New mothers drank up to one litre of warm wine a day
Childbirth wine is designed to help calm pain, strengthen the body, clean the uterus and rebuild blood. Humagne Blanc is the wine most often mentioned. This choice is possibly linked to the grape variety’s reputation for having three times as much iron as other grapes (a belief proven to be false by recent chemical analyses). Humagne is also a wine for important special occasions, known for its quality and ability to age well.
Warm and spicy
Childbirth wine is given in different forms. It is often taken as a warm wine with spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, honey) and aromatic herbs (hysop, herbes aromatiques (hyssop, mugwort), or as a panade (a soup with toast) for a period of one to four weeks around childbirth. The woman may drink up to one litre a day.
The custom of offering wine to women giving birth is documented from 1528 on, in Valais. Keep in mind that until the mid-20th century wine is considered an efficient remedy and a restorative.
Source: Histoire de la Vigne et du Vin en Valais, «La coupe et le vin de l’accouchée», Samuel Pont, ethnologist.