The Fourth Trimester and Postpartum Care

The fourth trimester is the baby’s transition to being outside of the womb during the 12 weeks immediately following birth.

One-reason parents often find themselves hustling to find a postpartum doula after the baby has been born is they’re having challenges coping with the changes brought by the fourth trimester.

A healthy infant’s goal is survival and it’s a 24-hour job meeting these needs, which are especially challenging when it’s the middle of the night, you’re exhausted and your baby is communicating in one of the only ways they know how: crying.

fourth trimester


Common challenges include, but are not limited to:

1. Newborns often have their days and nights mixed up, so you might see them fall into a pattern of resting more during the day and waking more to feed at night.

2. Intermittent growth spurts during the first 12 weeks of life, they usually last 2-3 days and baby can appear fussy, hard to settle and feed more often.

3. Baby will only sleep while being held and wakes as soon as you put them down in their bassinet or crib.

4. Doing everything to comfort your baby, checking the diaper, feeding, cuddling, and making sure their clothing is comfortable, the room temperature is appropriate, and they still will not settle into sleep easily.

5. Parental sleep deprivation: getting less uninterrupted sleep per night than what is recommended for your body to function optimally.

By having a postpartum doula, parents receive assistance with understanding their baby’s cues accurately. They gain the tools necessary to meet their baby’s needs with confidence, which helps the entire family to be happier and better rested.

Reference: The Fourth Trimester: Understanding, Protecting, and Nurturing an Infant through the First Three Months by Susan Brink