A Mother’s Guide To The Fourth Trimester

The period after birth is an exciting time when friends and family surround to welcome and celebrate your little bundle of joy. Unfortunately, that means it’s easy for everyone, including you, to overlook your emotional and physical needs. The post-partum period is a critically important time for new moms. In this guide, we’re exploring the changes that can happen during the fourth trimester and how you can find support.

What is the Fourth Trimester?

The fourth trimester is a phrase that refers to the three-month period immediately following childbirth, and is often attributed to Harvey Karp, MD, from his book, “The Happiest Baby on the Block.” For both mom and the baby, this period after childbirth is incredibly important for creating daily habits, finding structure in your new relationship, and bonding with your little one. However, the physical and emotional challenges of having just given birth means that the fourth trimester can often be overwhelming. Not nearly enough attention has been paid to this important time when compared with the detailed focus on the trimesters leading up to birth.

For the new little one, these first few months are spent adapting to life outside of the womb. They are learning how and when to eat, how and when to sleep (hopefully), and are developing basic motor skills. In short, they are starting to become small people with an increasing ability to communicate their developing needs. For moms, this period can be a whirlwind of adaptation, with constant and evolving needs from the baby, days on end without restful sleep, and all while your body is still recovering from the physical trauma of childbirth.

What Should Mothers Expect in the Fourth Trimester?

No matter how much or how well you prepare for the period immediately following birth, it is hard to truly be ready. Feelings of exhaustion, failure, or being completely overwhelmed are common. The fourth trimester can be a very humbling experience for even the most informed and prepared mothers.


Physically, you’ve just been through a difficult experience and have not yet had time to heal. It can take months for your body to recover and adjust to even the smoothest birth scenarios, let alone for those with complications.  This pain and discomfort can sometimes turn simple, everyday tasks and chores into draining and seemingly insurmountable obstacles. With a growing to-do list, this ongoing physical drain can quickly manifest itself as added emotional stress.


Continuing biological changes combined with sleepless nights can lead to overwhelming levels of stress and more serious post-partum concerns. Post-partum medical conditions can be bucketed into three diagnoses that have different symptoms and variations in duration and treatment options:

What complicates this even further is that these changes are all landing at a time when the clinical and social support structures that had been such an integral part of the pregnancy begin to change. Moms and partners are starting to return to work and there are often fewer check-ins with clinical teams, so it’s not uncommon for new mothers to feel alone or isolated. It’s important to recognize that you will need help, and that you make arrangements to ensure you have the support you need after your baby arrives. Ask yourself and your provider questions like…

Getting Help in the Fourth Trimester

For too long, the fourth trimester has not been given the attention it deserves. Axia Women’s Health and our trusted team of dedicated, caring, compassionate providers join with the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists and others in calling for closer follow-up of women after birth. We’re here to listen and help throughout your pregnancy, into the fourth trimester, and beyond. Additionally, there are wonderful external resources that offer support:

Overall, it’s important to give yourself time to heal. Give yourself time to work through these evolving challenges. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt that you’ll get through the long nights, endless feedings, and make sure you enjoy the small victories. So much of the fourth trimester is about connecting with your baby, so give yourself a moment to recognize the progress you and your baby are making as you work your way through these tough moments.

When the fatigue or feeling of being overwhelmed becomes too much, know that we’re also here to help. You’re not alone. Your Axia Women’s Health care team is here for you throughout your journey.

Finding a healthcare provider who you trust and feel comfortable with is so important. At Axia Women's Health, we're proud to build relationships that span decades - from puberty through pregnancy. Thank you, Brittney, for sharing your experience with us! 💙

credit: @mrs_kochanski89

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‘Tis the season of giving thanks, and we couldn’t be more thankful for our incredible patient community! 🙏🏻💛Thank you for trusting us with your care. Through the happy moments and the sad, from puberty to pregnancy and even into the golden years, through challenges and joyous moments, we thank you for allowing us to be a part of your journey.

#thankful #appreciationpost #patientcare #givethanks #pregnancy #obgyn #gynecology

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All moms know that holding your baby is an important part of bonding emotionally. But did you know it can also provide physical benefits? Kangaroo Care, a specific form of skin-to-skin contact, can have benefits for both preemies and their parents. Research shows that holding a baby to your bare chest can help regulate the baby's heart rate, breathing, and body temperature as well as promote bonding. To all of the NICU mamas, we see you and salute your strength!


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Pregnancy and infant loss is a uniquely personal and complicated experience that affects each woman differently. No matter your experience, we're here to remind you that your grief is valid and you're not alone. Save this post as a reminder anytime you need support. <3


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It's sexual health month, so 🎶let's talk about sex 🎶 post-baby. Perhaps, you've had your 6-week-checkup but still aren't feeling ready to be intimate again...that's completely okay!

There's so much to navigate as a new mom. 🤯It can be challenging to find the time or energy to be intimate with your partner. 👩‍❤️‍💋‍👨

But, if you're feeling ready and are bothered by symptoms like pain or discomfort, don't be afraid to speak up! Your Axia Women's Health provider is here to help.

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The truth is because PCOS can disrupt your normal menstrual cycle, it can take longer to get pregnant...but it's not impossible! 💫👩🏽‍🍼

Some women may be able to conceive naturally after managing PCOS symptoms, while others may find help in assisted reproductive technologies like IVF. 🔬

Wherever you are in your journey with PCOS, don't give up hope! 💜 Stay tuned as we shed light on more common myths surrounding PCOS throughout the month.

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Many women are seeking to better understand how the Supreme Court reversal of Roe v Wade may impact their reproductive health. At Axia Women’s Health, we’re actively involved in conversations with other leading health authorities and are committed to helping you navigate the future of your care. We’re here for you, and we encourage you to contact your Axia Women’s Health provider to discuss your individual needs.

To learn more about where abortion access currently stands in your state, follow @kaiserfamilyfoundation or visit their website at www.kff.org. News outlets like the @NYTimes also offer up-to-date tracking on their website at www.NYTimes.com.

Please know that birth control (when used for preventing pregnancy) and emergency contraception (like plan B) are not currently banned in any states, though it is an evolving situation, and may change in some states. Please refer to information regarding your specific state’s regulations, or speak with your Axia Women’s Health provider for the most current and accurate information.

Please note: This information is accurate as of July 21, 2022, and may change.

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It's true that during pregnancy and around our menstrual cycles our natural balance of progesterone and estrogen can be disrupted. This imbalance can create an ideal environment for Candida fungi, the bacteria involved in yeast infections, to grow. 🤔

Fortunately, several over the counter medications can help the infection clear up within a few days. 💊

But if you're experiencing recurrent infections, it's a good idea to chat with your Axia Women's Health provider. 💬

#yeastinfection #vaginalhealth #whatsupdownthere

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The invention of birth control was a game-changer for women's health..in more ways than one. Did you know that certain birth control can provide benefits other than preventing pregnancy?

In fact, up to 50% of birth control users rely on it for reasons other than contraception. Your Axia Women's Health provider can help you learn more and determine the best option for you!

#birthcontrol #periodpain #menstrualmigraine #acne #womenshealth

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Join us next Thursday, May 26 at 12pm ET for a real talk about women's mental health. Megan Lobsinger, a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor at Axia Women's Health, will be sharing advice on navigating emotions around infertility, pregnancy, postpartum, and menopause. Have a question you want addressed? Comment below or DM us privately.

#IGLive #mentalhealthmonth #womensmentalhealth

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Today, we're honoring all those who "mother." We know each woman's path to motherhood can be different. Whether you've given birth, have experienced loss, are actively trying, or have taken on the role of a mother, we salute you!

#mothersday #mothersday2022 #happymothersday

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