What isThe Fourth Trimester and How Do You Survive It?
The fourth trimester is the three months after you have had your baby. Many of us want to know not only how to survive during this time, but how to thrive. Read on if this is you!
From Mum's point of view
A new mother's emotional and social experience of the first days and weeks of parenting are closely linked to her physical experience. The changes in her body all influence how able she feels to cope with the demands of parenting and how she sees herself as a mother, partner and woman. I read somewhere that postpartum is puberty's cousin. Fluctuating hormone levels, together with the lifestyle changes and responsibilities a new baby brings, all contribute to the variety of emotional changes a new mum experiences.
What can you do to ease the transition?
Know what physical changes to expect
In the weeks after birth your body will undergo many changes, some parts get smaller, other parts get bigger. You may be recovering from a tear or surgery. Either way, before birth you can make some simple remedies at home to aid in your recovery. I love this post by Lindsay at Passionate Homemaking. She has some recipes you can make yourself or as a gift for a new mum. Other simple tools you can use include a hot water bottle for cramps, arnica for swelling and bruising and most importantly, the power of rest.
Look out for Emotional changes
70-80% of mothers find they go through the 'baby blues' during the first week of birth. It is thought that the decrease in progesterone around day 3 contributes to this condition with exhaustion, stress and anxiety adding to the cause. Having someone to talk to about it, looking after yourself physically or even practising placentophagia may reduce your chance of experiencing the blues. If you feel your emotional changes are more than just the blues, please speak with your doula, midwife or doctor and get a referral for more support.
Nutrition for the fourth trimester
Nutrition is crucial during this time and can help you balance emotions, hormones, and replenish iron and minerals lost during the birth.
When baby arrives it can be difficult to prepare healthy meals and snacks for yourself, so it is wise to prepare in advance. Good ways to ensure you are well nourished include: having a well-stocked pantry, keeping a few easy recipes on hand, cooking a few meals ahead of time and storing them in the freezer and to ask friends or family to bring meals to you. A balanced diet using whole foods is the way to go.
Your Circle of Support
Start building a village of support while you are pregnant. Talk with your partner about how you will support each other, look for a group of friends who will bring you meals, find out what community resources are available to you or arrange for family members to help out with housework and sibling care. Make a plan for your babymoon.
I am here to provide you with information, help you develop skills and to offer social, emotional or practical support. You are always doing the best you can xx
Prepare for an easier fourth trimester with these 25 Secrets From A Postnatal Doula!
Kelly Harper is the owner of Elemental Beginnings Doula & Placenta Services in Adelaide. She provides sleep consultancy, placenta encapsulation and doula services to families during pregnancy, birth and in their fourth trimester.