Perceived stress and support of the Chinese postpartum ritual "doing the month"

Document Type



School of Nursing and Midwifery, Pakistan


"Doing the month" is the traditional ritual for Chinese postpartum women. A qualitative study involving in-depth interviews with 20 Hong Kong Chinese women was conducted to examine the women's perceptions of stress and support in "doing the month." Four central themes were identified as follows: bound by the environmental constraints, difficulties in following the prescriptions of the rituals, conflicts between the parties involved, and attainment of the maternal role. The study revealed that "doing the month" is not necessarily protective and supportive of the postpartum women. It raises the critical question of how women can adapt the ritual to fit modern life. The study findings suggest that midwives and health care providers should provide culturally appropriate advice for new mothers. Suggestions are given on bridging the gap between traditional and modern postpartum practices.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.


Health Care for Women International