Do you know about the fourth trimester in pregnancy?

We’re blinded by the birth block. We read all the books and take all the classes to help prepare for that one momentous day (and we should; birth IS important). But, we fail to see past birth and too often neglect to prepare for postpartum, writes Courtney Garland

How to Prepare for the Fourth Trimester

We all know there are three trimesters in pregnancy, but do you know about the fourth trimester? This is the immediate postpartum. It’s a time of transition, adjustment and development for you and your baby.

It’s a time when you’re caught in the newborn haze. You’re recovering physically and emotionally and riding a hormonal roller coaster, all while navigating feeding, sleep, and the immense responsibility that comes with caring for a tiny human.

The fourth trimester is a wild ride. But you don’t have to go into it totally blind.

Here are FIVE things you can do during pregnancy to prepare:

  1. Take a breastfeeding class
    Take a class during pregnancy that teaches you how to get the right latch, resolve supply issues, find the source of pain, etc. The more you know now, the easier it’ll be to tackle challenges later.
  2. Understand biologically normal infant sleep
    Babies aren’t born with the ability to sleep through the night. In fact, newborns don’t know their nights from days at all. They’re simply born with a need to be close, to wake often, and to rely on you to settle. So, choose sleep education that helps you to work WITH your baby, not against them.
  3. Get your support network on board NOW
    Don’t wait until you NEED help. Get your loved ones and professional support in place now so you know who to call when the time comes.
  4. Get cooking
    Cooking can be too hard, so take the load off now. Stock up your freezer with easy-to-heat meals, subscribe to a delivery service, or ask friends and family to bring something nourishing over.
  5. Set boundaries now to save arguments
    While there’s all the time in the world to meet a baby, you only get one postpartum and ensuring you have space to rest is SO important. While everyone is no doubt excited to visit, consider setting boundaries around visits now to save hurt feelings later.

While there is nothing that will 100% prepare you for the fourth trimester, taking the time to do things that will make it easier can make a huge difference. Don’t be afraid to lean on supports, ask for help (and accept it), and most importantly, make sure you don’t get blinded by the birth block.

For more help preparing for the fourth trimester and beyond, take Courtney’s FREE online Prenatal, Sleep and Breastfeeding Masterclasses and make sure you download the NEW Mama Linc app (free 7-day trial available!). Use CHILD20 for a $20 discount off any Mama Linc programs.

Lactation & Sleep Consultant, NICU Nurse and Mama Linc Founder Courtney Garland shares practical tips for new parents to prepare for the Fourth Trimester.