The Fourth Trimester

Preparing for the Fourth Trimester

The fourth trimester is very often an afterthought. Before and during your pregnancy, there’s so much build up, planning and attention focused on every aspect of your health and wellbeing.

You may have had a long journey to plan and become pregnant, and then 9 months of preparing for baby’s arrival added to that. During pregnancy, so much emphasis is put on your health, what you eat, exercise, and preparing everything you’ll need for baby during pregnancy.

Everything is geared towards birth, however, what happens after birth is sometimes overlooked. Continuing that level of attention and care into the fourth trimester is vitally important to support mum and bub to thrive. 

Preparing for the Fourth Trimester

The Fourth Trimester

The fourth trimester is very often an afterthought. Before and during your pregnancy, there’s so much build up, planning and attention focused on every aspect of your health and wellbeing.

You may have had a long journey to plan and become pregnant, and then 9 months of preparing for baby’s arrival added to that. During pregnancy, so much emphasis is put on your health, what you eat, exercise, and preparing everything you’ll need for baby during pregnancy.

Everything is geared towards birth, however, what happens after birth is sometimes overlooked. Continuing that level of attention and care into the fourth trimester is vitally important to support mum and bub to thrive. 

What is the Fourth Trimester?

OK so you’ve probably heard and read about the first, second and third trimesters as they relate to the stages of your pregnancy. But there’s not as much discussion about the fourth trimester. 

 

This period refers to the first 3-6 months after the baby arrives. Early motherhood is challenging for many and there is much more that can be done to support new mums to cope and thrive in their new role.

It’s OK to feel overwhelmed, tired and low. However, if those feelings continue for an extended period or you find yourself feeling that way most of the time, it’s important to talk to your GP, a midwife, your obstetrician or other healthcare professional.

How You Might Feel After Baby Arrives

Of course, the safe arrival of a new baby is a joyful time. However, when baby arrives, new parents can also feel a pang and even a sense of loss or mourning for their ‘old life’. 

They no longer feel as free as they did before they became parents. 

They can’t necessarily just drop everything to go out for dinner, see a movie or treat themselves to a leisurely browse around the shops (not that we can do those things in Sydney at the moment anyway!).

Breastfeeding and lack of sleep, as well of the physical and emotional recovery after birth, can also take their toll.

It’s important to know that you’re not alone. 

Having said that, I find there is not enough discussion and resource focused on preparing women for the fourth trimester. There’s lots of ‘how to’. How to bath baby. How to breastfeed. Lots of practical advice. But there’s little emphasis on supporting mum to prepare for the transition, or validating the emotional challenges she might experience.

The Fourth Trimester

Tips for Coping and Thriving During the Fourth Trimester

Feelings of worry, anxiety about baby, the impact on your life and relationships, and changes to your body are all very normal.

Some of the things you can do to help include:

~ Talk to someone – it does help to talk about your worries

~ Fresh Air – getting outside in nature can help you feel more positive

~ Exercise – depending on what your doctor advises after birth, try and get out for a walk with baby

~ Professional support – importantly, whatever the worry, you should speak to your health care professional and get support with your concerns

~ Feeling ‘Normal’ – do something that makes you feel like your old self, go for a walk on your own, go to the shops and buy a new outfit or catch-up with some friends.

~ Self-care – do something nice, get your nails done, have a warm bath or curl up and watch a few episodes of your latest binge while someone else looks after baby for an hour or 2.

 

To find out more about our obstetrics services, please contact Dr Kieren Wilson’s rooms and we would be more than happy to answer your questions. Please feel free to email us on info@drkierenwilson.com.au or call 02 9923 4222.

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© Dr Kieren Wilson 2022   |   Privacy policy
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