What is the fourth trimester?
So you made it through 9 months of pregnancy and are now officially a New Mama? You've reached the period they call the fourth trimester.
Have you heard health practitioners or friends refer to 'the fourth trimester'? It’s the first three months of your newborn's life, and the first three months of your life as a Mum.
This 12 weeks is precious, and with the right support, Mums in this period can establish a strong bond with their baby, heal their body, belly and vagina, feel rested and cope better, and experience less resentment towards her partner or baby. When the fourth trimester is not respected or held sacred (for example if there is household stress, other children to care for or no support network) the Mother is at risk of mental stress, postnatal anxiety, a lower breastfeeding success rate, sleep deprivation and a slower more painful recovery.
In many cultures (including Chinese and Indian) new mothers are put to bed for up to 40 days to rest and bond with baby. We know modern western society isn’t set up for that, but for years we have recommended our mums try to have at least the first week in bed, and the second on the lounge - and definitely no venturing to the laundry!
In the fourth trimester, friends and family should help with meal drops, childcare for siblings (then your partner can rest with you) and help with household chores, it’s actually a lot more doable than you’d think. There are some great choices of gifts for new mums that can also help women recover from birth in the fourth trimester.
As a New Mother, I was tempted to become the empowered wonderwoman who could bounce back and do it all. But every time I pushed myself, I would get aches, feel tired, and feel like time was going too quick.
Blogger Laura Clery said it best. Through several shots of her life as a new mum, she explains what it’s like to struggle with joy, fear, frustration, pain, sleep deprivation, guilt and every other emotion under the sun: ‘Up and down in a disturbing yet joyous fog’
Do you have a tip to share from your fourth trimester? Please contact us so we can share your story or tips!