Former Hollyoaks actress and TikTok dancing hero, Ali Bastian, gave birth last week to her second daughter, Isla. Announcing the happy news on Instagram, Ali shared an image of the baby’s tiny feet with a caption that she and her “little family are snuggling in together for her fourth trimester and will be back with more news soon!”
If you’ve never heard of the fourth trimester then we’re not surprised. A lot of focus is made of trimesters one to three but the fourth trimester can often catch parents, especially new mums, by surprise. Here’s some intel on what happens during trimester 4 and why Ali has the right idea about “snuggling in”.
What is the fourth trimester?
The fourth trimester is the first three months after giving birth. It is a critical time for both mum and baby and a big period of transition for the whole family.
During the first twelve weeks after birth, baby will be adjusting to a big, bright world after only ever knowing the inside of a warm, comfortable womb. Mum will also be doing some big adjusting too, including recovering from the emotional and physical demands of labour as well as learning about caring for a tiny human. This period of time can be hugely challenging and demanding for everyone, including partners trying to support both mum and baby.
The importance of snuggling in
After being pregnant for nine months and feeling like you energy has been totally sapped out of you, it can be so tempting to want to “get back to the old you” straightaway. But the fourth trimester is not the time for any of that.
The fourth trimester is not about making big decisions, starting new exercise regimes or panicking about your life. Instead, it’s a time to slow down, listen to your body and get to know the tiny, little human you’ve just created and birthed.
8 reasons to snuggle in
We’ve rounded up the top reasons why it’s so important to slow down during the fourth trimester and do things at your own pace.
- Physical recovery: Your body has been through a lot during pregnancy and birth, and it needs time to heal. Taking things easy and not overdoing it will give your body the time and space it needs to recover fully. There will still be a lot of relaxin (the hormone that loosens ligaments and joints) in the body after pregnancy so it’s important not to overexert yourself,
- Hormonal changes: After giving birth, your body experiences significant hormonal changes. These changes can impact your mood and energy levels, making rest even more important.
- Sleep deprivation: Newborn babies require a lot of attention, and as a result, new parents often experience sleep deprivation. Taking it easy during the day can help you catch up on some much-needed rest.
- Bonding with your baby: The fourth trimester is an excellent time to bond with your baby. Slowing down and limiting how much you do each day can provide more opportunities for skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding, and other bonding activities.
- Learning to care for your baby: New parents often feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for a newborn. The fourth trimester is a great time to learn about your baby, understand how to care for them and adjust to your new role as a parent.
- Emotional adjustment: The fourth trimester can be an emotionally challenging time. Even if you’re not dealing with birth trauma or postpartum depression, emotions can still be running very high and fluctuate on a daily (and hourly) basis. Taking things slowly and not over planning your days can give you the space you need to process your emotions and adjust to your new life.
- Reduced stress: The transition to parenthood can be stressful. Snuggling down with baby, limiting visitors and going at your own pace can help reduce stress and promote relaxation.
- Prioritising self-care: New parents often put the needs of their baby ahead of their own needs. It’s totally understandable but remember – put your oxygen mask on first. Take the time to look after yourself and prioritise your needs. Self-care is not selfish and can help you feel more refreshed and energised.
Remember, every new parent’s experience during the fourth trimester is unique. There is so much change happening for baby and mum on an hourly basis and it can seem overwhelming. The early days of newborn life may feel never ending but we promise it will pass and you may even miss it when it’s gone. Be patient and kind to yourself, and don’t hesitate to seek help if you need it.
Birthbabe does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. the resources on our website are provided for informational purposes only. you should always consult with a healthcare professional regarding any medical diagnoses or treatment options.