The fourth trimester? Yes, it’s really a thing! The postpartum period is commonly referred to as the fourth trimester. It is a time to be gentle with yourself and your new baby as you adjust to life after birth. Celebrate it, enjoy it, and for goodness’ sake, don’t stress about your pre-baby pants right now.
The Fourth Trimester Pregnancy Checklist:
- Be Kind to Your Body: Your body has been through a lot. You won’t fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans right away. Give yourself time to heal, time for your hormones to adjust, and time for your body to find its new normal.
- Be Gentle with Your Baby: Until birth, your baby’s whole life was inside your womb, hearing your heartbeat and existing in a very tiny world. Hold your baby close because that’s all they know! Consider baby wearing to keep your little one close while you still have free use of both hands.
- Find a Lactation Consultant: If you plan to breastfeed, a Lactation Consultant (LC) is an important ally to have when establishing your nursing relationship.
- Keep Taking Vitamins: Your body is rebuilding after the pregnancy and birth. Ask your doctor about staying on your prenatal vitamins during the postpartum period.
- Know About “The Gross Stuff”: You might experience some hair loss. Postpartum bleeding (lochia) can last for weeks (make it slightly better with cute organic cotton reusable pads). You might have stitches. Take care of yourself and ask your doctor if you have any questions or something doesn’t seem right.
- Ask for Help: Ask for help with household tasks. You just made a human.
- Make a Placenta Decision: Talk to your doctor about your placenta options. You can opt to have your placenta dehydrated and encapsulated to take as pills during the postpartum period. These pills can help your hormones regulate.
- Go with the Flow: You made a lot of plans during pregnancy about how you were going to raise your child. Sometimes your child has other plans. Maybe you wanted to co-sleep but your baby refuses and wants his own space. Maybe you planned to baby wear but she hates feeling restrained. Let your child guide you.
- Be Aware of PPD: Postpartum depression and anxiety can affect any woman. If you feel depressed, get help as soon as possible. Taking care of your family starts with taking good care of yourself. Stephanie from Missouri says, “Even if you think it might just be baby blues, talk with your doctor. There’s no shame in admitting something is wrong and asking for help. PPD presents in a lot of ways. I was doing everything perfectly! I was hyper aware at all times. And I felt like an utter failure. That’s how my PPD presented.”
What advice can you add? What’s something you wish someone had told you about the postpartum period?