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The term “the fourth trimester” has become more popular in recent years. It is used to describe the first three months of your newborn’s life; a time when the world as you know it changes beyond recognition. The fourth trimester is a time of a huge amount of joy, but there’s no doubt that the adjustment to life with a newborn can come as a shock.

If you are currently pregnant, the idea of the fourth trimester might seem a very long way away. However, it will be here before you know it. You have spent most of your pregnancy knowing “what to expect when you’re expecting”– but what can you expect for those first three months after you have given birth?

1) It May Take Awhile For Your Body To Adapt From Pregnancy

Due in no small part to endless photographs of celebrities who have “got their body back” after giving birth, many women have unrealistic expectations about how they will look and feel in the fourth trimester.

The reality is that it may take some time for your body to adapt following the birth. While some women do immediately snap back to their pre-body weight, other women may find they actually gain weight after giving birth. You may also experience discomfort in your abdominal muscles and hips, and you may even experience breast pain. Furthermore, if you had a C-section, then the recovery process is even more strenuous.

2) Time Loses All Sense Of Meaning

In those first few months with your new baby, time will become irrelevant. Sometimes, you will feel like time is crawling past, especially during a middle-of-the-night feed when all you want is to get back to bed.

At other times, you’ll feel like life is flashing by you at a rapid pace. Your baby will grow and change hugely in those few first months, so getting newborn pictures taken is something you’ll want to arrange before your baby grows too much. Many new moms find themselves unsure of what day of the week it is; partly thanks to the new all-consuming focus of their child, but also due to the impact of sleep deprivation.

3) You’ll Receive A High Number Of Visitors

If there’s one thing you can guarantee in the fourth trimester, it’s an influx of visitors. This is only natural; all of your friends and family want to be able to meet the new baby, so you will find yourself playing hostess more at this time of your life than any other.

Some parents find it helpful to insist on only scheduled visits during the fourth trimester, rather than allowing well-wishers to call around as they please. This is a great option that you might want to consider; you can schedule your visits around nap times, so your baby will always be awake to greet their adoring visitors.

Now that you have some idea of what the fourth trimester might involve, you can enjoy the rest of your pregnancy and look forward to meeting your little one!