Pregnancy is broken down into three trimesters. Each trimester brings unique challenges, developments, and joys for both the expectant parents and the growing baby. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the three traditional trimesters and explore the often- overlooked but equally crucial fourth trimester- the newborn phase.
First trimester – 1 to 12 weeks
The first trimester is crucial for the baby’s development, with tiny organs forming and the heart beating for the first time. As the body begins to adapt to the new life growing within, early pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness and fatigue may take centre stage.
Mamas-to-be may find themselves on an emotional rollercoaster from disbelief and worry to excitement and anticipation. In 2020, even though we were actively trying to get pregnant, I remember being very confused about how I was feeling when I first saw the two lines, it suddenly felt like everything was taken totally out of my control (which was probably good practice for what was to come!).
Second trimester – 13 to 27 weeks
The second trimester is when the bump really starts to make an appearance and things begin to feel very real. This trimester is often considered the ‘golden period’ as energy levels rise, morning sickness tails off, and the excitement of feeling the baby’s first kicks takes over. People often use this time to get familiar with pregnancy safe exercises and prioritise strengthening their all important pelvic floor.
Third trimester – 28 to 40+ weeks
With the bump getting ever bigger and the baby’s kicks becoming stronger and more frequent, parents eagerly await the big day. Towards the end of the third trimester it is easy to feel impatient about the arrival of your little one but try and enjoy the free time you have and even if you are not sleeping particularly well at night, try and make the most of the option to nap in the day.
The safest sleeping position during pregnancy is on your side, whether it be the left or right side. Studies indicate that, after 28 weeks, sleeping on your back can double the risk of stillbirth due to the baby’s weight compressing the vena cava, the main vein that returns blood to the heart
Don’t worry if you wake up on your back. The research specifically examined the initial sleeping position, as it is the one maintained for the longest duration. If you find yourself on your back when you wake up, simply shift to your side and go back to sleep.
Fourth trimester – 1 to 12 weeks after giving birth
The often overlooked yet profoundly transformative phase known as the fourth trimester unfolds in the first three months following childbirth. Sleepless nights, feeding schedules, and decoding the unique language of baby cries become the daily rhythm. Amidst what can sometimes feel very challenging, try to soak up all the skin to skin snuggles and newborn baby smells!
Tips for thriving in the fourth trimester
- Never has bulk cooking been more necessary – having a nutritious mug of soup ready within 45 seconds that you can drink with one hand is exactly what you want!
- When people come to meet your little one, make sure they know you are not hosting them, tell them to make themselves at home and make you a cup of tea!
- If you are planning to breastfeed the biggest pieces of advice I can give are 1) don’t over think it, the angle of their latch or the timing of their next feed, trust your gut and 2) in the first few days, if in doubt latch them on! Ultimately that is how your body knows it is milk production time. I am not an expert by any stretch but I have done more than my fair share of breastfeeding over the last 3 and a half years!
- While you can’t be jumping into a full exercise regime straight after giving birth there are gentle breathing exercises and stretches from The Mama Plan that you can start doing as soon as you feel ready.