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What is trimester 4 and why do we call it the fourth trimester?

During the pregnancy, the medical staff focus on the pregnancy itself, the mother, and the newborn baby’s health. This is especially true during the last month of the pregnancy as it is filled with many visits to the health care provider to allow for the mother and the baby’s health to be closely monitored. These visits are taken over after pregnancy by a pediatric healthcare provider monitoring the child’s health and wellbeing.

The term trimester 4

Trimester 4 is a term coined by a pediatric physician and scientist named Harvey Karp. He claims that we are born one trimester too early. The first 3-4 months after pregnancy shall be seen as an elongation of every pregnancy when it comes to the child’s need for attention and ability to develop. This also holds true for the new mother.

The coming period can become overwhelming

The mother is often followed up with limited visits to the healthcare provider 6-8 weeks after the pregnancy. Many women experience confusion as to where they should turn to during the fourth trimester. The focus is often shifted from previously being pregnant to having a newborn baby. This can lead to an intense period where the mother’s health and well-being is at high risk of becoming deprioritized. It is a demanding period, often leading to insomnia and an emotional roller coaster. At the same time, the body is supposed to heal and recover.

You have the right to support when you need it

Many people express that it is hard to define what is “normal” and what is not. This is a time of adaptation, recovery, healing and building connection. You and your body need to recover after pregnancy and giving birth. To call this period the fourth trimester is an attempt to show that the need for healthcare and support doesn’t end after the pregnancy. The body, mind, and overall well-being among women still is going through changes and healing during this time period. Therefore, we wish to bring this period to your attention and give you the support you need.

Sources: - Socialstyrelsen (april 2017). Vård efter förlossning. - Socialstyrelsen (november 2019). Gravida och nyförlöstas situation och behov.