The fourth trimester is the 12-week period immediately after you have had your baby. Not everyone has heard of it, but every mother and their newborn baby will go through it. It is a time of great physical and emotional change as your baby adjusts to being outside the womb, and you adjust to your new life as a mom. We know your new bundle of joy consumes most of your time, but it’s important for a new mom to prioritize her health and wellbeing during this time too.
Learn more about the 4th trimester and how to take care of both mom and baby during this important time.
New Mom Care:
There are basic postpartum needs that should be met during the weeks following delivery: extended rest, nourishing food, and physical and emotional support. Your body has been through many changes over the last 40 weeks, and it continues to change weeks after delivery. It’s important to know what changes to expect and to contact your OB/GYN if you have any unusual symptoms.
Post Birth Warning Signs:
Schedule a post-birth checkup with your OB/GYN and maintain annual wellness visits with a primary care provider to ensure a healthy recovery.
Pelvic Floor Health
The pelvic floor is an interconnected and multitiered team of muscles that surrounds the lower body openings and also creates a buoyant shelf for the bladder, uterus, and rectum. Your pelvic floor muscles may weaken due to pregnancy and vaginal childbirth leading to your bladder and other pelvic organs sagging out of place. The urethra may also open too easily and allow urine to leak out. There are exercises that can help you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and better support the pelvic organs and control urine flow.
If you continue to have pelvic floor issues, contact your OB/GYN.
Perinatal Mood Disorders and Perinatal Depression
The first few weeks after birth can be exciting, however, this time can also be very stressful for a woman considering the changes in hormones, daily routines, and sleeping patterns. It is common for women to feel sad, overwhelmed, and tearful. Sometimes it is hard to know if you are experiencing a more serious condition of depression.
Perinatal Mood Disorders:
A medical condition that many women experience after having a baby. It is characterized by strong feelings of sadness, worry, and tiredness that last longer than two weeks. These feelings can make it difficult for you to take care of yourself and baby. It can also occur one to three weeks after having a baby and treatment is needed to get better. It does not make you a bad person or a bad mother. Talk to your OB/GYN about how you are feeling.
A mood disorder that can affect women during pregnancy and after childbirth. It can range from mild to severe. In rare cases, the symptoms are severe enough for the mother and baby to be at risk. It is characterized by feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety(worry), and fatigue(tiredness) that may make it difficult to take carry of yourself and baby. Perinatal Depression can range from Postpartum Depression to Postpartum Psychosis which is severe and requires immediate medical attention. Perinatal Depression does not include “Baby Blues”. Talk to your OB/GYN about how you are feeling.
Touro Health Library Resources:
If you are experiencing the signs and symptoms of depression, please contact your OB/GYN for support.
New Mom Support:
It’s important to remember you are not alone on this journey. The 4th trimester is a challenging time for all new moms, but there are people and resources available to help. New Mom groups and classes are a great way to connect with other women experiencing the ups and downs that is the 4th trimester.