The Fourth Trimester: What You Need to Know About This Crucial Part of Pregnancy
From the moment you saw those two red lines, you instantly knew that your life was about to change. Pregnancy is a completely new journey where your body goes through a lot of changes to accommodate a growing human being inside you.
Most of us know that there are only three trimesters during a pregnancy. Lasting from weeks 27 to 40, the third trimester is when you’ll feel the heaviest due to the growing baby and your body will also begin to prepare for delivery. And by each passing day delivery time arrives and you prepare to bring your baby into the world. But according to Dr. Harvey Karp, the first three months of a baby’s life after birth should be named as the fourth trimester.
This is due to the fact that babies are actually born before they want to. Dr. Karp explained that if they had it their way, babies would choose to spend a few extra months inside. So in the first three months after birth, babies should be treated as fetuses outside the womb.
But what exactly does the fourth trimester mean and what are the things that you should know about it?
The importance of the fourth trimester for your baby
Your baby is extra fragile during the first three months after birth and he will rely on you for everything—from feeding to caring—because he only has his reflexes and instincts to control his movement and behavior. During this stage, your baby’s senses are still developing, which means that he still has blurred vision and she might not have clear hearing yet.
Being out of the womb can also be an overwhelming experience for your baby since he is now out in a more open space rather than in the snug and comfort of your womb. This is why your baby needs all the support and help as he goes through these changes during the first few months of life.
The biggest developments of your baby during the fourth trimester
In the first three months after birth, you will most likely see these developments in your baby:
Newborns sleep a lot during the fourth trimester, but they don’t have a concept of night and day yet, which is why it will take time for them to settle into a proper sleeping routine.
Here’s the truth; your baby will cry more during the fourth trimester than on any other time in his life, and it’s completely normal. Since your baby still won’t have a fixed routine during this time, it’s okay to feed or soothe him whenever he starts crying.
On average, your baby will need to feed at least eight times within 24 hours. This is because he has a small stomach, which means that he needs to feed little and often. You won’t produce as much milk right away. But that small amount of colostrum is important because it is packed with nutrients for your baby. Remember that quantity is not as important since your baby’s tummy is the size of a marble. After 3-5 days, you should expect your milk production to increase significantly.
As you spend more time with your baby, you’ll get to learn cues from him like opening his mouth or sucking his fingers to signal that he needs to feed.
Your baby needs you the most during the first three months of his life. As he adjusts to the world outside of your womb, he will go through an amazing journey of discovering things and developing his senses, which are crucial for his survival.
The best thing that you can do is be with him, be sensitive to his cues and always let him feel that you’re there for him. Babies are amazing human beings, after all, and your little one will surely appreciate all your support and love as he goes through the fourth trimester.
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