Delivery room(産室)

Delivery room

Headword

산실 ( 産室 )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Rites of Passage > Korean Rites of Passage > Chulsaenguirye

Writer JungYeonhak(鄭然鶴)

The room where a mother gives birth to her baby.

As a woman’s labor and delivery day drew near, a delivery room was often prepared in the anbang, the room occupied by the mistress of the house, or the room used by the expectant mother. In Chungcheong-do Province, if the house was less than three years old, expectant mothers were led to the kitchen to deliver the baby in front of the hearth, instead of inside a delivery room. It was believed this would save the mother from a difficult birth. Babies born in the kitchen were given a nickname “Bueoksae, ” or “kitchen baby.” The delivery room was matted with straw for easy cleaning after delivery. The room was heated even during summertime if the delivery day was near and implements were prepared for use in the delivery such as a basin for warm water and scissors to cut the placenta and the umbilical cord.

If a family had two mothers giving birth in the same year, two different delivery rooms had to be prepared. It was believed that two mothers delivering in the same room could result in the loss of one baby. Many families settled the problem by sending one of the two to her maiden home. If it was unavoidable to have two babies born in the same room, the family took extra care over the babies’ safety. For example, they tried not to lay the two babies in the same position, and accordingly one baby would be laid widthwise along the wall if the other was laid lengthwise.

Some delivery rooms had a samsinsang (Kor. 삼신상, Chin. 産神床, lit. offering table for the Goddess of Childbearing). The offerings arranged on the table included dried seaweed, a bowl of clean water, uncooked rice, and a skein of thread, and prayers were said for the safety of mother and baby. If the delivery day overlapped with a ceremony honoring village tutelary deities, a separate hut was prepared for the delivery to avoid evil influences. This hut was had several names, including haemak (Kor. 해막, Chin. 解幕, lit. delivery hut), haesanmak (Kor. 해산막, Chin. 解産幕, lit. delivery hut), pimak (Kor. 피막, Chin. 避幕, lit. safe hut), and sanmak (Kor. 산막 Chin. 産幕, lit. delivery hut).

In the royal court of Joseon, a delivery room prepared for a queen or princess was called Sansilcheong, or Delivery Hall. When a queen or crown princess was pregnant, the government set up her delivery room and formed a group of childbirth experts. The delivery hall for a crown princess was, for instance, set up at a carefully chosen date in Donggung (Kor. 동궁, Chin. 東宮, the crown prince’s quarters), which was usually closed seven days after the delivery. Though rarely, the delivery hall remained in operation for an extended period when the mother recovered slowly after the delivery. As the birth of a royal baby by a queen or crown princess was regarded as an event for national celebration, the government banned punishments and military examinations during the time the royal mother stayed in the delivery hall. When it was an easy delivery, the staff of the delivery hall were given special awards.

The customs surrounding the delivery room reflect the traditional belief of Koreans that the birth of a child is a divine event and should take place in a space well protected from the worldly concerns of the outside world. In Korea today, babies are born and spend their earliest days in a hospital delivery room or postnatal care center, but the tradition of taking effort to protect the mother and child from the disturbances of the outside world is still maintained.

Delivery room

Delivery room
Headword

산실 ( 産室 )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Rites of Passage > Korean Rites of Passage > Chulsaenguirye

Writer JungYeonhak(鄭然鶴)

The room where a mother gives birth to her baby.

As a woman’s labor and delivery day drew near, a delivery room was often prepared in the anbang, the room occupied by the mistress of the house, or the room used by the expectant mother. In Chungcheong-do Province, if the house was less than three years old, expectant mothers were led to the kitchen to deliver the baby in front of the hearth, instead of inside a delivery room. It was believed this would save the mother from a difficult birth. Babies born in the kitchen were given a nickname “Bueoksae, ” or “kitchen baby.” The delivery room was matted with straw for easy cleaning after delivery. The room was heated even during summertime if the delivery day was near and implements were prepared for use in the delivery such as a basin for warm water and scissors to cut the placenta and the umbilical cord.

If a family had two mothers giving birth in the same year, two different delivery rooms had to be prepared. It was believed that two mothers delivering in the same room could result in the loss of one baby. Many families settled the problem by sending one of the two to her maiden home. If it was unavoidable to have two babies born in the same room, the family took extra care over the babies’ safety. For example, they tried not to lay the two babies in the same position, and accordingly one baby would be laid widthwise along the wall if the other was laid lengthwise.

Some delivery rooms had a samsinsang (Kor. 삼신상, Chin. 産神床, lit. offering table for the Goddess of Childbearing). The offerings arranged on the table included dried seaweed, a bowl of clean water, uncooked rice, and a skein of thread, and prayers were said for the safety of mother and baby. If the delivery day overlapped with a ceremony honoring village tutelary deities, a separate hut was prepared for the delivery to avoid evil influences. This hut was had several names, including haemak (Kor. 해막, Chin. 解幕, lit. delivery hut), haesanmak (Kor. 해산막, Chin. 解産幕, lit. delivery hut), pimak (Kor. 피막, Chin. 避幕, lit. safe hut), and sanmak (Kor. 산막 Chin. 産幕, lit. delivery hut).

In the royal court of Joseon, a delivery room prepared for a queen or princess was called Sansilcheong, or Delivery Hall. When a queen or crown princess was pregnant, the government set up her delivery room and formed a group of childbirth experts. The delivery hall for a crown princess was, for instance, set up at a carefully chosen date in Donggung (Kor. 동궁, Chin. 東宮, the crown prince’s quarters), which was usually closed seven days after the delivery. Though rarely, the delivery hall remained in operation for an extended period when the mother recovered slowly after the delivery. As the birth of a royal baby by a queen or crown princess was regarded as an event for national celebration, the government banned punishments and military examinations during the time the royal mother stayed in the delivery hall. When it was an easy delivery, the staff of the delivery hall were given special awards.

The customs surrounding the delivery room reflect the traditional belief of Koreans that the birth of a child is a divine event and should take place in a space well protected from the worldly concerns of the outside world. In Korea today, babies are born and spend their earliest days in a hospital delivery room or postnatal care center, but the tradition of taking effort to protect the mother and child from the disturbances of the outside world is still maintained.