The fourth trimester is one that has been forgotten about entirely, at least in this country. You spend hours upon hours laboring and birthing your first child, they check off a few check boxes and you’re off! GOOD LUCK WITH MOTHERHOOD, WE WILL SEE YOU IN 6 WEEKS! Six weeks go by and you feel like you’ve been fed to the wolves and then you have your follow-up OB appointment which lasts a whole 10 minutes and feel even more lost than before the visit. In my personal opinion, there is no where NEAR ENOUGH follow-up with postpartum mothers from a physical AND a mental aspect. Yes, there is always the option to call your provider if you’re not feeling well (emotionally or physically) but I really do feel that it would greatly improve postpartum care if we had a few check in visits at the 2 week and 4 week mark as well, ESPECIALLY after that first baby is born. It was and still remains my hardest transition to date and just thinking about those lonely months after my first born gives me anxiety.
So what do you need to know about this magical fourth trimester since we don’t get a ton of care after that baby is born?
I am going to dive into everything I wish I had known and a few resources that I hope will help you or even help someone you may know. Knowledge is power and I wish I had known about these resources after my first baby was born!
1.) Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy | I didn’t find out about this until AFTER my third baby was born and I was experiencing SEVERE tail bone pain, I swear I thought it was broken. Turns out that I just had a severely weakened pelvic floor and weak glute muscles. A few appointments with a pelvic floor PT and the pain was SO much better. Pelvic Floor Physical Therapists are a godsend for mothers and I truly believe that it should be a REQUIREMENT to see one after you give birth just like it’s a requirement to see your OB for your 6 week check up! One of my favorite ladies on IG to follow is Sara Reardon (Pelvic Floor PT) and she does consults via online if you wanted to look into that as an option as well! If you want to see one in person, ask your OB GYN group! Most of them know of one that they can refer you to! I asked her for a coupon code for you all and she gave me one 🙂 You can use code: LYNZY10 for 10% off!
2.) Mental Health | It is AMAZING to me that at the present time we have ONE check in with our mental health and that is at our 6 week appointment where they give you a piece of paper and have you check some boxes about how you are feeling. I don’t know about you but I am not sure I would feel comfortable checking a box about my mental health being unstable. I would feel MUCH MORE comfortable talking with someone 1:1 about it. I have never once been asked about my mental health during a follow-up visit. MAYBE a little something in passing like “You are feeling happy right?” which is misleading and won’t churn out any actual emotions. Our hormones are all over the place following birth and you will cry and you will be happy all in the same moment. HOWEVER, if you ever have significant anxiety, thoughts of wanting to hurt yourself or your baby (even if they are fleeting and you know you would never act on them), trouble leaving your house, or just feel “down” since your baby has been born, please please please call your doctor. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Please seek help because I can assure you that you will feel a million times better once you do! No one will judge you. NO ONE. Do not fight the feelings alone. If you want an online resource, see below 🙂
Postpartum support international: a great resource of community online of mamas going through the same! They also have a helpline.
The Postpartum Journey: Their mission is to end the isolation and distress experienced by many women and their families with the profound life change that accompanies the birth or adoption of a child. They have telephone support, weekly women’s support groups, partner education sessions, community trainings and resource materials.
Inkblot: Secure and confidential counseling anytime! THIS IS FREAKING COOL!
3.) Don’t assume it’s “normal” | I had bladder prolapse with my first. For the first 6 weeks I thought, it’s “normal” and could barely walk, was uncomfortable and thought I would never be normal again. It’s really important to write down all the symptoms/issues you are having and bring them up with your OB GYN when you go to that 6 week appointment. Don’t assume that anything is too “silly” to ask!
4.) Pooping | SUCKS. POOPING SUCKS. If you are one of the lucky ones that never had any issues, that’s amazing! I made the AWFUL mistake of not thinking I needed the Colace that was given to me on the discharge of my second baby. I thought, “I feel great! Pooping regular and I am good to go” Until week 3 when I experienced the worst pain of my life (worse than childbirth) and had a fissure. I will let you do your own research on that but TRUST ME, you never EVER want to deal with that, so read this post 😉
5.) Breastfeeding & Your Milk Makers | Breastfeeding is TOUGH. I struggled with it EVERY SINGLE TIME and it wasn’t until about 6-8 weeks that I felt comfortable with each subsequent baby. I even suffered with thrush (both of us) for MONTHS with my third baby. But I can assure you, it’s amazing when the hard part settles down and it is 100% worth it. The second you give birth, reach out and see if they have a lactation consultant on staff. It is SO important to get that latch right the first time. There is nothing worse than fixing a poor latch, TRUST ME – been there and done that three times! Get as much help as you can in the hospital and then when you leave, see if your pediatrician’s office has an LC on staff and book the followup appointments with her! She can check on your baby and check that latch at the same time! If you don’t have that option and would love to have an LC come to you, you can try to find one through here! I have a ton of other helpful breastfeeding posts so I will link them here:
**One of you emailed me about this resource! Dr. Jack Newman out of Toronto is a world renowned breastfeeding specialist and has an awesome website with resources here! You can even ask questions and he will answer promptly!
If you are having issues with nursing or your baby gaining weight, you may want to consider that your baby may have tongue tie! One of my readers emailed me about this great resource that you can look into!
6.) SWEATING | YES, the fact that you sweat through your bed sheets every night is normal. Blame your hormones. Also, that postpartum stink, that’s you. That is also normal 😉
7.) “Comparison is the thief of joy” | Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t compare your baby to other babies. Just know that you are a beautiful mama with a beautiful baby and let nature walk you the rest of the way.
ACOG is implementing some new changes that are definitely an improvement in postpartum care and you can read all about that here!
Lastly, here is a post that I compiled awhile back where I asked my community of mamas to tell me ONE THING they wish they knew before giving birth – it’s a great read!