Skip to content

Birthing Traditions and Practices in China

Purple Ampersand

In China, new practises are in place that follow the modern medical norm, however there are still many Chinese families that follow the traditional birthing methods, that have been part of their culture for centuries.

In Chinese culture, the balancing on the Yin and the Yang is very important in all aspects of their life. To help to keep them balanced during pregnancy, Chinese women take several measures to ensure they give birth to a happy and healthy baby. As soon as they discover they are pregnant, women are discouraged from any form of work, as they believe that any movement of the babies’ position could cause injury to the baby and mother. Expectant mothers are also discouraged from looking at anything that would be deemed unpleasant, or saying anything negative, and are instead made to look at beautiful and positive things to pass this energy onto the baby.

While pregnant, Chinese women are also encouraged to eat cold foods, as they believe pregnancy is a ‘hot’ condition, and that eating cold food will maintain the balance of Yin and Yang. Different cultures within China have differing beliefs on which foods are best – for example Cantonese women do not consume mutton, as in Cantonese it has the same pronunciation as ‘epilepsy’. Whereas pregnant Hokkien women in South-East China do not eat crabs, as they believe this will cause the baby to be badly behaved.

Chinese parents also use the Chinese gender chart, that is allegedly over 90% accurate. The chart is said to have been found over 700 years ago in a Royal Tomb, and predicts the babies gender based on the moment the baby was conceived and the age of the mother. When the mother delivers her first child, her mother is present but does not attend the birth of any siblings that may come along and although very difficult, the Chinese believe that being as quiet as possible during labour will keep away the evil spirits that screaming can bring. The father is not expected to attend the birth, but is expected to give the baby its first bath.

After the safe delivery of the baby, the mother will then begin a ‘sitting month’, which over recent years, has become affectionately known as ‘30 days in pyjamas’ by more modern Chinese parents. The mother will be expected to rest and not do any work including housework and is put on a strict diet of foods thought to help her body recover. She is encouraged not to wash as this could make her likely to catch a cold, and should not comb her hair to prevent headaches. She must also wear layers of warm clothing during this month, whatever the weather, as they believe this will stop the mother from catching a cold and means she will not suffer from joint pain in later life. Massage is also part of traditional Chinese childcare and mothers will massage their new born to improve bone structure, enhancing limb coordination, and help them gain weight. The 30 day confinement is also considered as a full-moon or ‘man yue’ period for the new arrival, who will now be introduced to friends and family. Many families also choose this day to celebrate their childs’ birthday.

Please comment below if you have any other interesting facts about Chinese birthing traditions. We’d love to hear them!

Photo credit @chubbychinesebaby on Instagram

free guide

Learn the basics of Baby Massage with a FREE taster session, a FREE massage guide PLUS 10% off your first order.

Our free and exclusive Baby Massage Guide will give you the tips and techniques you need to get started.  Plus you will receive a 10% off coupon code for your first order.

Free

We’d love to send you occasional news and exclusive offers from Bambino&i via email. To join our mailing list, simply tick the box below. You can unsubscribe at any time. We’ll always treat your personal details with the utmost care and will never sell them to other companies for marketing purposes.

Leave a Comment





Sign up now

And get instant access to your FREE Guide & Taster Session PLUS 10% OFF your first order!

free guide

Learn the basics of Baby Massage
with a FREE taster session, a FREE massage guide PLUS 10% off your first order.

Our free and exclusive Baby Massage Guide will give you the tips and techniques you need to get started. Plus you will receive a 10% off coupon code for your first order.

No thank you