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The three months after you give birth, referred to as the 4th trimester, are arguably the hardest part of your pregnancy. You’re an inexperienced new mum who is now responsible for a new life besides your own, your body is going through many uncomfortable changes as it heals, and you don’t have a full-time healthcare team to rely on anymore. All of this may leave you feeling overwhelmed and challenged.
To help you navigate your 4th trimester, Samantha Flores offers this mini-guide on what to expect and how to overcome any challenges on your way:
What to Expect During the 4th Trimester for Your Baby
The 4th trimester is your baby’s first experience of the new world, a period where their body slowly begins acclimatizing to the world. In the beginning, expect your baby to remain in a fetal position and make short, jerky movements. They will be fussy, have irregular sleep times, need constant feeding, go through countless diapers, and demand attention.
As their vision and muscles begin to develop, by the end of the third month, their movements will become more deliberate. They should begin to play, smile, and actively interact with you. Their digestive system will grow stronger. They may also begin to keep to a more consistent routine.
What to Expect for You
Pregnancy can take a mental and physical toll on new mothers. You may feel extra tired as your body heals (your internal organs will realign back to their original pre-pregnancy place). It takes about six weeks for most mothers to get back to a semblance of normal. Be aware that there will be some permanent changes – Health lists them all if you’re curious.
Expect hormonal fluctuations and mood swings in the interim. Some postpartum bleeding is common, as is discomfort around your perineal area. Last, but not least, your body will produce breast milk, causing your breasts to expand in size.
Mothers commonly experience these challenges during the 4th trimester:
- Tending to your baby constantly: Your baby may cry constantly, and you will have to soothe them. Moreover, babies have tiny stomachs and are always hungry, which means you will have to feed them frequently.
- Constant fatigue: According to the National Library of Medicine, almost 40 percent of mothers experience “postpartum fatigue” in the first few months after their pregnancy. You may find it hard to find the energy to care for yourself.
- Sleep deprivation: Newborns don’t typically sleep longer than two to four hours. This means you won’t get as much shut-eye as you like. Their irregular sleep cycle can last for their first eight weeks (or even 6 months).
- Physical problems: You may experience physical imbalances like weight gain, hormonal issues, discomfort from your C-section scar, cracked and bleeding nipples (from feeding), an uncomfortably-large bust size, appetite changes, headaches, body dysmorphia, and more.
- Postpartum depression: About 50 percent of mothers experience a mild form of postpartum depression, causing crying spells, anxiety, and mood swings.
Get Help for Your Postpartum Depression
Being a new mother can be incredibly challenging. Having postpartum depression on top is adding fuel to the fire – it’s too much for any one person to handle alone. You can and should get help. You can sign up for our Postpartum Mindset Program for support from experienced mothers, as well as access to a caring community of people in the same boat as you. If you’re experiencing severe depression, it also may be a good idea to consult with a professional.
Get Help for Everything Else
Most mothers forego their post-partum visits, which is a mistake. Your doctor can give you advice on being a new mum, as well as suggest treatments for any physical issues you may be experiencing. Besides doctors, you could appoint post-partum care specialists like doulas to help you recover faster. Finally, don’t forget family and friends – you could ask them to help you care for your baby, cook meals, assist with chores, and just talk.
When the going gets tough, you must double down on self-care. You have to prioritize your mental, physical, emotional, and general well-being. It’s key to recovering promptly, having the energy to care for your child properly, and starting your new life off on the right foot. As such, make sure you eat healthy, exercise, meditate, go out in nature, and look after yourself in every way you can. Bounty Parents offers handpicked self-care tips.
Keep your medical files organized
Keeping track of your medical records will make securing care for yourself and your child easier. You can share information with doctors quickly, ask the right questions, fill out forms fast, and generally have a better handle on your health. PDFs are the preferred format for sharing information with healthcare providers.
Instead of having many PDF files, you can use a PDF merging tool to keep all related documents in one main file, cutting down on the time it takes to find and share information. If you’re combining a PDF file, you can move PDF pages to get your records in the right order. You can check this link in order to use a PDF merger tool.
You Are Not Alone
Countless mothers have navigated their 4th trimesters successfully, and so can you. Try to actively take charge of the experience – focus on self-care, educate yourself and proactively deal with challenges. Ask for help if you need it and take it one day at a time to avoid getting overwhelmed.
This post was written by guest poster Anya Willis. You can find Anya at https://fitkids.info/