It's fair to say, pregnancy is hard. For some, the 'pregnancy glow' never shows up and morning sickness certainly doesn't just make an appearance in the morning! Once your little bundle of joy arrives, you hope to be fighting fit again in no time. But what about 'The 4th Trimester?'
What is the fourth trimester, I hear you ask? A new study by Lansinoh -maternal health brand- has revealed that half of new mums* believed this related to the new-born baby, as opposed to the mother's recovery.
The postpartum period can often be overshadowed, with many mothers admitting to not being 'fully prepared' for their own recovery post childbirth, despite a large number of women sustaining one form of perineal trauma during vaginal delivery.
Lansinoh’s latest study- which aims to open up the conversation around the under-discussed fourth trimester period- found that 83% of women** would recommend to new mums preparing for their own recovery and a further 62% of new mums** admitted that, looking back, they felt they had unrealistic expectations for their own recovery after giving birth.
Becca Maberly; author and pregnancy and postnatal expert, said: “Many of the women I speak to were not prepared for the fourth trimester. Many had not even heard of it which is so upsetting to hear because it is just as important as, maybe even more so, than the other three trimesters."
She added: "As well as educating women and their partners about how to stay happy and healthy during their pregnancy and teaching about their birth options and pain relief, we need to make sure that we are preparing women for what happens after the baby arrives."
Marley Hall, registered midwife and antenatal educator, added: “Having a baby is amazing but it can also be overwhelming. The birth, lack of sleep and the new responsibility of having a new-born can really take its toll on you both physically and emotionally. But if parents educated themselves on the fourth trimester during pregnancy, it can ease the shock a little.
"Any wounds you may have received as a result of birth, whether these are perineal or c-section wounds, will be healing and may be sore. Postpartum bleeding can also go on for several weeks too as the placental site starts to heal over. You may even experience ‘after pains' where the uterus continuesto contract after the birth to reduce its size.”
Lansinoh survey findings:
*Research conducted via Instagram in May 2021, consisting of 169 responsesData from Instagram poll conducted by Lansinoh in 2021
**WEBB S, SHERBURN M and ISMAIL KHALED MK (2014) Managing perineal trauma after childbirth BMJ 349;g6829.