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Fourth Trimester

Congratulations on the birth of your baby! 

The fourth trimester is the transitional period between birth and 12 weeks postpartum during which your baby is adjusting to the world and you’re adjusting to your baby.  The first few weeks are going to seem like a blur of poop, spit-up and sleeplessness but there’s also a lot for you and your baby to learn. If you have questions about baby’s sleep or eating- click here (link to Baby’s First Year) 

The first 3 months after baby is born is just as important for mother’s health as it is for baby’s. Here are a few things to remember: 

  • Watch for symptoms of postpartum preeclampsia or other complications. If you feel like something is not right, contact your doctor or go to the emergency room. Signs and symptoms can be found here 
  • Go to your postpartum doctor visit. This is an important visit with your doctor to make sure you are healing correctly.  
  • Eat nutritionally dense foods to help your body heal including fruits, vegetables, protein and whole grains when possible. 
  • Mental health- it is normal to feel sadness or emotional in the 7-14 days after birth as hormones are shifting but if it lasts longer than 2 weeks or is debilitating, talk to a medical professional.  

Birth Spacing

Did you know you can get pregnant again as early as 3 weeks after delivery? Having a plan for preventing another pregnancy before you’re ready is important. For most women, it’s best to wait at least 18 months between giving birth and getting pregnant again. This means your baby will be at least 1½ years old before you get pregnant with another baby. This much time gives your body time to fully recover from your last pregnancy before it’s ready for your next pregnancy. 

Getting pregnant again before 18 months increases your risk for certain health problems for your baby, including: 

  • Premature birth. This means your baby is born too soon, before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Premature babies are more likely to have health problems and have to stay in the hospital longer than babies born on time. The shorter the time between pregnancies, the higher your risk for premature birth. 
  • Low birthweight. This is when your baby is born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces.   
  • Being small for gestational age (also called SGA). This means your baby is smaller than normal based on the number of weeks he’s been in the womb. 

Babies with these health conditions are more likely to have long-term health problems or even die than babies without the conditions. 

For more information- visit March of Dimes.