Hello + welcome to this tiny space on the internet! I created this blog (+ changed the name twice since) 14 years ago as a creative outlet from my career in the emergency room as a PA. After spending the past 7 (or so) years on social media outlets, I have decided to delete all of the ones associated with this blog and get back to the heart of blogging.
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:
FIND A LACTATION CONSULTANT NEAR YOU
BREASTFEEDING TIPS FOR THE FIRST FEW WEEKS
HOW TO INCREASE YOUR MILK SUPPLY
HOW TO WEAN FROM BREASTFEEDING
**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!
I cannnot Express how much this post resonates with me. I’m a l&d nurse and after my first baby i COuld not brlieve that after a 24 hour stay with my newborn “they” were like “congrats and good luck”. I felt so isolated, lonely even though my hubby and family were supportive. I was so motivated to start a postpartum non profit afterwards to address all of The things you are talking about and check in with moms more frequently. I feel like i was educated and prepared because of the field i work in, so i can’t imagine what soMe other moms feel. The saddest part there was/is no interest in postpartum programs at least in my area. Hurts my heart. Thanks fOr sharing all these amazing resources aNd insights!!
P.s. not really sure why mY comment has caPs in the middle of sentences haha sorry about that
this Post is great, i couldn’t aGree more. Once I haD My baby I struggled Physically & mentally. after Becoming used to weekly doctor appointments, i felt like an afterthought by my doctor. Lucikly, i had an amazing support group. My Neighbor also introduced me to a private breastfeeding support group on facebook. This helped me so much to get thrOugh the initial struggle the first few weeks. I highly recommend it now to anyone i know that is plabbing to breastfeed. Knowledge is power.
Love this! Weeks away From Having my second baby, wish someone had told me these things with the first. Going to share it with a couple first time moms ♥️
ESPECIALLY Wish i knew about breastfeeding! Whew, that was tough! I experienced an over supply, mastitis, tongue/lip tie resulting in a poor latch avd thrush for 3 months. But after all Of that, we got through and it was all worth it!!
Wow! I wish this post was around when i had my babies. I had no clue when i was going through my experiences. This speaks to me in so many ways. I Survived and got through my struggles. Hopefully Your post reaches many more moms to help them Feel not so alone and ease their struggles. Thank you so much for writing this!
I have to say that here in Croatia you have nurse that comes to you everyday for the first few weeks. She is here for you if you need help with baby, mental help, they check are you recovering well and so on. My nurse was blessing for me. Great women who gave me so much during that little time. And for lactation, in hospital where I gave birth they are very pro breastifeeding and they are trained to help you with any problems you have. Baby is all time with you and they are constantly checking how are you doing, is baby eating well and so on. I Didn’t have any problem with that BUT still they helped me with right positioning and other things.
I was watching your stories on this topic and wanted to yell out amen!! I am a RN ibclc and work in the hospital doing inpatient and outpatient lactation consults and see tHis so much first hand. My dream job would to be able to do home visits postpartumlY and adDress all off these issues. Where is the funding for this? It is so needed? I cant say enough about this. Thank you for shedding light on this important topic!
Our babies are the same age & i also have a 9 year old, i experienced no postpartum signs with my first so when i had my second & experIenced the worst ppd i could ever imagine all that was offered was meds, of course. & that was after beGging my pcp to realize sOmething was wrong with me, i wish i had followed you when i struggled with bf- im sure it would of turned out dIFferently but no one told me about any reSources- on the day i was beIng discharged i begged The lC to help me & that i had no clue what to do & i was told they were too busy.
Also, i think you should put the book “strong as a mother: how to stay healthy, happy, and most importantly sane from pregnancy to parenthood by kate rope, she talks about all things postpartum, pregnancy & pareNting & evEry mom should have a copy!
You’re such a blessing lynzy! Xoxo
Thank you so much for this post! I am 23 weeks with my first and soaking up all the information I can get from the mamas that came before me, and I am so grateful for postpartum tips in particular! THank you, thank you, thank you!
as a 41-year-old first mother I had older sisters so they had informed me on what to expect but I never ever expected the AlIen-ness,body snatcher syndrome, and severe loneliness to creep in.
I am a PhD student and very social so when my job was just to stay home and feed the baby which is an important job by the way I thought I could do this but I didn’t realize how much people ConTact was missing was important to me
Invest in yourself abd your fam and hire a postpartum doula!
Hands doWn best thing you can do for yOurself.
Pretty much everything you listed they can help you with, or direct you to tHe right place.
Sometimes they can just sit with you and hold space, so important to be seen and heard as a postpartum mom.
As a Birth doula myself, i make sure all of my mamas have something set up. I will still cHeck up on them through thOse first 12 weeks. A postpartum doula is theRe as long as you need them!
Thank you for sHaring! I had my daughter 6 daYs ago and realized there were so many things No one told me or opened up about. I needed this post! ❤️
I have a 6 week old, 4th child, and this is so on point. And needed. And neceSsary! I wish a major female magazine would pay you to post this! Motherhood is fun but hard and this fourth trimester is no joke! Thanks for shedding an honest light on the hard ans taboo subjects we in america dont talk about. Even the stink parT (wink wink)!
thank you so much for this post! i love the name ‘4th trimester’ very much, i know it from susan urban’s book i’ve read to prepare myself for the baby (the breastfeeding one and sleep training plan – so short and simple!). although she talks only about the baby’s part and i’ve never thought about my own problems that may occur soon… i mean – i got a bit scared with your text but at least – good to know!
I have the same thoughts! I love susan urban’s 4th trimester talk in her book on sleep training. although now i realize there is so much more…
Hi! I just had my 4th baby boy and i am EXCLUSIVEly BF. My nipples are already sore. Can you please share with me your magical nipple cream so i can request it stat!!! The one you would share on insTagram.. i Never wrOte down ????????♀️ Please and thank you!