A Comparison of Practices During the Confinement Period among Chinese, Malay, and Indian Mothers in Singapore.

Published

Journal Article

BACKGROUND:Confinement (restrictions placed on diet and practices during the month right after delivery) represents a key feature of Asian populations. Few studies, however, have focused specifically on ethnic differences in confinement practices. This study assesses the confinement practices of three ethnic groups in a multi-ethnic Asian population. METHODS:Participants were part of a prospective birth cohort study that recruited 1,247 pregnant women (57.2% Chinese, 25.5% Malay, and 17.3% Indian) during their first trimester. The 1,220 participants were followed up 3 weeks postpartum at home when questionnaires were administered to ascertain the frequency of adherence to the following confinement practices: showering; confinement-specific meals; going out with or without the baby; choice of caregiver assistance; and the use of massage therapy. RESULTS:Most participants reported that they followed confinement practices during the first 3 weeks postpartum (Chinese: 96.4%, Malay: 92.4%, Indian: 85.6%). Chinese and Indian mothers tended to eat more special confinement diets than Malay mothers (p < 0.001), and Chinese mothers showered less and were more likely to depend on confinement nannies during this period than mothers from the two other ethnic groups (p < 0.001 for all). Malay mothers tended to make greater use of massage therapy (p < 0.001), whilst Indian mothers tended to have their mothers or mothers-in-law as assistant caregivers (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION:Most Singapore mothers follow confinement practices, but the three Asian ethnic groups differed in specific confinement practices. Future studies should examine whether ethnic differences persist in later childrearing practices.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Fok, D; Aris, IM; Ho, J; Lim, SB; Chua, MC; Pang, WW; Saw, S-M; Kwek, K; Godfrey, KM; Kramer, MS; Chong, YS; GUSTO Study Group,

Published Date

  • September 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 43 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 247 - 254

PubMed ID

  • 27018256

Pubmed Central ID

  • 27018256

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1523-536X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0730-7659

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/birt.12233

Language

  • eng