When watching videos online of other parents talk about the 4th trimester they always made it sound like it was worse than pregnancy and giving birth combined. I knew there would be a ton of healing involved and I would be on a much slower pace (though I was already “doing less” in the last few weeks of my pregnancy as it was hard to even walk from room to room). I wanted to make sure, for me, the 4th trimester wasn’t a nightmare or something to be feared. Yes, I expected some physical pain and other limitations but I wanted to put together some items beforehand to make the 4th trimester a lot easier to get through.
I wanted to enter the 4th trimester knowing that 1) it wouldn’t be easy, and 2) I would get through it. Healing myself after 39 weeks of pregnancy was something I was very much looking forward to doing. In my last few weeks of being pregnant I could barely walk from room to room without feeling like I had just run a full marathon; I was always panting every time I walked anywhere. And the nerve pain in my left leg only got worse as the weeks went on. I was mentally ready for the 4th trimester (I was very much ‘over’ being pregnant) but I knew I would need some help to get through it physically.
Here’s how I Prepared for and Survived the 4th Trimester
- Postpartum essentials were fully socked and ready to go in both my bathrooms. At first this included adult diapers, witch hazel sheets, peri bottle, ice pads, and overnight pads. As the weeks go by however, the items will change to suit my needs for the time but basically I always have things ready for myself.
- Freezer meals. Just simple meals I put together before my induction date for the days when I really don’t feel like cooking. Being able to throw something in the oven has been so incredibly helpful… I might make up a few more just in case.
- Grab and go snacks and quick meals. I make sure to stock up on protein bars and pre-made smoothie kits. I expect I’ll have days when nothing seems to go right and I only have a few minutes to myself to eat.
- Outfits. I was very aware I wouldn’t be back to my pre-pregnancy size the day I got home from the hospital but I was really, really looking forward to wearing my regular clothes again. I missed them very much! Near the end of my third trimester, I decided to put some outfits together as a way to get excited about the fact I would soon be on the other side of the hill, so to speak, and to take my mind off any physical pain I was still feeling. I have to admit, so this has actually helped. Yes, there’s pain but I know it’s only temporary and soon I’ll be back to my much-loved, and hardly worn, pre-baby clothes.
- A postpartum “all about me” kit. This is something I also put together near the end of my pregnancy. There were items I very much missed being able to use while pregnant (in fact, I’m still waiting to add retinol back into my skincare routine once I’ve stopped nursing). These included, teeth whitening strips and my go-to vitamin C serum. I also bought a belly band and started wearing that the day I got home from the hospital, a hair serum (to try and take a proactive approach to the dreaded postpartum hair loss) and a bottle of a heavy bodied red wine.
- Dedicated workout area for when I got the “all clear” at my 6 week postpartum appointment. I plan to start out doing a program called Revive from Anna Victoria’s Fit Body app (I wrote a review on this app but it’s had a major upgrade since and now includes additional trainers, as well as pregnancy and postpartum workout plans). It’s a postpartum recovery workout plan (though “workout” is not really the right word). It’s all about rebuilding your core and pelvic floor strength but in a very low-intensity way.
- And lastly, always making sure I had two of the big three done: hair, makeup, outfit. This is an attempt to reclaim myself after pregnancy, a time where your body feels like it’s not yours at all. If you read my post on my goals for 2022, you’ll know I am going to try really hard to keep a part of my independent self, or pre-baby self, and doing small things like wearing a little bit of blush and mascara seems to really help with that.