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Myths and Facts About the Fourth Trimester

You’re likely familiar with what happens during the trimesters during pregnancy, but did you know there’s a fourth trimester? Your fourth trimester refers to the first three months after your baby is born — and just like your first three trimesters, a lot happens during these 12 weeks! 

Unfortunately, your fourth trimester isn’t discussed as much as the first three, so there are lots of myths surrounding this time. 

Take a moment to learn more about your fourth trimester as our team at OBGYN Westside, PLLC, located on the Upper West Side of New York City, debunks the most common myths. 

Myth #1: You don’t need a postpartum plan

Fact: You do need a postpartum plan! A postpartum plan is a plan for whatever you need to support yourself during your fourth trimester.

Your plan may include:

Just like birth plans can vary from mom to mom, so will postpartum plans, and that’s okay. It’s all about what you need.

Myth #2: You’re completely healed at your six-week checkup

Fact: In many cases, your incisions may be healed, your internal incisions may be dissolved, and you may even be cleared for sexual intercourse at your six-week checkup. This is also a great time for you to ask questions or address any concerns you have.

That being said, it can take weeks (or even months) to feel like yourself again. This is normal! Give yourself the grace to adjust to this new milestone in your life. 

Myth #3: You don’t need a prenatal vitamin anymore 

Fact: There's a common misconception that once your baby is born, you don’t need your prenatal vitamin anymore, but prenatal vitamins can help replenish depleted nutrient stores and aid in your postpartum healing process.

If you’re breastfeeding, your vitamin is even more important. Prenatal vitamins contain all of the essential vitamins and minerals — such as folic acid, iron, calcium, and vitamin D — that your body needs for healthy milk production. Even if you already eat a well-balanced diet, prenatal vitamins can help bridge potential nutrient gaps.

Myth #4: What you eat doesn’t matter 

Fact: What you eat during your fourth trimester is just as important as what you ate during your first, second, and third trimesters. Your body is going through a lot of changes during this time — your uterus is shrinking back to its pregnancy shape, your body is trying to function on less sleep, and your body is working to heal any incisions from childbirth. What you eat fuels your body. 

Nutritious but easy choices include:

If you’re just now in the process of stocking your freezer before your baby’s birth, read through this list of easy freezer meals for new moms.

Myth #5: Parenting will come naturally

Fact: This myth implies that breastfeeding (and parenthood in general) should be instinctual and effortless and requires no prior knowledge or preparation. In truth, adjusting to the demands of caring for a newborn can be overwhelming, and many new moms require support, education, and time to develop confidence in their parenting.

If you need help or are struggling with latching difficulties, milk supply issues, or pain, don’t hesitate to reach out to a lactation consultant to jumpstart your breastfeeding journey. 

Myth #6: Your self-care can wait

Fact: Your self-care matters now more than ever! You can’t pour from an empty cup, yet there's a misconception that prioritizing self-care during the fourth trimester is selfish or indulgent. Self-care is never selfish, so do what’s necessary to take care of yourself.

Myth #7: The fourth trimester is only physical 

Fact: While the fourth trimester involves significant physical changes for both you and your baby, it also encompasses profound emotional, psychological, and relational adjustments.

If you need help coping with the baby blues or you spot signs of postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

If you have questions about your fourth trimester, give us a call or book your appointment online today.

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