What is the Fourth Trimester? 8 ways to prepare for and support yourself and your baby through it.
The fourth trimester, yes there is another trimester after you have finished being pregnant, and it is one of the most intense, overwhelming and beautiful of all trimesters. You not only birth the baby but you birth yourself as a newborn mother.
The fourth trimester is the 12 weeks post birth where your baby thinks it is still a part of you and you will experience changes in every single aspect of yourself - emotional, mental, physical and spiritual.
There is so much focus and planning for the birth of your baby that we forget to think about and plan for when baby arrives which is way more intense and longer than your birth will be!
How you can prepare for your fourth trimester while you are still pregnant:
Educate yourself on the following; - Changes you will go through - baby blues, PND, postnatal depletion, physical (pelvic floor, tearing, c-section), breast/bottle or combo feeding and all that comes with this, newborn sleep and newborn behaviour
Fill your freezer with good nutritional food that will heal you from the inside out
Have help at hand be it family or a postpartum doula - a doula is not a luxury it will be the best investment you will make ahead of all the many accessories we buy our babies as you are the most important thing in those first 12 weeks and a happy, healthy mamma is a happy healthy bubba
Talk to your husband about visitors, boundaries, how you want to feel in your fourth trimester and how he can help you with this
Build your village of support finding other likeminded mammas-to-be, and creating a list of people who can support you in your postpartum.
What will help you during your fourth trimester
Do something lovely just for yourself each day be it just five minutes
Ask family to cook for you and do your laundry asking for help is not a weakness
Know that all the emotions you are feeling are normal - baby blues, milk coming in, missing your old life, mother guilt, not wanting your baby to leave your side but desperate for some along time - if you are feeling like you you cannot get through another day, or you cannot stop crying for hours on end and you are feeling helpless then seek help as this may be the starting signs of PND
Eat all the snacks and good food and as much as you want of it!!
The more you educate yourself, and prepare the more likely you are going to come out of the fourth trimester a beautiful butterfly instead of a shrivelled up caterpillar. I am so passionate about nurturing mothers so they do not come out of the fourth trimester depleted as we hear (not see as no-one posts the real stuff on social media) but feeling strong, confident and connected to your partner, baby and most importantly yourself.
How I can help!
Check out my Breastfeeding & Newborn Sleep and Behaviour Workshops I am running to educate yourself on what to expect in those first couple of weeks after bringing baby home.
To build your village I am holding Mamma-to-be Gatherings to connect, share and meet likeminded mammas and each month I focus on a different part of the fourth trimester and share practical tips and tools for you to use when you get to this trimester.
My Doula for a Day services and Postpartum Doula offerings will ensure that you have the right support, nurturing and nourishing as you navigate this previous time.
For a list of practitioners who can support your through pregnancy and in your postpartum from lactation consultants to massage therapists to photogrpahers check out my Practitioners Directory.