These are the words of wisdom mums need to hear in their 4th trimester

It’s a tricky time (Picture: Getty)

No matter how many books you read, or ‘must-have’ items you buy, adjusting to life with a newborn can be tough.

The first three months after childbirth – know as the fourth trimester – brings with it challenges for both mum and baby. Your baby is trying to make sense of their new world – and so are you.

And now, new research has shown that nearly half of mums say they feel ‘totally unprepared and unsupported’ during this time.

The findings by Wild Nutrition revealed that a third of women think that this fourth trimester is the most difficult stage of pregnancy, and many said they didn’t realise how emotional and challenging it would be.

During this period, a third of women surveyed didn’t think they had emotional support in the weeks after their baby was born, and 26% said they would have focused more on their own self-care after they’d had their baby, if they’d known more.

The fourth trimester impacts mums both mentally and physically. Of the most common symptoms experienced during this phase, exhaustion and sore breasts topped the list. Others cited feeling worried ‘all the time’ or suffering from depression.

As part of their fourth trimester guide, Wild Nutrition gathered together nuggets of wisdom from mothers with babies aged 12 weeks and under, in the hopes of supporting those who are struggling.

From giving yourself space, to sleeping when your baby does, the most common pieces of advice are:

  1. Don’t compare yourself to other new mums, you and your baby are unique – 70%
  2. Trust your gut, it’s your greatest ally when you can’t think straight from not sleeping – 60%   
  3. Don’t feel you have to say ‘yes’ to visitors or to host them – concentrate on staying on top of your mental health, not the housework – 57%
  4. Don’t feel guilty if you need a bit of your own personal space – give the baby to your partner or family, even if it’s so you can have a bath – 48%
  5. Don’t over stretch yourself, sometimes it’s just an achievement to get dressed and leave the house! – 45%
  6. The first twelve weeks of your baby’s life will be chaotic, but you will find your own ‘groove’. Ignore pressures to have a routine too soon – 41%
  7. Cherish the very early weeks and months with your baby, as time passes so quickly – 40%
  8. Everyone seems to have different ideas about caring for your baby, so get helpful advice from those you trust but ultimately always come back to your own instincts – 35%
  9. You’ll be surprised at how little sleep you can survive on and always nap when your baby sleeps – 35%
  10. Expect to have a baby bump post birth and your stomach to feel wobblier. This is totally normal – 34%

Henrietta Norton, co-founder, nutritional therapist and mum-of-three said: ‘From reviewing the research and listening to the experiences of women, it’s clear that the fourth trimester is not supported and understood in a way that honours the importance of this time.

‘This is a period of new motherhood where women need physical and emotional care as well as nourishment.

‘Where nutritional status, psychological wellbeing and physical balance are all essential, these are often misunderstood or overlooked.’

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