Nutrition Info Just for You

February 27, 2020

The 4th Trimester: How to Manage Your New Normal

You’ve delivered your baby and brought them home. Congratulations! Now what? Welcome to the fourth trimester! While pregnancy lasts for three trimesters, many experts call the period right after birth the fourth trimester. Why? Because it’s a time of big changes for both you and baby, but don’t stress! Keep reading to learn what to expect during the fourth trimester, and get simple tips to help you through this important, sometimes stressful, but fun time. 

What is the 4th Trimester?

The “fourth trimester” is a term for the first three months after your baby is born. During the fourth trimester, your baby is getting used to life outside the womb. It’s a big change for them as they’re thrust into the outside world with all of its sounds, sights and smells. So they will do a lot of growing and  developing in these three short months! Yes, it’s an important time in your baby’s life, but don’t stress! Even first-time parents can nail it during the fourth trimester with just some simple advice. 

Your Baby in the 4th Trimester

During the fourth trimester, your baby will grow from a totally helpless infant into a little baby who’s learning to interact with you and the world. For example, newborn babies have blurry vision and only see black and white patterns. But by the end of the fourth trimester, your baby will be able to recognize your face and smile at you!1 How amazing is that? 

By the end of the fourth trimester, your baby may also be able to:

  • Hold objects
  • Squeal, coo and babble
  • Hold their head up
  • Engage in play

Remember: these are general milestones that babies may reach in the first three months. But every baby is different and develops at their own pace. So don’t sweat it! Check in with your pediatrician if you have questions. 

What to Expect During the 4th Trimester

1. Lots of Crying

It’s not just your imagination. Babies cry a lot in the fourth trimester. And that crying tends to peak around five to six weeks.2  Don’t worry, this is usually very normal! 

To soothe their baby, many parents try to simulate the feeling of being in the womb. This could include skin-to-skin contact (“kangaroo care”), swaddling, babywearing (holding your baby in a sling or holder on the front of your body), and rocking. Experiment to find out what works best for you and what’s most soothing for your baby. You’ll figure it out! 

2. Lots of Sleeping

In the fourth trimester, babies also love to sleep. In fact, many babies have no difficulty falling asleep in situations where lots of adults would find sleep impossible, like in the middle of the day, in a public place, or even through loud noises!

Your baby may not have a sleeping routine yet, and that’s okay. They’ve just spent the last few months living in the womb, so they haven’t adjusted yet to the concepts of day and night! But you’ll both eventually fall into a routine that works for everyone. 

mother african american holding sleeping baby in bed 4th trimester prenatal vitamins vitafusion experience blog

3. Lots of Feedings

It makes sense that tiny little babies have tiny little stomachs. Which is why they need to eat so frequently! As you and your baby to get to know one another, you’ll start to learn their unique little hunger cues that means they want their breakfast (or second breakfast, or third…). Some babies fidget or fuss, while others suck on their fingers, lips or fist.

4. Lots of Changes in Your Body

There’s no doubt about it: becoming a mommy changes your body. We often see images of celebrities who bounce right back to their pre-pregnancy waistline right after birth. Don’t worry about that! Your body will continue to heal and change at its own pace. In the meantime, wear whatever feels comfortable. Want to wear a robe all day or sweatpants out in public? We get it. You do you!

Most importantly: don’t stress! At this age, most babies are still too young to follow a set routine yet. Just go with the flow. Take the time to cuddle and get to know each other. You’re both learning so much and you’re doing great! 

We love sharing our insights about vitamins and health. But that doesn’t mean it should be a substitute for professional medical advice. For that, you should talk to your doctor! 

1 American Pregnancy Association; “First Year Development: Infant Development.” American Pregnancy.
2 St James-Roberts, I; Prim Care. 2008.

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Published by Colleen Welsch

Colleen Welsch has been writing about women's nutrition, health, fitness, and the clean beauty industry for many years. Born and raised in Ohio, Colleen recently returned to the U.S. after spending a year in Spain. In her spare time, Colleen loves traveling and petting dogs.

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