The ins and outs of surviving the 4th Trimester
Written by Shannon Stokes AKA @mums_bubs_nutritionist
Since I will be experiencing my forth trimester soon and I have a lot of mumma followers that are pregnant, I have asked for some nutritional information and some basic survival technicques from naturopath Shannon Stokes from Mums and Bubs Nutrition Clinic. She is a mum herself to two littleys and has survived (just) the 4th trimester twice.
Take it away Shannon…
The journey to becoming pregnant is a magical one. Its either a ‘surprise’ I am here type scenario, a long awaited and joyous time. The journey itself is nuts! Pregnancy is a whole other kettle of fish, a completely natural yet unnatural experience. Getting pregnant, staying pregnant and just being pregnant is an insane journey, and that is just the beginning.
You are a mumma! Congratulations, baby is here you have been through a marathon of hurdles, a tonne of happy gas, 9 epidural attempts, a vacuum delivery, 12 different hands up your clacker at once, an episiotomy or 9th degree tear. You now have that little bundle of joy in your arms. Perhaps you are feeling those kooky love spell feelings straight away, or perhaps you think, oh jesus what have I done? All totally normal feelings. I remember thinking oh, he’s not very cute, in fact he is a bit strange looking and gee my vagina is killing…. me where are those frozen condoms at, all in the same breath!
… All of that aside, baby is here and it’s a whirlwind few days in the beginning.
How does one survive through this sleep deprivation? The healing of the whole birth thing is one thing, but then perhaps breastfeeding is hurting like a bugger and you have grazed nipples or sterilizing a bottle seems to take forever and a day at 3am. You aren’t alone, this period is earth shatteringly exhausting, scary and exciting all rolled into one. Cue the 4th Trimester! So mumma, whilst we learn to look after this babe ( I am happy to leave that to the never ending advice from the mum tribe, in-laws and experts) I am here to help YOU make some tiny changes in your day to keep you thriving.
It starts with you and ends with you. Everything else in between is that tiny babies’. Upon your first morning wake up, (ok, so the first moment you get up for the day) refresh your self with a big glass of filtered water, and take a deep breath. That’s it for now. No matter what is happening, this is a must! Then tick it off daily as it is non-negotiable.
Below are some of my favourite 4th trimester survival guidelines for all new mums and even dads.
1. Do NOT stop your multi, infact this is a time to ensure your nutritional status is up with that of the very best it has ever been. Even if you aren’t breastfeeding.
2. Eat foods rich in good fats, think avocado, coconut oil, nuts seeds, oily fish such as sardines, salmon, qood quality extra virgin olive oil drizzled on eeeeeevvvverything.
3. Make sure you are having macronutrients with each meal and at least a palm size portion of protein at each meal. (macronutrients are the essential nutrients needed in large amounts to sustain energy and basic health. The 3 macros are Protein, Fats and Carbohydrates)
4. Take a quality probiotic daily
5. Don’t focus on trying to lose the baby weight, give yourself a break.
6. Ask for things, I wish I did this more with my first. Ask for help! (you can’t get away with asking for washing to be folded and home cooked meals to be dropped when they are 3.. dammit)! Even ask for a box of nappies to be dropped off. Use that ‘new mum’ thing a little..
7. Say no! if you aren’t up for visitors then say no, if you aren’t up for your cousins and nephews coming over and running a muck, just say no, but don’t feel guilty or think twice about it, they will understand…. And If they dont then.. meh… they will get over it.
8. Accept that some days are bad and some days are good, ebs and flows ladies, mountains and rivers.
9. Spend 5 minutes a day with your legs up the wall, relax those hips and lower back, take 10 deep breaths. (Again, non-negotiable)
10. Spend 10 minutes a day minimum outside in bright morning day light to ensure your body knows its day time and to help regulate those sleep /wake hormones
11. Don’t feel guilty, if you want to look at your phone while feeding bubs, do it. If you want to stay in bed, do it. If watching Oprah is your jam, do it, indulge a little and enjoy doing it. Stop feeling guilty. Guilty feelings radiate negative energy. If it has been a few weeks in a row then, maybe ask for a little help from a loved one and reach out if you are doing it tough… remember its all of those crazy hormones doing crazy things.
12. If you aren’t coping, reach out. You will be surprised to know that a lot of mothers find the fourth trimester insanely hard. No matter who you are, how together you think everyone is, its not the case. Speak up and your tribe will answer.
Enjoy those long loving stares into your babies eyes, explore their features and be fascinated with the whole process.. this too shall pass and then all of a sudden it’s a Tuesday night and you are writing about how to cope through the 4th trimester to a friend in need. Everyone struggles and if you think that its all too much, please reach out. It does get easier and it does get better. Trust me, I never thought I would see past the sleep deprivation either.
Thank you so much Shannon for your time if you wish to contact Shannon or learn more about her, her details are as follows.
Thank you for reading x