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The fourth trimester: what to expect

Many parents are unaware that the “fourth trimester” of pregnancy is another crucial time they should plan for


Why is the fourth trimester important? Parents everywhere eagerly await the arrival of their children. They create mental images of their unborn child during all three trimesters of pregnancy, brainstorm names for them, and diligently read literature on labor and parenting. But many parents are unaware that the “fourth trimester” of pregnancy is another crucial time they should plan for.

The first 12 weeks after a baby is born are considered the fourth trimester, according to Veronica James, a licensed clinical social worker with Women & Newborns. “Parents should make plans for this critical time so they can feel organized and supported. It may provide the foundation for both parent’s and the child’s long-term health and well-being.

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James claims that in addition to the excitement of having a baby, the fourth trimester may also provide several difficulties, such as:

  • Baby care
  • Mood shifts
  • Breastfeeding
  • Recuperation after delivery
  • Unusual sleeping habits and tiredness
  • Contraception
  • Sexuality
  • Changes in roles and relationships

Reality Against Social Media

The idealized social media postings of fit moms wearing the newest trends, appearing to have had a full night’s sleep, and visiting a spa aren’t often indicative of the reality that most new parents encounter. New parents frequently struggle with a variety of issues, including mental health issues, exhaustion, incontinence, pain, and even hair loss.

However, James encourages parents to be aware that they have three tasks to prioritize throughout the fourth trimester:

  • Connecting with your child
  • Nourishing your infant
  • Soothing your infant

This should be your main concern, the expert advises, in addition to recovering from pregnancy, getting enough sleep, and adjusting to motherhood. Bonding may take some time and calls for regular participation in the child’s care. The physical, logistical, emotional, and scheduling aspects of feeding must all be harmonized. Additionally, learning to calm your baby is a skill that must be practiced.

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As New Parents, Finding Balance

Overall, maintaining equilibrium is important. James advises parents to make time to make sure the six self-care pillars are upheld. These consist of:

  • Optimal slumber
  • Healthy, balanced diet
  • Routine exercise
  • A moment for you
  • Emotions that are shared through excellent communication
  • Social assistance

All new parents must work on these, according to James. Doing things will appear different in the first year after giving birth than it did before. However, they continue to be crucial for both your and your partner’s well-being.

If you are experiencing trouble adjusting to motherhood, consult your doctor. There are therapies for issues with physical and mental health, workshops and support groups for new parents, and other helpful community resources.

According to James, the fourth trimester is frequently the most difficult. Lean on your partner for support, enlist the aid of your “village,” change expectations when necessary, communicate your feelings at every stage, and seek professional treatment as needed.