An Ethnography of “doing the month” and Modern Postpartum Practices among Rural Women in Jiangxi, China

Main Article Content

Qingjun Wang
Nonglak Chaloumsuk
Warunee Fongkaew


           Modernity has contributed to many changes in culture in most developing countries. However, Chinese women have continued to practice the traditional postpartum practice of doing the month. Doing the month relates to somewhat constrictive practices in the first month after giving birth. This ethnographic study explored how and to what extent postpartum women living in a rural area in China have blended tradition with local context changes. The aim was to understand why the changes in doing the month have been made in the modern age. Data were collected from January 2017 to July 2017 through participant observation and in-depth interviews. Thirty-three informants were recruited, comprising key informants of 18 postpartum women and 15 general informants from older women, including mothers, mothers-in-law, traditional midwives, and other older women in the villages. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis.
           The findings underline the critical trend of changes and the interpretation of traditional postpartum practices in the modern Chinese context. The findings demonstrated that the older generation of women wanted to but could not practice doing the month strictly like in older times. The younger generation did not want to follow the traditions with restrictive conditions in the modern age. Moreover, most younger women felt ambivalent about choosing between modern and traditional postpartum practices. The findings
indicated an urgent need to develop culturally appropriate postnatal care for Chinese women after delivery in modern life.

Article Details

How to Cite
Wang Q, Chaloumsuk N, Fongkaew W. An Ethnography of “doing the month” and Modern Postpartum Practices among Rural Women in Jiangxi, China. PRIJNR [Internet]. 2022 Mar. 5 [cited 2022 Sep. 28];26(2):341-54. Available from:
Original paper


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