5 Tips to Live through a Gentle 4th Trimester

First of all, what is the 4th trimester?

A pregnancy’s 4th trimester is an important transition period. It starts with the baby’s birth and continues throughout the baby’s first 12 weeks. During those first three months, your baby will get used to his new environment, which is drastically different from what he’s accustomed to. Gone are the days of living in a perfect temperature and fed effortlessly! Warmth, comfort,presence, safety… Your baby’s needs are many, take up almost all of your time and energy and require you to slow down to be dedicated at 300% to this newly-arrived human being.

This is a period of adaptation for new parents as well. Indeed, the arrival of a baby, whether it’s the first or fourth, is always synonymous with emotions, changes and arising questions. Parents need to follow their newborn’s rhythm (which looks nothing like their own!), while trying to find their new bearings, all on top of getting acquainted with this tiny and vulnerable little person.

Added to this are the unexpected feelings of ‘’worrying over everything’’ and ‘’never being sure of doing the right thing’’ and fatigue. It’s easy to understand why many parents feel overwhelmed during their baby’s first months.

The fourth trimester is also an important moment for the mother: a moment which should be synonymous with rest and calm. It’s known that pregnancy and childbirth are very intense for the body and it’s absolutely necessary to take the time to recuperate after childbirth. Many women trivialize this essential period and can suffer its consequences in the short, middle, and long-term, among other things, in their abdominal and pelvic health.

Recovering physically is a necessity, but let’s not forget that psychological recovery is equally important. Giving birth is a major event for women. It often takes up a lot of place in their mind for weeks at a time. Because of this, new mothers often feel the need to talk about it, to share their experience and it’s completely normal to do so. Whether giving birth was gentle or stressful, it’s primordial that mothers take the time and space they need for that meaningful moment to integrate gently within themselves.

Why are we talking about the 4th trimester?

Many new parents cite not having been sufficiently prepared for this intense period and say they hadn’t realized how destabilizing this period would be. They were prepared for a certain level of fatigue, but no more. Discovering themselves as parents, getting acquainted with their baby, live their day to day with a mini human that demands all their attention, having their sleep interrupted several times per night, live the stress of every first time... none of this is banal and it’s one of the most extraordinary experiences in life! It’s the point of parenthood, of the beginning of the family’s story, it’s a ‘’parenthesis in normal life’’.

The more we talk about it, the more future parents will have a sense of things to come, the better prepared and accompanied they will be able to be, which will considerably diminish the feelings of isolation and surprise that might arise from the intensity of this period.

And now, here are 5 tips to live a gentle 4th trimester

#1 - Between the bed and the couch

The first thing to keep in mind is that it’s primordial that you slow down during your first few weeks with your baby. Slow down how? You could spend more time lying down or semi-reclined for your pelvic floor’s health, but also in order to rest most of the time. Mothers who give themselves the right to live at their baby’s rhythm recover over time a level of energy that will last them over time. In contrast, mothers who try to get back to their activities too quickly have a tendency to tire themselves and, when the adrenaline of the first weeks dries up, end up having to impose themselves some downtime, as they have exceeded their limits. So yes, spending your days between your bed and your couch is absolutely perfect!

#2 - Cleaning can wait

In the same vein, house chores should be split in unequal shares (with the mother having only a very small percentage to do) or, better yet, they should be handled by somebody else entirely. For mothers who are often alone and receive little help, doing a minimum to feel comfortable in your environment is necessary, but the rest can wait. We know it: Laundry will still need to be folded after a nap and the dust won’t move while you’re reading or meditating!

#3 - Skin to skin

Skin to skin quality time between dad and baby

Snuggling up with your baby again and again has many benefits both for you as parents but also for your baby. Spending time skin to skin with your baby daily will help you, among other things:

  • To be attentive to your newborn baby’s needs, therefore tending to them rapidly;
  • To diminish his cries, which will help you feel more competent and calms;
  • To get acquainted with your baby faster, which will make you more self-assured..

We’ve prepared an article on skin to skin contact. Learn more about the subject by reading it here.

#4 - Ask for help

It’s time to solicit your support network to the max! Ready-made meals, vacuuming the house, a load of laundry to fold, an ear who will listen to you, arms to cradle your baby… For new parents, there’s no such thing as too much help. Forget your fear of annoying others and dare to ask for help! If your network is limited, there probably are amazing resources near you. The Québec CRP Network is a good example, like the Maisons de la Famille, babysitting services, volunteers who offer respite-daycare services, etc. Catering services and cleaning services should not be looked down upon, to the contrary. These are excellent suggestions when your family asks you what your needs are or what you’d like as a gift. Many doulas offer personalized services for postpartum and you can find them in many regions of Québec.

#5 - Take time for yourself every day 

Even if it feels impossible sometimes, it’s essential that you find some time for yourself everyday in order to recuperate. We’re not talking about hours here, let’s be realistic, but simply of having a few minutes at a time. It’s the addition of moments that will make all the difference at the end of the day, of the week, and of the month. Obviously, your baby’s naps are precious moments you can use for yourself. But, it’s not necessary to wait for your baby to be asleep to choose to take time for yourself. A bit of reading during a quiet moment, a short meditation while breastfeeding, gentle stretching while your baby is busy discovering his hands or is looking out (passionately!) out the window, some music during bathtime are all great ideas. Planning what you’d like to do and having what you need nearby to get things going will help you not to forget about yourself!

These 5 tips might seem too simple. We’ll admit it, it’s true that they are. It’s so easy when we write them down or read them. On the other hand, applying them in everyday life is something else entirely. To give ourselves the right, to make choices for ourselves, to dare to ask, to rest without guilt, to take the time… These are big challenges for many people! What about you? Can you do it? Would you choose to do these simple things so you can get some peace and quiet in your life as parents?


There is a mountain of information to be found in this Guide on postpartum health from Health Canada.

Would you like to get started on babywearing your newborn? We have an article you’ll like to read.

Do you have questions regarding your baby’s sleep? Here’s something to learn more on the topic.

Chimpäroo’s YouTube channel has a lot of demonstrations on babywearing and general info on the development of babies.