The Fourth Trimester: Planning for Your Postpartum Recovery

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When you find out you’re pregnant, you spend months learning about your baby’s development, preparing your home for a baby, and taking care of yourself to give your baby a great start in life. It’s an exciting and sacred time, whether it’s your first baby or your third. But have you stopped to consider the fourth trimester? It’s the period after your baby’s birth, when your body needs some gentle care to heal and recover from pregnancy and birth.

Related: 10 Things About Giving Birth

This guide about the fourth trimester is here to help! Through it all, remember that this is your journey and your body, so don’t give in to pressure from popular media or well-meaning friends and family with ideas about how and when you should care for yourself and your baby. Go easy on yourself and make the most of this wondrous time with your little one!

Even before the baby arrives, start preparing for your fourth trimester, so you’ll be able to rest and enjoy it.

Food

After your baby is born, you may find it hard to shop, cook and clean up for basic meals. And if you’re breastfeeding, you may be surprised by how hungry you are! Nourishing your mind and body with good foods is good for you and for your growing body. During your pregnancy, consider preparing and freezing meals and snacks to enjoy later, or say yes when friends and neighbors offer to help with meals.

Rest

No matter how good you feel, your body still needs time to rest and heal, so rest when you’re able. Chores can wait! Co-sleeping, with your baby in the same room as you, is one way to get more rest in between nighttime feedings and diaper changes. It can also be good for your baby, because co-sleeping regulates babies’ heart rates and breathing.

Chiropractic & Acupuncture

Your body changes dramatically while you’re pregnant, to make room for your baby and prepare for delivery. You can support these changes with regular chiropractic care during your pregnancy. Chiropractic care after delivery can help your body return to normal more quickly and also relieves common aches and pains during this time. Acupuncture is also beneficial, as it supports your balance of energy.

Placenta Encapsulation

More and more women are choosing to save their placentas after delivery. They then consume the placenta in capsule form, because it can help stop postpartum bleeding, stimulate breast milk production, boost the immune system, and more.

Belly Binding

Belly binding has been practiced for centuries around the globe. There’s a misconception that the practice is about aesthetics, but it’s actually to support the shrinking of your uterus back to normal size. Belly binding also supports your abdominal muscles and ligaments as they shift back to their normal sizes and positions. This is a simple practice that improves your comfort and speeds recovery.

Breastfeeding

You’ve probably read about the many wonderful benefits breastfeeding offers to your baby, but you may not realize it’s good for you, too! When your baby nurses, your body releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps you bond with your baby and also causes your uterus to contract, a normal part of the healing process. Breastfeeding doesn’t come as easily to every mom as you might expect, and your experience can also vary from one child to the next. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a lactation consultant if you need help!

Loving Yourself

You just created a miracle! Your pregnancy lasted nine months; don’t expect your recovery to be complete in a matter of weeks. Be gentle on your body and have patience during the fourth trimester.

For more details about these topics and how to aid in your fourth trimester recovery, read the full article, The Fourth Trimester: A Guide to Healthy Postpartum Recovery.

Source: Pathways to Family Wellness. Read the full article.


Looking for Support in Your Fourth Trimester? Consider BirthFit!

BIRTHFIT Chattanooga supports women in the Motherhood Transition through education and training based on BIRTHFIT's four pillars: fitness, nutrition, mindset, and connection. Contact us to ask about our postpartum series.