HOW TO SURVIVE THE FOURTH TRIMESTER
The Fourth Trimester is a phrase that I came across quite recently. As soon as I discovered what it meant I fell in love with its meaning straight away.
The reason why?
Because it finally gave me an understanding of what the next 3 months of my life were going to be like. It’s similar to looking at pregnancy through a window.
The fourth trimester, rightfully coined is essentially the 3 months after a woman has given birth.
The reason for it being referred to as another trimester instead of it being simply “after birth” is because of all the changes that are about to happen.
The fourth trimester is all about the haze that quickly follows on from childbirth.
If you have given birth before you will know exactly what I am talking about.
Essentially its a continuation of pregnancy but with the added bonus of your baby needing you at every waking moment.
In those next few months, there are a lot of changes which will be taking place and it will take some adjusting to get used to it.
In these 3 months, the mother’s body goes through some very distinct changes.
Life is turned upside down and you have a new baby who will need you at it’s every beck and call.
In the beginning, when you are in this 4th trimester period it will feel never-ending (much like your third trimester of pregnancy).
It always seems like that when you are on the inside looking out.
In actual fact, the time will pass by really quickly and you will soon wonder how your baby got so big.
So you don’t feel completely overwhelmed like I did when I had my first child.
7 TIPS TO HELP YOU SURVIVE THE FOURTH TRIMESTER:
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1. SLEEP DURING POSTPARTUM
Sleep will very quickly become a thing of the past with baby needing to feed every couple of hours.
You will have to learn to adapt to functioning on minimal hours of sleep each day.
Don’t worry about it!
Sleep when you can even if it means sleeping at 12.00 in the afternoon.
There is no good time to go to bed because your baby will wake whenever they feel like it.
Take what you can get because it will do wonders for your psyche.
Don’t stress too much about structure at this point. Surviving the fourth trimester is all we are looking at at the moment.
The structure can wait.
The more sleep you can get, the better able you will be to look after your baby.
2. YOUR CLOTHES MIGHT SURPRISE YOU DURING THE FOURTH TRIMESTER
Don’t expect to fit back into your skinny jeans straight away. When I gave birth to my first child I packed my pre-pregnancy jeans and a maternity pair of jeans in my hospital bag.
Neither fit me after having given birth. Looking back now I’m not quite sure what I was expecting.
I’ve heard of the ‘snap back’ when everything goes right back to how it was before you got pregnant but my expectations were ridiculous, to say the least.
After giving birth I was left with this awkwardly shaped empty sack in front of me which used to be called my stomach (ha!).
To make matters worse I ended up with stretch marks too.
There was definitely no snap back for me at least not that quickly anyway.
Give your body time to readjust. Remember it took your body a whole 9 months to stretch and accommodate your baby so it’s only fair that you give it some time to spring back also.
Take the time to embrace some of your partners’ clothes (let’s face it they probably look better on you anyway).
Or try on some of the clothes you wore in the early stages of your pregnancy. Whichever option you go for just remember that you have just given birth.
This is not the time to beat yourself up about what you think your body should or should not look like.
Take your time and enjoy this space. The fourth trimester does not last forever!
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3. PREPARING FOOD POSTPARTUM
If you didn’t get a chance to prepare some frozen meals before baby came along this would be a really great time to enlist the help of some friends.
Usually when you give birth people are always offering to help, so take them up on it.
Have you heard the saying “it takes a village to raise a child?” Well being able to survive the fourth trimester is all about that (perhaps a slight exaggeration!)
Get your friends to make you a few dishes that you can easily freeze for later on in the week when you won’t have time to cook.
I like to break meals down into small Tupperware containers according to portion size.
This makes things so much easier as I just have to pull out one container at a time to have a meal rather than defrost a whole container of food that we may not end up finishing.
This is certainly not the time to be polite by declining help from friends.
If it makes you feel awkward you can always promise to repay the favor in return at a later date.
This is all part and parcel of the fourth trimester adjustment period.
4. VISITORS AFTER CHILDBIRTH
Never be afraid to say no to visitors. Your body has just gone through a major upheaval and you need time to recover from that.
Understandably people will want to see your new baby which is fine but they do have to respect the fact that you need a little time to feel human again.
The 4th trimester is never going to be an easy breeze so you have to make things work to your own advantage.
If you are expecting visitors get them to help with little things around the house such as the washing up that you’ve been trying to do for the last few hours or the vacuuming.
This is probably the only time you get to take full advantage of your friends without taking liberties.
In all honesty, people like to feel helpful and will gladly oblige your request.
5. SHOWER TIME IN THE FOURTH TRIMESTER
If you can’t make it into the shower before midday, it’s fine. You just had a baby and you are stilling trying to find your feet.
Shower at any time of the day, it really doesn’t matter. You most definitely have a free pass in this area.
6. DON’T FORGET TO TREAT YOURSELF! (IT’S A GREAT WAY TO SURVIVE THE FOURTH TRIMESTER)
Get yourself some treats! For me, it always has been and always will be chocolate!
Chocolate gives me a sense of normality in the supposed chaos (well that’s what it feels like to me at the time).
Get something that will make you feel happy and normal. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll appreciate it later on.
7. GET YOURSELF A CLEANER
If getting someone in to do your cleaning for a couple of hours a week will help you get some much-needed sleep, do it!
You won’t get extra brownie points for having done everything yourself so rope in some help where you can.
You deserve it, you just gave birth to a human being!
FINAL THOUGHTS ON SURVIVING THE FOURTH TRIMESTER
The real lesson for today is, stop stressing about things. Over time things will fall into place for you before you know it.
Baby will be in a routine, you’ll be able to stop to have that coffee with friends and those skinny jeans will be back at the front of your wardrobe again.
Every mother goes through this stage, we understand.
Let me know if you have any other tips for surviving the 4th trimester, I would love to hear them.
Drop me a comment below.
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