The Fourth Trimester of Pregnancy – Getting Comfortable In the World outside the Womb

Until delivery, the baby in the womb is living in a perfect environment. Through the stages of pregnancy, tightly cocooned in a warm and comforting place with no challenges, the baby feels every heartbeat of the mother. Suddenly, coming out of the womb in all new atmosphere is nothing less than a new experience for a newborn. Your newly born baby is unable to fend for herself, hence you have to be well prepared to protect your baby against the harsh surroundings.

Here also arises a need for a gentle adjustment in their new world which can make a huge difference to how a baby feels and how the parents cope with the parenthood. When the baby cries, it is an indication of some sort of discomfort and remember, they will not stop crying until their needs are met. This is a beginning of the parenthood and gradually, the parents start realizing what exactly the crying of a baby means.

A perfect fourth trimester (which is also referred as the extended third trimester when the baby is born), can be fun and enjoyable, provided managed properly. With the following ways, recreate the womb-like out-of-womb life for your baby in the fourth trimester:

  • Babywearing: Babywearing is a practice of wearing or carrying your baby in a sling or in any other form of carrier. Babywearing can be done either by the father or the mother and it recreates the same conditions for the babies as when they were in the womb. Baby feels more comfortable and cozy near to the mother’s heartbeat and feels tightly supported. Experts also say that wearing your baby results in less baby crying. However, before you opt for the babywearing options, make sure that the carrier you choose is safe and comfortable for the baby. Front ‘pouch’ style, outward facing carriers are not recommended as they put weight on babies spine and not good for baby’s body. Mostly, new moms prefer Hugabub as babies feel more cozy and close.
  • Breastfeeding: From the moment the baby is born, he/she becomes familiar with breastfeeding. It provides them a feeling of comfort and security. In the early weeks, it’s the time when the milk supply is establishing. The baby wants the feed more often as to re-fill the fast-emptying tummy. This is also an indication that the baby is feeling more comfortable and getting attached to the mother. So, breastfeeding plays an important role to create a comfortable environment for the newborn.
  • The skin to skin tender touch: Skin to skin touch or completely naked/no wrap contact is divine with numerous health benefits for the newborn as well as for the mother. This is considered as one of the best methods that help breastfeeding. Skin to skin contact also enhances oxytocin hormones, which builds love and bonding between the mother and the baby. Following are some of the benefits that skin to skin contact offers to the newborn:
    • Baby is less likely to cry.
    • It is an indication to the mother that the baby wants the breastfeed.
    • It maintains the body temperature of the newborn.
    • It maintains the heart rate and respiratory rate of the baby.
    • It brings the blood pressure levels normal.
    • It helps the baby to latch on comfortably.

Doctor’s encourage skin to skin contact just after an hour of the baby’s birth. It is believed that weighing and measuring of the newborn is not as important as the skin to skin touch for a lifetime attachment. Snuggle up to your naked baby and experience the feeling of a lifetime.

  • Bed-Sharing or Co-Sleeping: It is another method to make your baby feel cozy in the new environment. Bed sharing or co-sleeping also includes cots which are attached to the side of the mother’s bed. This also provides a safe space for the baby and he/she can sleep in safety knowing that the mother is close by. The baby can smell the mum and can even touch her and mother can also sleep well and ensure her much needed rest. The fourth trimester is the best time when you can ignore the outer world and can fully concentrate on what your baby needs.
    It has been found that due to sleep deprivation and lack of rest, new moms suffer from anxiety and depression. So, ensure your sound sleep and take care of yourself, all you new moms!
  • It’s time to take a bath: A nice warm bath is loved by the babies during the fourth trimester, but there are many newborns who don’t enjoy cold or air on their naked bodies. As they grow they start loving it. Usually, new moms are not confident on how to hold a baby in a bath. You can always ask gynecologists, midwives or maternal health nurses to give a demonstration on how to give a bath to the newly born. If you are still not sure, take a nice warm bath with your baby. This will create a soothing environment and will increase the bonding between the baby and the mother. New dads should also take a warm bath with their babies to develop the feeling of attachment.
  • Swaddling a baby: It is one of the best ways to create a sense of security during the fourth trimester, and to increase the feeling for the baby that she is still in the womb. Swaddling is also an excellent method to settle the baby who cries less and can get a sound sleep. While wrapping your baby, parents should be extra careful. Do not wrap your baby too tightly. And for an appropriate swaddle method, ask your doctor to demonstrate.
  • Hammock you baby: Hammock is another way where babies feel more settled and can sleep for longer hours in the fourth trimester of pregnancy. Babies love the feeling of being snuggled in a womb-like designed hammock. When the parents gently sway it, babies love the rocking movement.

The journey of nine months through the different stages of pregnancy when the baby is in the womb is no doubt a beautiful, but a somewhat exhausting journey for a would-be mother. So, during the fourth trimester both mum and dad should share the load wherever possible. Both of you should spend quality time with your newborn. This is a tough time for your baby. Providing a comfortable environment and surroundings will ease the newly born and mother through the fourth trimester.

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