Soon-to-be mothers need to pay attention to getting sufficient rest and nutrition during confinement so that they are in a better position to care for their child afterwards. Whether through natural birth or C-section, giving special focus to diet can lead to better recovery during confinement. But what is confinement anyway and what should you do during that time? Read on to find out.

What Is Confinement?

Confinement is the tradition and practice of giving mothers a “rest” after giving birth. It stems from the belief that mothers need time to recuperate from the rigours of childbirth. As such, there are certain rules and rituals that mothers and caregivers need to follow to ensure a complete and meaningful recovery. Some of these guidelines include practicing proper hygiene, sticking to a specific diet, and reducing physical activity1 2.

The idea of confinement might be unfamiliar in the west. This is mostly because the practice is heavily rooted in Asian culture and tradition3. Currently, mothers in Singapore still follow these confinement practices after giving birth. While there are some minor differences between confinement beliefs among Malay, Indian, and Chinese, it remains clear that confinement practices play an intrinsic part in postpartum care for Singaporeans.

Confinement Food in Singapore

Diet is an important facet of confinement. Certain foods are encouraged since it is believed that they help with blood circulation and joint health among other things 4.

These are some dietary practices across the three cultures:


  • Avoid eating raw food as well as food that was cooked the previous day

  • Chicken is highly recommended


  • Jamu5

  • Avoid “cooling” foods like watermelons, coconut, cabbage and mangosteen. Likewise pick “hot” foods such as deep-fried foods, durian, red meat, chocolate and spicy foods8


  • Chicken is good

  • Avoid chilli

  • Avoid cold food and drinks

  • Garlic milk is encouraged to prevent “wind”

Consider Adding These Confinement Foods to Your Diet After Childbirth

Consider these ingredients for better recovery6:

  • Oats

  • Black pepper

  • Salmon

  • Citrus fruits

  • Spinach

  • Liver

  • Prawns

  • Tofu

  • Chicken (specifically chicken feet)

  • Brown rice

  • Milk

What Should I Eat If I Am Planning for a C-Section?

Mothers who are considering Cesarean delivery require a sufficient amount of nutrients and minerals for recovery. These confinement foods are great for “sitting the month” 6 7:

- Protein-rich food

- Iron-rich food

- Vitamin C

- Calcium-rich food

Keeping these diet tips in mind during confinement can ensure a speedy recovery for the mother to provide the best care for her child.


1.The History Behind the Traditional Confinement Practice (2018). Retrieved July 30, 2020 from

2.Do’s and Don’ts of Asian Confinement (2016). Retrieved July 30, 2020 from

3.Traditional Postpartum Practices and Rituals: A Qualitative Systematic Review (2007). Retrieved July 30, 2020 from .

4.Do’s and Don’ts of Asian Confinement (2016). Retrieved July 30, 2020 from

5.Jamu your way to good health (2018). Retrieved July 30, 2020 from

6.Healthy Confinement Food for New Mums (2018). Retrieved July 30, 2020 from

7.The Confinement Diet to Follow After a C-Section (2018). Retrieved July 30, 2020 from

8.Myth of Fact: The Effects of Heaty and Cooling Foods (2020). Retrieved September 3, 2020 from,%2C%20nuts%2C%20and%20spicy%20foods.&text=