it is for you.

In fact, many practitioners of Chinese medicine think that 60 days is the best. But for many women, 60 days of confinement is unthinkable. They can barely get through a month without breaking all the rules and becoming stir-crazy at home. So that’s why confinement isn’t really enforced past 28 days or so.


Confinement is a time for mums to rest and recover from pregnancy and delivery – and to work towards a good start in breastfeeding.

Individual needs

Something more important but harder to gauge is how your body is responding. Some women naturally have strong constitutions. They don’t have difficult births and they recover quickly, having just as much energy as they did before pregnancy. You can see how such women would prefer shorter confinement periods as they are raring to go back out into the world.

However, if you’ve had a difficult pregnancy, labour complications or a Caesarean, your body may not be recovering so quickly. Essentially, the more trauma your body’s experienced, the harder it is to heal and the longer time it needs. Your body may also be more susceptible to wind and illness unless you nourish it back to its original balance and immunity. For these reasons, you may benefit from an extended confinement.


Engaging the services from a reliable post-natal care service provider may help to ease your worries during confinement.

To help you recover from delivery and cope with the needs of a newborn during confinement, you can also sign-up for post natal care services from hospitals and specialised providers such as Thomson Medical Centre (TMC).

Apart from the Childbirth Education classes that you can sign up during pregnancy at TMC, the hospital also provides the following post natal care services:

  • Confinement nanny – You can look forward to a restful confinement period as the trained confinement nannies at TMC help to look after the needs of mum and baby. Here, you’ll have the option to choose from a stay-in nanny or a day/night-time nanny.
  • Confinement food delivery – Part of the recuperation process during confinement lies in the food you eat to replenish your energy and keep up with the demands of nursing your newborn. With the Thomson Confinement Food Service, you’ll get fresh confinement food using carefully selected ingredients and herbs delivered right at your doorstep.
  • Confinement herbal care – As every pregnant mum’s needs differ, you will be assessed by a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) physician after delivery. Through the assessment, a customised prescription for 28 days will be given to you – consisting of herbal powder and capsules that can be easily consumed with warm water.


How do other Asian cultures practice confinement? Read more about it on the next page…