Malay Confinement Services

 

Among the Malay community in Malaysia, new mothers and babies are usually being taken care by their parents or parents-in-law during the confinement period. This is to take care of the new mothers’ health for their later life and to regain energy and overall recovery.  Today, as many Malay young couples are working in the city central and therefore no longer staying with their extended family in the village. As such, many of the new mothers in the city choose to be independent during their confinement period and would usually get the husband to help, or choose to hire the assistance of a confinement lady or nanny.

The Malays would often practice confinement for 44 days, but there are some Malays who practice up to 100 days of confinement. The standard postnatal dietary practice among the Malay community is eating freshwater fish such as snakehead. This is believed to speed up the inner healing of the mother body. Mackerel and seafood like shrimp and scallops should be avoided entirely from the diet during the confinement period as it can cause allergies and irritation. Similar to the Chinese and Indian community, cold foods such as cucumber, spinach, and sugar should be avoided because it will cause rheumatism, arthritis, and weak joints.

The process of birth giving has resulted in losing lots of blood in the mother body, and has made her body cool and tense. Postnatal care and massage will improve the blood circulation aimed to lift the womb, flatten the abdomen and breakdown the stubborn fat by performing the postnatal massage or urut, heat treatment (bertungku), wearing abdominal wrap (berbengkung), steam bath or spa (bertangas), etc.

 

Postnatal Massage

This massage is performed after childbirth usually for three consecutive days, or at least three times during confinement. The aim is to stimulate the blood veins and vessels, lifting the reproductive tract, removing the blood stain that is still present in the uterus and break down stubborn fat.

Hot Compression (Bertungku)

Hot compression or commonly known as hot stone therapy is performed daily during confinement before wearing the abdominal wrap (berbengkung). It is a form of point massage using heated objects. Hot stone (usually stones from the river) or the heated objects will be wrapped in cloth before being placed in the abdominal area to help shrink the uterus and launch the production of residual blood stain in it. Heat treatments at the thigh areas will help break down stubborn fat.

Wearing the Abdominal Wrap (Berbengkung)

A piece of cloth fabric will be wrapped around the mother body from below the chest to the back during the confinement period. Body wrapping or binding provides lower abdominal support and helps realigned the spine to its normal shape. The abdominal wrap or the bengkung used for this purpose is made of cotton material and equipped with straps to ensure the bandage on the body does not open easily.

Herbal Bath

Herbs, roots and spices boiled and mixed with water for bathing purpose. The function of the herbal bath is to refresh the body, the remove the wind from the body and to get rid of the blood smell during the postnatal period.

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