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Vegetarian Recipes for Traditional Confinement in Childbirth

Rachel Tseng

I have chosen to go with the traditional confinement in childbirth, which means no bathing (but wipe clean with boiled ginger water), no washing hair, no going out, remaining free and lying down and resting, no working but just breastfeeding and enjoying the rare, idle month. Yet, what kind of food should I be consuming during the “vegetarian” confinement period? My mom had a hard time coming up with recipes for this daughter who does not even take eggs or milk. So, I might as well reorganize the collected information. By referring to existing recipes and using widely available ingredients that meet the requirements of traditional confinement, I did energy testing and formulated confinement recipes that are consistent in energy. However, since these recipes are limited to seasons and geographical location and some ingredients may not be available, it is best for one to learn how to test energy. Energy testing not only helps you avoid wrong food intake, but also enables you to make food selection, based on your preference or instinct, to suit your body needs.

I would like to share with you my traditional vegetarian recipes for confinement. Actually, a vegetarian diet can be quite sumptuous even for the confinement period. However, the digestive system is a little weak during this month, so remember to have more meals but little food at each meal, because overeating will harm the stomach and intestines.

Some food can be prepared prior to giving birth:

Preserved Red Dates

After becoming pregnant, get some red dates, immerse them in rice wine and soak overnight. When they are swelled up, keep in a container and sprinkle with brown sugar after each layer of red dates, then seal the container. Three months later, the dates will become preserved red dates. If you want it to last, refrigerate it in two weeks’ time. It can be used as an ingredient for cooking during the confinement period or can be eaten as a snack; not only is it delicious, but also induces milk production.

Fermented Glutinous Rice

Sesame Dumpling

Filling: Mix sesame powder and wild yam powder (ratio of 5 to 1), add some honey and oil so that the powder sticks together but not too wet or too sticky, rub into ball shape and store in the freezer.

Skin: Add water to glutinous rice powder and knead into a dough, take 1/20 portion and cook in boiling water. When it floats, put it back to the glutinous rice dough. Add some more glutinous rice powder and knead until it becomes non-sticky. Split the dough into pieces to wrap the filling, and then freeze the wrapped dumplings. When the dumplings are stiff, pack them into bags and keep them in the freezer.

Fermented glutinous rice: You can buy it from the market or make it using sweet brown rice and brewer’s yeast.

To serve, cook dumplings in boiling water until they surface, then add fermented glutinous rice and brown sugar.

Adzuki Sweet Rice Dumpling

Adzuki filling: soak organic adzuki beans overnight. With little water, cook and simmer the beans until soft. Strain the beans (the water can be served as adzuki bean drink), add some brown sugar and oil (oil is optional). Mash the mixture to make it into adzuki filling. Refrigerate the filling.

Soak overnight sweet brown rice, black glutinous rice and quinoa (ratio of 7:1:1), add ½ teaspoon of sesame oil and cook the rice mix. When the rice is cooked, mix in red dates (or the preserved red dates mentioned earlier) and walnuts. Place adzuki filling inside the rice, wrap to make into rice dumplings. Store dumplings in the freezer. To serve, simply steam the dumplings.

Recipes for the Confinement Period

Traditional confinement does not recommend drinking water so as to avoid prolapse of internal organs or change in body figure. Only take the liquid of rice, vegetables or soup stock cooked in wine. Also, wine helps stimulate milk production. A midwife even told me that drinking some beer would help increase milk production. Expediently, I asked mother to use half portion of water and half portion of wine [water-wine blend] for cooking, that way it is not too costly and the food tastes better. Basically, I replaced all meat items in non-vegetarian recipes with organic, non-GMO soy protein (i.e., soy meat or vegetable soy protein). The portions of ingredients, except those specifically specified, can be altered as wish. Do not cook too much at one time for the dish may not suit your appetite or you may get tired of eating the same dish; so prepare a quantity that can be finished in a day or two.

Dried kumquat that helps qi circulation was the first nutritional food medicine I took after giving birth. To prepare, quick fry ginger strips (a lot) with sesame oil, then add sliced or chopped dried kumquat. It smells and tastes really good, very much like candies. Shenghua (生化汤) soup helps eliminating lyma and is best taken within the first seven days of the confinement period. Combination of hawthorn (山楂) and brown sugar also helps getting rid of lyma. Drink Shiquan (十全大朴汤) nutritional soup and Shenghua soup during the first seven days of the confinement period. After that, take the hawthorn and brown sugar mixture until the end of confinement.


Blood Enriching Rice

1. Black glutinous rice (mainly) and millet (ratio of 10 to 1), add in red dates, longan, white hyacinth beans (白扁豆), and a little bit of Chinese angelica (当归)and Radix astragali (黃苠). Add more water than normal amount used for cooking rice because millet absorbs lots of water. (extracted from Dr. Jiang Shuhui’s recipe book. Energy testing indicated that there was no need for any ingredient change).

2. Soak chestnut until they are swollen. Steam chestnuts until they are cooked. Combine chestnuts with Chinese mushrooms, red dates, some ginger, sweet brown rice, millet, water-wine blend and cook the combination into rice or porridge.

3. Soak sweet brown rice and peanuts overnight. Cook into porridge using lots of water. It really helps with milk production.


1. Dried Tangerine Peel (陈皮)and Glutinous Rice Porridge
Soak sweet brown rice overnight. Add ginger, longan, brown sugar and dried tangerine peel (just a small piece, not too much), water-wine blend and cook into porridge

2. Longan Porridge
Soak brown rice (mainly) overnight, some quinoa and millet (ratio of 6:1:1). Add lots of water and cook into porridge. Then add longan, some fermented glutinous rice, and lastly top with roasted, crushed walnuts.


Green vegetables suitable for consumption during confinement are Gynura’s Deux Couleurs (紅凤叶), sweet potato leaves, red amaranth, A-vegetable A 菜), spinach, etc. Before stir frying vegetables, use sesame oil or bitter-tea oil (苦茶油) to quickly fry old ginger strips. Do not add any condiments. Red cabbage and broccoli are also acceptable, only that eating too much of them will cause bloating to the baby; thus minimize the intake.

1. Vegetarian Sesame Chicken. Quick fry sesame oil with old ginger strips and Chinese mushrooms. Add in soy meat and stir fry briefly, then add in cubed carrots, some Chinese wolfberry fruit(枸杞) and water-wine blend to cover the ingredients. Cook until soft.

2. Quick fry old ginger and Chinese mushrooms. Add in soy meat and stir fry briefly. Then add some kelp, Chinese wolfberry fruit ,dried kumquat, a little bit of Chinese angelica and water-wine blend to cover the ingredients. Cook until soy meat is soft. The dish smells and tastes good (Radix astragali and liquorice root are not suitable for this dish).

3. Burdock, soy meat, wild yam, sweet potato, Chinese wolfberry fruit and some Chinese angelica, Radix astragali, liquorice root. Cook the combination until soft.

4. Quick fry old ginger strips and Chinese mushrooms with bitter-tea oil, add in soy meat, burdock and kelp, stir fry briefly, pour in water-wine blend and cook until soft. Add some brown sugar if you wish (burdock and brown sugar can be replaced by purple perilla (紫苏) and rock sugar).

5. Soak overnight hyacinth beans (白扁豆). Quick fry ginger and Chinese mushrooms, add hyacinth beans, carrot, a little bit of orange peel and water-wine blend. Cook until soft (orange peel should not be replaced by grapefruit peel because the latter halves the energy).

6. Cook the mixture of black dates, red dates, Chinese wolfberry fruit, longan, a little bit of Chinese angelica, Radix astragali and liquorice root.


1. Green papaya: quick fry old ginger with sesame oil, pour in water-wine blend and bring to boil. Add Chinese wolfberry fruit and cubed green papaya. Cook until green papaya slightly softens (optional: walnuts can be included in the cooking).
2. Longan and peanut soup: soak peanuts overnight. Boil the peanuts with water until soft. Add in longan, fermented glutinous rice and molasses and it is ready to serve.
3. Adzuki ginger soup: soak adzuki beans overnight. Cook and simmer beans and old ginger in water-wine blend until beans are soft. Add in oatmeal and rock sugar to finish up.


There are many kinds of food that help with milk production, for example, peanuts, sesame seeds, glutinous rice, fermented glutinous rice (food with alcohol content), brewer’s yeast, and stone fruits such as walnuts, almond, pine nuts, peanuts, etc; these can be served the same way as sesame paste. Generally, vegetables that secrete milk when harvested help with milk production; sweet potato leaves and green papaya are among them. Many types of lettuce also secrete milk when they are harvested. Alfalfa also helps with milk production, but it is cooling in nature and is the type of food traditional confinement try to avoid. But you can take it after the confinement period. I heard that food that might cause lower milk production include Chinese chives, wheat tea(麦茶),fermented bean curd, fermented soybeans, black bean or anise drinks (I also heard that black bean milk promotes lactation, but black bean boiled in water or stir fried lowers milk production), I was not sure of that, so I avoided eating black beans.

For fruits, consider grapes, plum, peach, papaya, lychee, longan and other fruits that are warming in nature (fruits are high in water content, thus by traditional confinement, fruits are not taken until one to two weeks after giving birth).

Feel free to sprinkle brewer’s yeast, dulse, sesame seed powder or a combination of your choice on dishes or rice.

I would like to deliver special thanks to my mother, having flown half of the planet to the US and help me with the confinement. She carefully prepared every meal for me and took detailed notes on the recipes so that anyone who plans to go on a “vegetarian confinement” can benefit from it. I sincerely wish that every woman is just as lucky to have a kind mother to accompany her through a safe and smooth confinement period.

Fever As A Remedy

What most parents dread is seeing their children suffer from flu or fever. Children usually fall sick one by one when there is a flu epidemic or when the season changes. When children fall sick, the first thing that most parents would do is to let the children see a doctor so that he can give them injection and prescribe medications for them. Some children actually live off medicines used to cure flu for a long period of time, but this will only worsen their illnesses and weaken their bodies’ resistance to diseases. Western ‘Father of Medicine’ Hippocrates once said, ‘As long as the patient has fever, I am able to cure all kinds of illnesses.’ This may sound like an odd statement to us, but what does he mean?

Dr Tom Kruzel N.D., pointed out in his medical report entitled ‘Fever as Healer’ that fever occurs when our bodies are fighting viruses or bacteria while repairing the damages caused by these viruses. Hence, we should allow the fever to reduce naturally. When the body is fighting viruses and bacteria, its resistance will also be enhanced greatly. If we use medications to bring down a fever very fast instead of reducing it naturally, our bodies will become very weak and eventually lose their resistance to any virus completely.

Dr Philip Incao M.D., a specialist in human intelligences, said that the body undergoes the greatest and fastest changes during childhood stage. During this stage, a child’s body will go through many times of reconstruction and a certain degree of destruction has to take place first in order to reconstruct a stronger body. Damaged old cells need to be eliminated before the body can reconstruct. Our bodies’ immune system causes fever and infections in order to destroy and digest these damaged cells, and to get rid of them from our bodies. Hence children very often have skin diseases, runny noses or pus because their immune system is working very hard. If these waste matters are not removed from the body, they will cause the child to have allergies or more serious infections. Actually, viruses do not attack us but will grow in profusion in us when our bodies are in the process of destroying and eliminating old and damaged cells. Hence viruses do not cause illnesses but they live on illnesses.

According to research findings, fever will increase the number of white blood cells. The functions of white blood cell are to gather toxins and absorb micro organisms in order to expel them from the body. When we are having fever, our hearts beat faster and our breaths become shorter, oxygenated blood will thus be delivered to the infected area. Viruses do not grow well and fast in an environment with high level of oxygen. At the same time, our metabolism rate will increase and hence the toxins can be expelled faster. Most harmful viruses can survive only in a limited range of temperature. The increase in our body temperature during fever will limit their growth and enable the white blood cells to get rid of them from our bodies.

From these evidences, fever is actually a good remedy for illnesses. Doctors suggest we take note of the following points to help our children grow up healthily:

1. Try to let the patient get as much rest as possible, avoid unnecessary activities, do not let them go to school.

2. Keep the patient’s body warm, especially the torso and feet. Let the child wear clothes made of natural materials like cotton or wool etc. The child should be kept warm so that his cheeks are reddish but he is not perspiring. Do not bathe the child. If his feet are cold, use hot water bags to keep them warm.

3. The diet of the patient should be kept light and oil-free. Avoid protein-rich food such as eggs, meat, milk, nuts, beans etc. Provide mainly liquid food such as vegetable soup, herbal tea, fruit juice (temperature of the juice should not be lower than room temperature). Fruits, cooked vegetables or porridge are also recommended. Furthermore, quantity of food intake should be less, not more. If the child is not hungry, then do not force him to eat. Normally, an improvement in the child’s appetite is a sign of recovery, but even then, the diet should be kept oil-free and light.

4. During fever, you can let the child drink herbal tea brewed with herbs such as horsetail, yarrow, chamomile or catnip. You may also use herbs that can boost the child’s immunity or medicines that serve similar purpose. Normal antibiotics and medicines such as aspirin will only cool down the ‘heat’ generated by the immunity system, they lower the body temperature too quickly thus depriving the immunity system of the chance to reconstruct. These medications, if used too often, will weaken our immunity system and will eventually cause us to lose our resistance to illnesses completely.

5. Observe the patient carefully, is he fully conscious? Does he have seizures? Are there signs of dehydration? Children with ages ranging from 6 months to 6 years are likely to have fever-related seizures which are due to the sharp increase in body temperature. If they do not have seizures within 24 hours when symptoms of fever first appear, then it is unlikely that they will have seizures. Send the child to the doctor immediately if he has seizures. You should also look out for signs of dehydration. Check if the patient’s skin on his cheeks or hands is springy to touch, if his skin is too dry and if his tongue is moist. For newborns, you can check if the fontanel is sunken below the level of the skull abnormally.

6. Let your child know that you care for him, that you are looking after him all the time. This will help to alleviate the child’s fear and nervousness and hence hasten the process of recovery.

Most parents are afraid that if the fever is not brought down immediately, the brain of the child may be damaged due to overheating. In actual fact, the brain will not be damaged even if the fever has risen to 41 degrees Celsius (106 degrees Fahrenheit). Some cancer patients’ bodies have to bear the temperature of 41.7 degrees Celsius for 2 hours continuously and their brains are not affected at all.

What you should watch out for are complications like meningitis or pneumonia. You need not use antibiotics or antipyretics to bring down the fever. Antibiotics are life-saving medicine but they are not able to help the patient recover from his illnesses fully. Nowadays antibiotics are prescribed indiscriminately, resulting in more drug-resistant bacteria and hence illnesses which are more difficult to cure. Antibiotics can only keep infections under control temporarily, if the real cause of the disease has not been eradicated, our immunity system will remain to be weak.

So far, my two children have not taken any antipyretic whenever they have fever. I remembered Yong Wei once had high fever that lasted a week when he was 3 years old. During that week, his fever reached 39.5 degrees Celsius in daytime and rose to 40, 41 degrees Celsius at night. When he was asleep at night, he would wake up every 1 to 2 hours to cry. On the third day, I brought him to see a doctor to ensure that there was no other complication. I remembered myself fighting the strong temptation of giving him antipyretics prescribed by the doctor. I managed to overcome that and used American herbs with similar healing properties instead of the antipyretics. During the day, I prepared pear drink and brewed Luo Han Guo tea for my son to drink. His condition improved on the fifth day and his fever finally reduced on the seventh day. After Yong Wei had recovered fully, I felt that he had matured a lot, it was like he had changed into a whole new person. Upon reflections, I was glad that I allowed my son to fight this battle with his own ability and that he had successfully gone through this growing process. As for myself, I am no longer worried or scared when my sons have high fever. Yong Xing had skin rashes when he was one, it started with him having high fever for 3 days and when the fever came down, his body was covered with rashes. The rashes did not cause itchiness and they disappeared 2 days later. I did not give him any medicine or apply anything on his body. Before this incident, he would have flu once in a while and after that incident, he has never fallen sick.

I have consulted a few friends on how they helped their children overcome their illnesses. One mother used urine therapy, some mothers let their children drink lots of green vegetable and fruit juice (celery, coriander and apples). Some examples of folk practices to counter flu are consuming ginger drink, covering the patient with blanket and let him perspire, kuosha etc. Actually Western doctors very well know the disadvantages of the misuse of antibiotics, they are refraining from prescribing antibiotics unless necessary. Parents who wish to use natural therapies can use the information provided here as a guidance.

Extracted from Lapis Lazuli Light Magazine 2001 Nov Issue
Translated by Lapis Lazuli Light Singapore

The Conscious Baby Birth Initiative

The Conscious Baby Birth Initiative

Thanks to the pioneers of prenatal and perinatal psychology, we are gaining awareness of how birth profoundly imprints itself on our lifelong health and behavior. Verny writes, How he is born, whether it is painful or easy, smooth or violent , largely determines who he becomes and how he will view the world around him. Whether he is five, ten, forty or seventy, a part of him always looks at the world through the eyes of the newly born child he once was. (1981, p. 97)

In his landmark study, Chamberlain (1986) found that under hypnosis children were able to recall very minute details of their birth experiences. These stories were matched to the reports given by their mothers who were also under hypnosis. Chamberlain concludes,

The content of birth memories suggests a sophisticated level of physical, mental and emotional consciousness at birth, beyond anything predicted by developmental psychology. In this light, many routine practices in obstetrics need to be re-evaluated from the baby’s point of view. (1986, p. 94)

The purpose of this paper is to suggest ways to facilitate a better birthing experience for all newborns based on the belief that babies are physically, mentally and emotionally conscious at birth.

Babies Are Conscious At Birth

A growing body of experimental, clinical and anecdotal evidence supports the idea that consciousness exists before and during birth. Wade (1998) points out that in regression many people are able to recount incidences that took place long before any significant brain development has occurred. The therapeutic work of Chamberlain, Castellino and Emerson, among others, acknowledges, validates and strives to heal the often traumatic birth memories individuals of all ages harbor.

Sensory Consciousness

Physically, an emerging newborn is well aware of his or her environment during the birth. Most senses are well developed in the full-term newborn and have developed many weeks before birth. During birth a child is capable of hearing, touching, tasting and smelling everything around him or her. Some suspect that the newborn’s senses are more keen than the senses of adults’ present during birth. Leboyer states that birth is “a sensory experience so vast (for the newborn) we can barely conceive of it” (1975, p. 15).

Care Of The Sense

Leboyer (1975) brought light to the elements necessary for welcoming new people gently into the world. Listed below are some suggestions for the birthing environment based on what we know about the senses of new people.

Seeing – Because a baby’s eyes are so sensitive and used to seeing light filtered through mother’s belly, the lights should be dimmed. We must allow baby’s eyes to adjust to the outside world slowly and without shock. Hearing – Likewise, a baby is used to hearing sounds that are muffled by flesh and fluid so speech should be soft and noises should be kept to a minimum. Tasting – If possible, nothing should be placed in the newborn’s mouth before he or she has a chance to breastfeed. Babies are prepared for and expecting to taste their mother’s breast milk soon after birth. Imposing bottles or syringes on them during the perinatal period is invasive and detrimental to bonding. Smelling – Babies are precisely sensitive to smells. The birth environment, especially in a hospital setting, can be overwhelming to the olfactory system. We must be mindful of the potency of the natural and non-natural agents used around the baby during birth. Touching – We speak to the child through touch (Leboyer, 1975). Through touch we communicate love, fear, tenderness, violence, confidence, ineptitude, etc. With that in mind how might we handle the newborn? Within seconds after birth, mother’s hands should be the hands that welcome her children and reassure them that they made it and they are safe and loved. Anyone else who has contact with the baby should use respectful, loving touch when handling the newborn.

Mental And Emotional Consciousness

The work of Van de Carr (1988), Manrique (1998) and Panthuraamphorn (1998) yields proof that babies are learning in utero. More and more parents are talking to, playing music for and bonding with their unborn babies. If babies can learn in utero, one could easily infer that they are learning during birth as well. Not only are prenates taking in the sensations of the birthing environment, they are mentally processing the information and developing patterns of being in the world based on the information gathered. For example, Chamberlain (1988) describes the story of Stewart an adult patient who grew up believing he was a “difficult kid” and “not normal like the regular children.” When he was regressed back to his birth during a psychotherapy session he discovered the source of these core beliefs about himself. During his labor, the doctor became angry and frustrated that Stewart was not “dropping” into the birth canal. Subsequently, the doctor told Stewart’s mother that she had a “stubborn child” who was “difficult” and “would be late for everything” (1988, p. 4). When we gain access to the sources of our core beliefs therapeutically, often we are able to acknowledge and re-pattern the way we exist in the world.

Babies are not only affected by the words said to them during birth but also the emotions surrounding the event as well. In his book, From Parent to Child: The Psychic Link, Jones discusses the telepathic connection between the mother and her unborn child.

The unborn child is affected by what the mother thinks, feels and experiences. Tension in the delivery room can contribute to problems just as much, if not more so, than bacteria. On the other hand, positive thoughts directed to the mother and baby can contribute to a more rewarding experience for both. (1989, p. 90)

Mental And Emotional Care

A powerful and positive birth setting is created when everyone in attendance is able to slow down and hold the image of the emerging baby as a conscious, sensitive and aware person who has the innate knowledge of how to be born (McCarty, 1996). Addressing the baby and telling him or her what is happening to both baby and mother during the birth is also important. This is most crucial during any invasive procedures. Through re-birthing and other therapeutic techniques that allow people to re-experience their births, we know that often birth is scary, stressful and painful for the newborn. Verbally reassuring babies that they are safe and supported during their journey can alleviate some of the fear they experience.

Leaving the womb is a profound transition and can be disorienting and shocking to the system. Once the baby is born, everyone in attendance must be mindful of how they place their attention on the baby. “The more we can learn how to be present, relaxed and centered in our own bodies, the more babies can then stay oriented, connected and present with their own” (McCarty, 1996, p. 25). Above all, the birthing environment should be filled with love, joy and reverence for the newborn child.

The Effects Of Drugs On The Newborn
Through a monumental review of the literature, Brackbill (1985) concluded that drugs administered during labor and delivery significantly effect the infant’s behavior. Some of the known effects of drugs on the baby are listed by Simkin (1991): Abnormal fetal heart rate, interference with normal newborn reflexes, inhibited sucking response, difficulty with breathing and excessive drowsiness.

Of 59 published studies, not one found any beneficial effect of anesthetic medication on the infant (Brackbill, 1985). From the perspective of the child there should be no drugs used during labor and delivery. Since there are situations when drugs are necessary such as cesarean deliveries, they should be used with great caution and parent and the babies should be informed of the possible effects of the drugs.


Bonding is the process by which a secure attachment is formed which ensures the continued care necessary for survival of the new child. Bonding is the original and immediate connection between mother and baby (Gaskin, 1990). Both newborn and mom are instinctually prepared for and expecting to bond face-to-face, skin-to-skin and mouth-to-breast immediately after birth and for the next several months. According to Castellino (1997), “Healthy bonding and attachment are the outcome of a whole series of events that are somatic, neurophysiological and psychological in nature” (p. 18). It is therefore, essential that babies remain with their mothers immediately after birth so bonding can begin.

Upon delivery, and before the child is take away from the mother for bathing, weighing and other interventions, he or she should be placed naked on the mother’s abdomen. In that position the child smells her smell, feels her warmth and hears her voice. Once again they are together yet seeing each other for the first time. Shortly after birth the child enters a quiet alert state. During this time the newborn is very still, often molded to the mother’s abdomen, but able to see, hear and respond to their new environment. At this time most mothers coo at and stroke their babies.

For the next hour, if the surroundings are calm, and the baby received no pain medication via the mother during labor, he or she will begin a process called delivery self-attachment. Delivery self-attachment describes a newborn’s ability to find their way to the mother’s breast, latch on and begin suckling (Castellino, 1997). The four-part delivery self-attachment sequence is as follows: For the first 30 minutes, the newborn remains in the quiet alert state looking up at the mother and observing their new environment. Between 30 and 45 minutes the lips begin smacking and the infant begins to drool. With support under the feet, the baby begins to inch forward towards the breast. During this time the infant is moving and resting throughout the climb. When the infant reaches the level of the mother’s breast he or she will begin rooting around for the nipple. Finally between 45 and 60 minutes the baby latches on to the areola and baby latches on to the areola and begins to nurse (Klaus, Kennell and Klaus, 1995).

As noted above, new mothers are equipped with bonding instincts as well. For example, early nipple stimulation by the newborn during breastfeeding releases a hormone called oxytocin, which is responsible for naturally contracting the uterus and reducing blood flow as well as signaling milk let-down. Subsequently, each time the baby nurses, mom’s oxytocin level increases which has a claming effect on the mother and naturally increases mother’s affinity towards her baby (Klaus, Kennell and Klaus, 1995). In essence, the bonding system is set up so that nurturing begets nurturing.


No longer can society afford to ignore the consciousness of the newborn and the detrimental effects of most current methods of birthing. We must honor and respect the birthing process and yield to the innate wisdom of the newborn. I am strongly committed to working towards raising humanity to the next level of evolution. I know that one dramatic way to make this leap is to change how babies are treated during and immediately after birth. Based on some of the ideas presented above, I can envision a document which outlines eveidence-based ways we can create the optimal birth setting for all new people. Perhaps it will be called ‘The Conscious Baby Birth Initiative.’


Brackbill, Y. (1985). Medication in Maternity. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press.

Chamberlain, D.B. (1986). Reliability of birth memories: Evidence from mother and child pairs in hypnosis. Journal of American Academy of Medical Hynoanalysis, 1(2), 89-98.

Chamberlain, D.B. (1988). The significance of birth memories. Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology, 2(4), 208-226.

Castellino, R. (1997). The caregiver’s role in birth and newborn self-attachment needs. Available from Castellino Training Seminars, 1105 N. Ontare, Santa Barbara, CA 93105.

Gaskin, I.M. (1990). Spiritual Midwifery. Summertown, TN: The Book Publishing Company.

Jones, C. (1989). From Parent to Child: The Psychic Link. NY: Warner Books.

Klaus, M., Kennell, J. and Klaus, P. (1995). Bonding: Building a Foundation for Secure Attachment and Independence. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Leboyer, F. (1975). Birth Without Violence. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

McCarty, W.A. (1997). What Babies are Teaching Us. Available from Wondrous Beginnings, 5662 Calle Real, #221 Goleta, CA 93117.

Paranthuraamphorn, C. (1998). Prenatal infant stimulation program. Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health. 12(3&4).

Simkin, P. (1991). Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.

Van de Carr, F.R. & Lehrer, M. (1998). Prenatal University: Commitment to fetal-family bonding and the strengthening of the family unit as an educational institution. Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health. 12(3&4).

Verny, T. (1986). The Secret Life of the Unborn Child. New York, NY: Dell.

Wade, J. (1998). Physically transcendent awareness: A Comparison of the phenomenology of consciousness before birth and after death. Journal of Near-Death Studies. 16(4), 249-275.

Carrie Contey, M.Ed., M.A., has been passionate about birth, babies and parenthood since she was a child herself. She has dedicated her adult life to pursuing the academic study and hands-on art of early parenthood and optimal human development. Currently she is completing her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology with a focus on prenatal and perinatal psychology at the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute in California. Along with Early Parent Coaching, Carrie is a Certified Whole Person Fertility Specialist as well a Marriage & Family Therapist Intern working with families at Beginnings, Inc. in Los Olivos, CA. Since teaches pre-conception preparation, prenatal parenting and toddler classes locally and nationally.

To learn more about Carrie and the work she is doing please visit www.earlyparenting.com. You can contact Carrie directly via email at [email protected] or by phone at 805-687-2646.

To learn more about prenatal and perinatal psychology please visit: www.birthpsychology.com and www.sbgi.edu

Nurturing The Unborn Child (Part 1)

A nine-month programme for soothing, stimulating and communicating with your baby (Part 1)


Scientists have recently discovered that the foetus is a very sensitive individual. Not only can it develop a very strong bonding with its pregnant mother and father, it can also respond to the outside world.

A 4-month-old foetus can feel the strong rays of light shone on its mother’s stomach and is able to raise its hand to cover its eyes. It also has senses of touch and taste. The sense of hearing is developed when the foetus is 5 months old. New York Einstein Medical College also pointed out that the brains of foetuses who are 28 to 32 weeks old have learning ability.

Physically speaking, whatever the mother has drunk, eaten and smelt will be passed on to the baby through blood circulation. Emotionally speaking, the baby will also be affected. For instance, if the mother is under great stress for a long time, the actions and behaviours of the mother will also influence the baby greatly. When the mother caresses her stomach, talks, sings, or dances, the foetus will know that the mother is “there”, and it will move its body or kick to respond to the mother. The mother should be able to differentiate between a happy kick and a disturbed kick.

The baby’s experience at birth will also have some influence on its way of life in the future. Recent reports show that, babies who experience difficult births are more likely to commit suicide or use drugs as compared to those who have smooth deliveries. These early experiences not only reflect a child’s personality, they will also have unimaginable effect on the child’s future physical and emotional development.

The “Womb-Regulating Method” introduced here can help u and your spouse to bring up a cool-headed and confident child who is able to lead a happy life. This method is easy, systematic and it can explore the baby’s intellectual and emotional potentials fully. When you begin to practise this method, firstly, you have to be fully relaxed, in order to remove the hormones built up in your body due to anxiety and stress. Not only will constant practice enhance your ability of managing your emotions, it will also enhance the relationship between the husband and wife and reinforce family cohesiveness. Your unborn baby will be able to feel the warmth and love throughout the entire process.

This method has 47 practices that can be adjusted according to the needs of the mother and foetus. Some of these practices can be carried out repeatedly throughout the 9 months of pregnancy, whereas some have to be carried out at specific stages of pregnancy.

First month: The beginning

If you discover that you are pregnant, you will have mixed feelings of happiness, uncertainty, fear etc. The sooner you are able to recognise these emotions, the easier your pregnancy will be. Your unborn child needs love just like you need food and air. Hence, you and your spouse should constantly emphasise positive feelings. Listening to classical music helps you to stay calm and to understand your inner feelings. According to research findings, the rhythm of classical music ranges from 60 to 70 beats per minute. This is rather close to the heart beat of human being at resting state. It will help to enhance the ability of concentration and keeping calm. Rock music or sound of siren and alarms have negative effect on the unborn child.

Womb-Regulating Method

Practice 1

Listening to music can help you to relax, to calm your growing baby down and to stimulate the brain cells responsible for concentration and learning abilities. We suggest using Bach, Mozart, Handel, Corelli and Vivaldi’s classical music. Your spouse’s or best friend’s musical recordings will also be able to achieve similar effects. Do it at least twice a week and each time should last 60 minutes.

Note: Do not listen to music that will cause you and your baby to fall asleep.

Practice 2

Give yourself some quiet time, this practice can help you to maintain clarity of mind and positive thinking. You have to relax your body and be free of worries. Sports psychologists often use this method to enhance concentration and performance in sports.

Do it for 20 minutes a day and you’ll feel recharged and refreshed. First, find a quiet corner in your house, sit on a comfortable chair and listen to music for 10 minutes (You may use the music found in our cassette tapes or any popular light music). Then listen to the instructions pre-recorded by you or your spouse. Do not attempt to analyse that audio recording, let it bring you to an imaginative world.

Close your eyes, take 2 deep breaths. Continue to breathe deeply and evenly, put your attention on the rhythm of breathing in and out, on the feeling of your body or any imagination, feelings, emotions that’s related to yourself. If there’s any intrusion of unrelated thoughts, let them go like white clouds drifting across the horizon.

Now, concentrate on your feet, pay attention to the pressure placed on your feet and the way the feet are positioned. Pay attention to your soles, heels, toes and ankles. Now, curl your toes towards your soles, as if attempting to touch the soles with your toes. Curl your toes further down, down, down and stop. Alright, relax.

Inhale, exhale, relax, relax. Every breath is able to make you feel more relaxed, but not to make you feel sleepy. You are still fully awake but completely relaxed. Now, shift your attention to your calves, the part from your knees to your ankles. Tighten every muscle in your calves, tighten, tighten, tighten, alright, relax. Inhale, exhale, relax, relax. Every breath will help to make your body more and more relaxed.

Now, tighten every muscle in your thighs. Tighten every muscle in your lower abdomen. Tighten every muscle in your buttocks. Tighten, tighten, tighten, alright, relax.

Inhale, exhale, relax, relax. Continue to breathe in and out smoothly. Every breath taken in will bring you lots of oxygen and energy. Every breath let out will get rid of carbon dioxide and waste gases in your body. Imagine with every breath taken in, you have inhaled all the love and support in the world; with every breath let out, you have released all negative emotions and anxiety.

Now, let’s focus on another part of your body – the spine, from the upper part of your neck right up to lower waist. Press this part of your body closely against the chair. Press harder, harder, maintain this posture, alright, relax. Feel the tiredness in your back and chest.

Inhale, exhale, relax, relax. Every breath will help your body to relax. When you inhale, every muscle and cell is nourished and energised. When you exhale, every muscle and cell is cleansed. Your body and your unborn baby will enjoy this exercise totally.

Now, focus on your shoulder, neck and all your anxiety, stress and worries. Raise your shoulders towards your ears, as if you are trying to touch your ears with your shoulders. Raise it up, up and up, alright, relax.

Inhale, exhale, relax, relax. Now raise your hands up a few centimetres, clench your fists, clench hard, hard and harder, alright, relax.

Inhale, exhale, relax, relax. Continue to breathe in and out evenly. Every breath will help you to be more relaxed. You will feel comfortable and secure.

Now, focus on your face, pay attention to every muscle around your eyes, mouth and chin. Now close your eyes, tighten the muscle around your mouth, tighten, tighten, tighten, alright, relax.

Inhale, exhale, relax, relax. Now your body and mind are relaxed. The music is going to be played soon. Listen to the music, let it bring you to all the places that you should go to. Go with the flow of the music, don’t force yourself. You deserve to feel relaxed, you have to relax, your unborn child has to relax too.

After you’ve finished listening to this music, you’ll be completely relaxed and feel refreshed. (Play music for 10 minutes.)

Now, slowly regain your initial state. Move your fingers and toes, open your eyes, remember to maintain this calm state. You should still be relaxed, use your five senses to feel the surrounding. Now that you are recharged and relaxed, you can stand up and continue with your day.

*The person who is recording the instructions should do it slowly and calmly. Pause where appropriate.

Practice 3: Writing diary (Focus on emotions)

In your diary, you can vent any uneasy feelings you have deep in your heart. When you are able to acknowledge your emotions, you will develop a sense of responsibility and will make positive changes in your daily life.

(To be continued)