The “fourth trimester” is the name for the first three months after you’ve given birth.
For your baby, it’s a period of massive developmental leaps and bounds. Amid the seemingly endless cycle of eating, pooping, and sleeping, your baby is growing and developing skills such as listening, seeing, communicating, and beginning motor skills. (Nothing compares to the moment your baby recognizes you or your voice and responds with a smile or a coo.)
For you, a (new) mom, it’s a period of adjustment, healing from the physical effects of birth, and getting to know and understand your baby. And sometimes, throughout the seemingly endless cycle of feeding, diapering, and soothing—topped off with a bit of sleep deprivation—new moms can become overwhelmed.
I know we had a question earlier, "What's the best advice for self-care after childbirth?" And these things can kind of go hand in hand. If I were going to give my best advice to new moms it would be to remember that the things that you are doing in those first days, weeks, months aren't always measurable. So at the end of the day when you are asking yourself what did you do or your significant other comes home and you feel guilty because you didn't get any laundry done or dishes done or whatever you were trying to complete that day. Remember the things that you are doing even though not measurable are still incredibly important. So don't be afraid to hold your baby. Remember, bonding and showing that baby that you love them and what love is, is just as important. The feeding, the diaper changing, the many outfit changes you and baby are going to go through is not measurable but still super important. So cut yourself some slack, enjoy those snuggles, and do whatever both you and baby need that day.
As a new mother or anyone with a newborn, it’s easy to be consumed by all of your baby’s needs. But as the old saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. The minute you become a mother, you take on the role of a caretaker and it’s important to be mindful that caring for yourself falls under that umbrella, too.
At Moreland OB-GYN, we are here to help with the care and keeping of you, to help you transition comfortably into motherhood during those first 12 weeks and beyond.
It’s not uncommon for new moms to experience difficulties with their mental health, including baby blues, postpartum depression, and postpartum anxiety during the fourth trimester.
When you were pregnant, your body produced large amounts of estrogen and progesterone. But within the first 24 hours after childbirth, those hormone levels plummet back to your non-pregnant amounts. For some women, thyroid hormone production may even drop at this time as well. These fluctuations in hormone levels, along with fatigue, lack of sleep, and the desire to be a perfect mother, can lead to depression.
If you feel you may be experiencing any level of depression, there are two things you need to remember:
For more information about postpartum mental health, read our blog.
We want you not only to survive motherhood, but to thrive at it, and we have the resources to make it happen.
We believe in the Fourth Trimester, which is technically the postpartum period, and so we have an outreach nurse who calls each patient that delivers, between delivery of the baby and the six-week postpartum period . What this does, is it allows us to address any issues that arise or need to be addressed prior to the six-week visit.
Our outreach nurse will follow up with you two weeks after your baby’s arrival to briefly see how you’re feeling, how you’re coping, and if you need any help. She will offer resources to you that empower you to work through any mental health issues you may be experiencing.
If you’re comfortable with the idea of getting help, our outreach nurse will refer you to our counseling partners, where behavioral health therapists are ready to help you repair and maintain your emotional health. With the help of our referrals, in most cases, you can get an appointment with a therapist or counselor within one to three days.
We encourage our patients to reach out to the resources that we refer them to, but if your financial situation or coverage isn't a great fit, let us know and we can offer additional resources.
At six weeks after childbirth, our outreach nurse will call again to take your mental health “temperature,” offer resources, help you get back on birth control if needed, and back to normal activities.
We can’t stress enough how important your well-being is to us at Moreland OB-GYN. You have our ear and our deepest interest in your feelings, symptoms, and circumstances. If we can help make your journey into and through motherhood a little easier and a little smoother, that is a success for everyone.
Your provider can even see you online and anywhere. Talk to your doctor from the comfort of your own home. Moreland OB-GYN offers our patients convenient virtual care visits with our dedicated medical staff.
We want you to understand the power you have as a new mom. It is within you to take the next step to your well-being. The smallest accomplishments—joining a mommy and me group, getting therapy, or taking therapeutic medication—can build confidence, calmness, and help you in ways that you may not have been able to do alone.
And if you need a helping hand to take that step, the providers and staff at Moreland OB-GYN are ready and equipped to do so.
Join our online community of Waukesha-area moms that share advice, ideas, and encouragement as you begin and continue the best journey of all - motherhood!! View our 'Moreland Moms' Facebook group with over 1,200 moms and moms-to-be.
As your baby changes during the fourth trimester, you will, too. Be patient and be kind to yourself.
Remember that it’s okay to ask for help. You may not realize how much we may be able to help if don’t you give us a chance. Are you surviving your days as a mom or are you thriving in your days as a mom?
So when our outreach nurse asks you, “Is there anything we can do to support you physically or emotionally at this time?” don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. Mental pain can be felt just as much as physical pain and if you are just trying to get through your day, that's surviving, not thriving. We want you to thrive!
Contact your Moreland provider to talk about your fourth-trimester experience or schedule an appointment to get started on your journey of motherhood with a caring team of experts at your side for every step of the way.