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How to prep for the 4th trimester

You’ve heard about the first, second and third trimester in pregnancy – but what about the fourth?

The fourth trimester is the 12 weeks following the birth of your baby. Often described as the most challenging period, the fourth trimester is a time of massive physical and emotional change as both you and baby adjust to your new life as a parent, and he/she to being earth-side.

Here are five things you can do to make those first few weeks that little bit easier –

1. Slow down

Around the world, different cultures have developed their own traditions and rituals to help care for new parents during the postnatal period. While these traditions vary in their specifics, they all share a common goal of supporting the concept of rest. Rest and ‘slowing down’ is incredibly important for your recovery and healing after birth, so now’s the time to take guilt-free lie ins and cuddle up in bed, on the sofa or wherever feels comfortable and cosy.

To help with this period of rest, it’s a good idea to start recruiting your team now; trusted family, friends and neighbours can take over the odd household chore, cooking, running errands and a couple of hours caring for other children you may have. If you don’t have friends or family nearby, a postnatal doula can provide this practical support.

2. Manage your visitors

Suddenly, every Tom, Dick and Harry are keen to see you and your new bundle of joy, but in the early days and weeks following birth, don’t be afraid of being honest about your need to rest and bond with baby. There’ll be plenty of time for cups of tea and gifted cuddly toys in the weeks and months to come – in fact, booking visitors in for after your partner’s paternity leave may be a lifeline to look forward to on the days you’re flying solo.

3. Look after your privates!

Nobody particularly likes talking about ‘down below’, but if you’ve had a vaginal delivery, it’s probably an area you’re thinking about a lot!

Vaginal birth puts enormous pressure on the perineum (the skin and muscle between your vagina and anus) so it’s very common for this area to be swollen or tender afterwards. Your perineum may also tear during childbirth; in fact, 9 out of 10 first-time mums will experience some form of tear or graze1 (don’t worry, this is usually less painful than it sounds!). Plan to give your privates the TLC they deserve with:

  • Warm baths
  • A ‘doughnut’ pillow – a doughnut-shaped pillow with a hole in the centre
  • A ‘Sitz’ bath – place the shallow ‘bath’ on your open toilet seat; sit and soak. Bliss! You can add natural herbs to further aid healing.

4. Drink Kefir

Boost your (and baby’s!) gut health and immune system with probiotics! Studies have shown that taking a probiotic supplement, like kefir, can help maximise the positive digestive and immune system effects of breastmilk,3 as well as boost mum/parent’s energy levels and reduce inflammation, helping to speed up your recovery time.4

Probiotic Kefir can also help prevent anxiety and depression post-birth, without the risk of dangerous chemicals leaching into your breastmilk.5

Chuckling Goat Probiotic Kefir is made with pasteurised goats milk and is left pure and unflavoured, containing zero chemicals – the perfect ally for your journey throughout parenthood!

5. Meal prep

Be proactive in your third trimester and meal prep! Fibre-rich, filling meals and snacks are easy to digest and will help give your body the nutrients it needs to recover and care for your newborn. Breastfeeding mums in particular typically need extra calories when nursing.6 The exact amount depends on your weight, metabolism, how often you exercise and how frequently you’re feeding, but one thing’s for sure – you’ll need healthy, nutrient-dense food to hand!

Soups, stews and curries all freeze well so can be prepared before your baby is born and pulled out when you need a hearty meal. Energy balls, Kefir smoothies, fibre-rich toast with toppings, nuts, seeds, dark chocolate and crudites with hummus all make great snacks.

For more ways to prepare for a smoother postpartum period, check out my post Postpartum – 4 things we don’t talk about!

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