Institute for Global Health


Georgine Leung

Georgine's thesis title is "On doing Zuo yuezi ("sitting the month") - the practice and implications of postnatal health practices in China."

Her primary supervisor is Professor Therese Hesketh.

To get in touch with Georgine, please email her at georgine.leung.17@ucl.ac.uk.

About Georgine

Georgine is a Nutritionist who grew up in Hong Kong and acquired her MSc in Public Health Nutrition at Queen Margaret University Edinburgh. In the past ten years, she has worked as a Nutrition Scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation and a Lecturer at St Mary's University London. Aside from completing her PhD fieldwork, Georgine currently practices freelance. She writes about topical nutrition issues, teaches on food and nutrition courses and runs cooking workshops to different community groups. She recently completed an MA in the Anthropology of Food at SOAS, University of London, to study the complexities of food matters around the world.

Georgine commenced her PhD studies with the Institute for Global Health in October 2017 and is a part-time researcher. Her supervisors are Professor Therese Hesketh at the Institute for Global Health and Dr Rebecca O'Connell from the Thomas Coram Research Unit.

Thesis summary

Georgine's PhD research explores postnatal practices on Zuo yuezi ("sitting the month", sometimes referred to as self-confinement) in China. She will look at how traditions are being interpreted and acted upon by the women of urban and rural households, the ways these customs and practices are negotiated with their families, healthcare institutions and businesses in Chinese society and the impact on the women's health. 

Her methodology comprises (1) textual analysis to trace the prescription of any 'confinement' or related practices in historical and contemporary Chinese medical literature; (2) interviews with new mothers, family members, healthcare professionals, healthcare business managers and workers to discuss their views and personal experiences on Zuo yuezi, (3) participant-observation at a maternity ward, confinement centres and new mothers' homes in Zhejiang province, China.