The common belief is that pregnancy lasts 9-10 months (or 40 weeks), but really we should all just tack on an extra three months.
Sure, your baby is no longer in the womb, but they have the big adjustment of being on the outside and your body goes through a lot of changes too. So, the first three months after birth have been appropriately name “the fourth trimester.”
What should you expect in the fourth trimester?
A lot of women don’t realize how difficult this phase is, so between the unexpected challenges and ever-changing hormones, it’s common for new moms to experience symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD) or at least “baby blues.”
The National Institute of Mental Health reports that approximately 15 percent of new moms struggle with PPD and 80 percent with “baby blues.”
It’s very important to talk to your OB, your general doctor, or a therapist if you’re dealing with mood swings, panic attacks or other irregular symptoms. Don’t wait too long because you’re not helping yourself or your baby by not getting the support you need.
Even though it’s tempting to focus on so many other things, do your best to focus on taking care of your newborn and taking care of yourself. That’s a lot of responsibility all by itself and you’re succeeding as a mom if you can do those two things in a day.
If you’re struggling with your mental health during the fourth trimester, consider a PDD screening.