I’m an American living in Shanghai, China, and my wife, who is Chinese, is expecting our first child in a month. Her family is supportive, but many of their ideas seem outdated and unhealthy. For example, my mother-in-law told my wife that it’s necessary to stay in bed for a month after delivery. She’s not supposed to shower, wash her hair or brush her teeth! We have gone to newborn care, but this also seems backward. What should I do?
Many of your mother-in-law’s suggestions run contrary to what we’d suggest here. Unless there is some concern with sanitation where you live, personal hygiene should be encouraged. Also, there’s no reason to stay in bed after a normal, healthy delivery. In fact, evidence suggests a higher risk of blood clots in inactive women, especially those who are inactive after delivery. You might want to speak with fellow expatriates who have delivered babies where you live. They may be able to help you with some of your concerns.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.