In the 2007 paper “Traditional postpartum practices and rituals: a qualitative systematic review,” Toronto-based researchers showed that women from different cultures around the world follow similar postpartum practices after giving birth. At the University of Toronto in Toronto, Canada, Cindy-Lee Dennis, Kenneth Fung, Sophie Grigoriadis, Gail Erlick Robinson, Sarah Romans, and Lori Ross examined fifty-one studies from over twenty countries that focused on traditional postpartum practices. The authors found that across the twenty countries, each culture’s postpartum practice included a specified rest period, a prescribed diet, and organized support from family members. In the literature review, Dennis and her team concluded that healthcare providers should consider the major similarities between cultural postpartum practices to deliver culturally competent perinatal care.
In her 2001 paper “Predictors of Postpartum Depression: An Update,” researcher Cheryl Tatano Beck presents the most common risk factors associated with postpartum depression in women. Postpartum depression occurs when women experience symptoms such as tearfulness, extreme mood changes, and loss of appetite for a lengthened period after giving birth. At the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut, nursing professor Beck updated a previous study of hers by analyzing literature about postpartum depression published in the 1990s. Beck found four predictors of postpartum depression that she had not included in her previous study. “Predictors of Postpartum Depression: An Update” presents risk factors that healthcare professionals can use to predict whether pregnant women are more likely to develop postpartum depression.
In 1978 Social Science and Medicine published Barbara L.K. Pillsbury's article, 'Doing the Month': Confinement and Convalescence of Chinese Women After Childbirth, which summarized the results of Pillsbury's study on Chinese childbirth customs. Pillsbury, a professor of cultural anthropology at San Diego State University in San Diego, California, conducted over eighty interviews with people in Taiwan and China, including civilians, herbalists, and physicians over a four-month period in 1975. She aimed to highlight how a traditional Chinese post-childbirth custom known as zuo yuezi (sitting the month) persisted in modern Chinese society. The practice refers to the month-long period that women who have just given birth must spend resting, or in convalescence, adhering to a strict set of rules that address dietary needs and other cultural rituals. Pillsbury's Doing the Month provides a description and analysis of zuo yuezi (sitting the month), highlighting how traditional Chinese medicine persists in an increasingly westernized Chinese society, specifically in the case of childbirth and reproductive medicine.
In 2004, Shu-Shya Heh, Lindsey Coombes, and Helen Bartlett studied the association between Chinese postpartum (post-childbirth) practices and postpartum depression in Taiwanese women. The researchers surveyed Taiwanese women about the social support they received after giving birth and then evaluated the depression rates in the same women. Heh and her colleagues focused on the month following childbirth, which according to traditional Chinese medicine, is an important period that warrants a set of specialized practices to aid the woman's recovery. Collectively called zuoyuezi (doing the month), the postpartum practices require the help of someone else, typically the woman's mother or mother-in-law, to complete. Heh and her colleagues found that generally, Taiwanese women with more social support displayed fewer postpartum depressive symptoms, and concluded that the practice of doing the month helped prevent postpartum depression in Taiwanese women.