A new mother in Shanghai died from a heatstroke after bundling herself in blankets and refusing to turn on the air conditioner during postpartum confinement, or Zuoyuezi.
Translated as “sitting the month”, Zuoyuezi is a traditional Chinese practice wherein women follow a strict regimen for an entire month after giving birth. During the recovery period, the new mothers cannot eat “cold” foods, go outside or even take a shower.
Following the rules of Zuoyuezi at the advice of her elders, the woman “trapped” herself in extreme temperatures during a days-long heatwave in the city. The case has become a top-trending story on Weibo, attracting thousands of comments and reposts on the social media site.
ECNS reports that the woman experienced symptoms of heatstroke on Monday and later died at a hospital.
The mother reportedly covered herself in thick, warm blankets in a room without air conditioning while the temperature outside was well above 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit).
Some families intentionally create a high-temperature environment, which is believed to be good for new mothers. However, the practice is sharply criticized by medical professionals.
Zhang Yun, a head nurse at Margaret Williamson Hospital in Shanghai, said woman who have recently given birth are physically weaker and prone to sweating and “should absolutely not be covered like that.”
According to the same report, another Shanghai woman in the middle of Zuoyuezi died during the Spring Festival this year after rejecting exercise.