Chinese Culture


Beliefs of Childbearing

This web page is designed to share information about pregnancy, labor and birthing beliefs of the Chinese culture. This web page is by no means a source of medical advice, but merely views shared by members of the Chinese community.  Please consult your doctor regarding questions about health care.


  Furniture in the house should not be rearranged or mirrors or pictures hung on the walls as this is believed to cause harm to the baby.

Rubbing the belly too much will spoil the child.

Mother should not work with glue or adhesives as it may result in birthing complications.

Lotus  If the pregnant abdomen presents as pointed, it is believed to be a boy, as baby faces forward with his back towards the mother as a sign of independence.

Lotus If the pregnant abdomen presents as rounded, it is believed to be a girl, as baby faces her back to the world as if hugging the mother

Lotus Mother must eat healthy & avoid sour foods to avoid miscarriage.

Lotus  It was believed baby would learn most valued virtues if Mother walked without swinging arms and talked softly, avoiding foul language.

  Year of the Ox          LABOR & DELIVERY   Year of the Pig

Lotus With the first baby the father plays no role in labor & delivery, but is present at subsequent births. 

Lotus  The pregnant woman's mom is present with the birth of the first baby.

Lotus  It is believed that drinking a special tea during labor helps with pain.

Lotus The practice of breathing techniques & massage also help to reduce the pain.

Lotus  Only hot foods & beverages are consumed to keep the balance of Qi (life force or spiritual energy).

Lotus  Squid is avoided because it is believe to make the birthing process sticky.

Lotus  The vocalization of pain is acceptable.

     Year of the Rooster    POST PARTUM   Year of the Tiger

Lotus  Zuoy uezi is a one-month recovery period during which total bed rest is stressed so that the motherís body will be able to recover and not become ill.

Lotus  Eating plenty of chicken, rice, and fish cooked with ginger and pig knuckle soup is encouraged.  It is believed these foods compensate for the loss of calcium and other nutrients.

Lotus  Anything salty is avoided because it is believed to hinder breast milk production.

Lotus  Family members (mother and sister) participate in the care of the baby and mother.

Lotus  Baths and showers are not allowed during the one month recovery period.

Lotus  It is believed that a sponge bath with boiled water and ginger skin promotes circulation.

Lotus  Washing the hair is avoided because it may cause a headache.

Lotus  Windy, cold areas and outdoors are avoided at this time.

Lotus  Twelve days after the birth of the baby, soups are shared with the family and friends to celebrate or share the happiness.

Lotus  Moon Yuet is the one-month birthday celebration.  At this time, the mother is allowed to bathe.

Lotus  The family ensures safekeeping of the umbilical cord because if a rat finds the cord the baby may become ill.

Year of the Dragon        Qi Ta (chee-ta) Other Beliefs     Year of the Monkey

Lotus  Dolls & Lotus seeds placed on the bed of a married couple are used as symbolic items to enhance fertility.

Lotus  Certain foods eaten days before conception are believed to aide in choosing childís sex:  For a boy, Mother eats tofu, lettuce, & mushrooms.  For a girl, mother eats meat and fish.

Lotus  Boys are preferred because they carry the family name into next generation.

Lotus  An ideal family is a large family.

Lotus  Women usually follow traditions as long as the family expects it.

Lotus  If baby has more than one hair circle on the head, he/she will be a rascal.

Lotus  A baby with wide, thick ears will be prosperous.

Lotus  Never say complimentary things about baby as it will cause jealousy and baby will get sick.


We appreciate your feedback! Please email us your comments.

Return to the Transcultural Index

Posted October 20, 2006