An Ethnographic Study of Traditional Postpartum Beliefs and Practices among Chinese Women

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Qingjun Wang
Warunee Fongkaew
Marcia Petrini
Kannika Kantaruksa
Nonglak Chaloumsuk
Shaofeng Wang


               In many Asian societies, traditional postpartum practices are believed to be vital to the health of women and babies. Deep cultural and social meanings are attached to practices related to behaviors, activities, foods, hygiene, and infant care with variance by regions. Previous studies have demonstrated diverse interpretations of the traditional postpartum beliefs and practices by local communities. In the rural area of Jiujiang Jiangxi Province, China, postpartum women’s beliefs and practices have not been documented. This paper is part of an ethnographic study aimed to describe the traditional postpartum beliefs and practices among women in the sociocultural context of the rural area of Jiujiang, Jiangxi province. The villages of two townships of Maying and Zhangqing in Jiujiang City, were the settings for the study. Data collection was from January 2017 to July 2017. Participant observation in the rural area context and in-depth interviews were conducted with 18 postpartum women as key informants. A six-step qualitative data analysis method was used. Three themes emerged from the traditional postpartum practices - zuo fang (sitting in room): gaining yin-yang (shady-sunny) balance, preventing ‘xie’ (pathogenic factor) entering the body, and enhancing breastmilk production. Variations of the traditional postpartum beliefs and practices were influenced by the local sociocultural context. Knowledge of the cultural importance of traditional postpartum beliefs and practices of rural women is required for nurses to provide culturally sensitive postpartum nursing care.

Article Details

How to Cite
Wang Q, Fongkaew W, Petrini M, Kantaruksa K, Chaloumsuk N, Wang S. An Ethnographic Study of Traditional Postpartum Beliefs and Practices among Chinese Women. PRIJNR [Internet]. 2019 Mar. 27 [cited 2022 May 19];23(2):142-55. Available from:
Original paper
Author Biographies

Qingjun Wang, RN, PhD Candidate, Faculty of Nursing, Chiang Mai University. Thailand and Instructor, Faculty of Nursing, Jiujiang University, China.

Instructor of Gynecology and Obstetrics Nursing.

Kannika Kantaruksa, RN, PhD, Associate Professor, Faculty of Nursing, Chiang Mai University, Thailand

Associate Professor

Nonglak Chaloumsuk, RN, PhD, Lecturer, Faculty of Nursing, Chiang Mai University, Thailand.

Lecturer, Faculty of Nursing, Chiang Mai University.


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