What is a postnatal retreat?

What is a postnatal retreat?

They’re showing up on the news and in your instagram feed, but what exactly is a postnatal retreat? Often inspired by South Korea’s sanhujoriwon tradition, a postnatal retreat serves as a haven for new parents navigating postpartum. It’s a dedicated space that champions the holistic well-being of mother and baby. It is also staffed by postpartum professionals to ensure mom and baby’s health, bonding, and overall peace of mind.


We have already written about how to create better postnatal care in the US. As a country, we do not emphasize the importance of supporting new mothers during the postpartum period and it shows in the numbers. However, there are encouraging signs that show how postnatal care is becoming more important and the rise of postnatal retreats is a clear reflection of this. 


What can I expect from a Postnatal Retreat?

Postnatal retreats focus on the full spectrum of postpartum recovery for mother and baby. They should provide:

  • Comfortable Accommodations: Ensuring both mother and newborn are relaxed and settled.
  • Nursery: Professionally staffed and operational 24/7 so mothers can rest and recover; sleep depravation can wreak havoc to the postpartum body.
  • Professional Care Team: A dedicated team of postpartum care professionals; lactation consultants, postpartum doulas, and nurses with mother/baby experience offer guidance and care.
  • Nutrition-Packed Meals: Postpartum tailored meals that help mothers recuperate from childbirth’s rigors (low in sodium, high in fiber and iron).
  • Wellness Services: Inclusions such as sitz baths, foot baths, and postpartum massages to alleviate physical discomfort and promote healing.
  • Educative Sessions: From infant care and CPR to breastfeeding and childcare options; learning about newborn nurturing and safety and your transition to parenthood is key at this time.
  • Emotional Support: Know a team of professionals is there for you when you need it; receive guidance while navigating an entirely new experience and get to know other parents with similar experiences.

This holistic approach ensures parents transition into their roles with confidence and backed by support.

Nursery at the Boram Postnatal Retreat
Care Associate and mom at the Boram Postnatal Retreat
Bassinet at the Boram Postnatal Retreat


Deep Dive: The Sanhujoriwon Legacy

Historically, Korean traditions revered the postpartum phase. They emphasize the recuperation of the mother and the health of the infant. Rituals like therapeutic baths, massages, and specialized diets were commonplace.


However, as the 20th-century urbanization wave hit South Korea, familial structures and living spaces transformed. Enter the sanhujoriwon or postnatal retreat–a rich blend of culture and postnatal care practices offering comprehensive postpartum care, from nourishing meals to infant care tutorials.



Revamping the Retreat: Modern Twists on Traditional Postnatal Escapes


Modern sanhujoriwon centers cater to the evolving needs of today’s mothers. They remain instrumental in South Korea, merging age-old practices with current medical advancements. And with research to support postpartum care practices, many governments worldwide are beginning to support evidence based postpartum care, some even subsidizing the cost of retreats. 



These retreats, which have gained popularity worldwide, are now finding their place on American soil. In a nation where new mothers are constantly juggling the demands of a fast-paced world, the arrival of postnatal retreats in the United States is a breath of fresh air. They offer a haven for mothers seeking refuge from the chaos. They also provide an opportunity to rejuvenate, heal, and nurture both mothers and their precious bundles of joy. The emergence of postnatal retreats serves as a reminder that taking time for oneself is not a luxury but a necessity. We are ushering in a revolution of self-compassion and holistic well-being for new mothers across the nation.

Guest room at the Boram Postnatal Retreat