Definition of fourth trimester
The fourth trimester is the 12-week period immediately after you have had your baby. Not everyone has heard of it, but every mother and their newborn baby will go through it. It is a time of great change as your baby adjusts to being outside the womb, and you adjust to your new life as a mum.
The fourth trimester is a period coined by Dr. Harvey Karp as the first 3 months of a baby’s life after birth. Dr. Karp explains that babies are born too soon! Yes, you read that right. If given the choice, babies would definitely have voted for a few extra months inside the womb. So, the first three months post-birth –the Fourth Trimester – you should think of babies as fetuses outside the womb. The babies don’t really know that they are born yet! Fascinating! So the main job as the official baby calmer mom is to mimic life in the womb for the baby!
What to expect?
The fourth trimester brings with it many changes in the mother’s overall health. Even though the baby is born, the mother’s body hasn’t processed it yet! So you will most likely look pregnant even after delivering! Photos make it look a woman can have a baby and leave the hospital in her pre-baby clothes. In reality, it takes weeks after fourth trimester just for a woman’s uterus to shrink back to its original size. You may experience hot and cold flashes as your body adjusts its levels of hormones and shifts fluids. Some women might have night sweats. The research on postpartum hair loss isn’t clear. Some studies suggest that up to 18% of women report hair loss. It is thought that during pregnancy, hair was in a growth phase and therefore didn’t shed as it normally does. A few months postpartum, women may find that you are losing large amounts of hair. Your hair will soon return to its normal growth cycle, but it may take a few months. We need to find ways to embrace the power and beauty of our bodies as mothers in the fourth trimester.
“The biggest surprise, which is also the best, is that I didn’t know I would love motherhood as much as I do.” – Deborah Norville
The reality of Baby Blues!
With so much going on it is VERY common for women to have many different feelings in the weeks and months after having a baby. Most new mothers experience feeling down, cry easily, and/or feel very worried during this time. For some women these feelings last only a few weeks and may be difficult but manageable. For some women these feelings are very intense and overwhelming. They may feel out of control and upset that what is supposed to be the “happiest time of their lives” is actually sad, scary, and full of worry. While we don’t have exact numbers as many women don’t talk about it, the experience of “baby blues” is common. Depression is the most common complication of childbirth. You are not alone. Don’t wait until your postpartum appointment if you need help. Call your health care provider now. The sooner you get support, the sooner you’ll begin to feel better. Postpartum depression is the deeper, dark blue version of the Baby Blues. It’s marked by feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and fatigue. Women often feel nagging guilt, like they’re the worst mother in the world or that their baby might be better off without them. postpartum anxiety is marked by fears, obsessive concerns, scary thoughts and irritability. Moms may worry about everything. They often experience obsessive behaviors and thoughts that are disturbing, unwanted, and out-of-character.
You may find yourself checking 50 times to make sure the baby is still breathing, or having an unshakeable worry that your baby might slide into the bath and drown.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO COPE?
To help yourself stay well during the 4th trimester, make sure you:
- Eat a nutritious home cooked balanced meals.
- Try to get rest when your schedule and your baby’s schedule allow.
- Check in with your doctor if you experience pain or feel unwell.
- Talk to your doctor if you feel like you might have symptoms of post partum anxiety or depression
- Take some time out everyday for yourself and do the things you enjoy: read a book, go for a walk, listen to music, dress yourself well.
- Don't feel like you have to do everything yourself. Ask for help from partner, family and close friends! They can take your little bundle at other times so you can sleep, as well as handle diaper and bath time if you're comfortable delegating those baby care duties.
- Speak to your doctor about starting light exercise. Moving your body releases feel good hormones like dopamine which help you feel refreshed!
You can continue wearing the beautiful maternity dresses you bought for a few more months (or even longer)! The comfort and breathability will make you feel like the Goddess you are!
Invest in Feeding kurtis which will make breastfeeding easier and more comfortable!
You got this moms!