Mother dies from heat stroke after following Chinese postpartum custom
By Shan Yuan

2017-07-16 21:27 GMT+8

The Chinese tradition of confining new mothers to bed, wrapped under blankets even in the baking days of summer, has claimed another victim, turning up the heat on the controversial practice.

The woman, who was in her 20s, died last week from heat stroke while recovering from childbirth. When she arrived to a hospital in Zibo, east China’s Shandong Province, her body temperature had already exceeded 40 degrees Celsius and her heart and liver were severely damaged.

Outside a first-aid room in China.

Postpartum confinement, a highly regarded custom in China and other East Asian cultures, aims in theory at shielding new mothers from elements that would be harmful to their recovery. The restrictions imposed on the mothers can last up to one month after delivery.

In Chinese, the practice is called 坐月子 (Zuo Yue Zi), which translates to "sitting for a month".

The practice includes having long periods of bed rest, refraining from washing one's hair for a month, avoiding wind exposure and remaining indoors most of the time.

Despite their effects not being proven by modern medical science, such methods managed to defy time and are still practiced nowadays. 

Postpartum confinement is considered of great importance in China. 

It is reported that the new mother, whose identity remains undisclosed, and her family went by the book. She was wearing heavy clothes when arriving to the hospital, said a doctor who was on duty on Saturday.

Her family said they put extra layers of clothes on her because she was still recovering from childbirth, and they prevented her from using the air-conditioner or other cooling devices at home.

Shandong is one of many provinces seething under a heatwave that has swept across the northern part of the country.

Chinese mothers take extra precautions during postpartum periods.

This is not the first time a new mother dies from heat stroke in postpartum period. In 2015, a woman from Shanghai passed away ten days after giving birth to her baby.