During the rites of separation the pregnant woman is subject to prenatal care and pollution taboos. Mexican American women believe exposure to cold air, winds and draughts from air conditioners is dangerous. Hot air is considered equally dangerous; sitting near sun heated window glass can make one ill. For the Navajo, the pregnant woman’s head must not point west, which is associated with death.
The rite of aggregation brings back the woman from the “sacred” to the everyday world. The period of convalescence may take from six to 40 days. The end of this final phase is often marked by the baby’s first bath, or the woman’s first intercourse after childbirth.