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4 Things to Know About Your Fourth Trimester

Fourth Trimester

4 Things to Know About Your Fourth Trimester

Most people are familiar with trimesters one, two and three. However, there’s also a fourth trimester of pregnancy— - one that no one talks about— - and it’s just as significant to your baby’s development. 

Figuring out the Fourth Trimester in 4 Easy Steps

What is the Fourth Trimester?

Coined by American paediatricians Dr Harvey Karp, the term “Fourth Trimester” is used to describe the first three months of a baby’s life. During this period, babies can expect to be clingy, fussy and very sleepy as they transition into life outside the womb.

Just as your baby is getting used to the outside world, you are also getting used to your new child. The first three months of parenthood are a steep learning curve as you get to grips with everything from swaddling skills to breastfeeding.

While immediate skin-to-skin time has been endorsed by the World Health Organization and is widely recommended for newborns, it’s now believed that skin-to-skin contact can be beneficial for many months into a baby’s life.

The Fourth Trimester Starts With Birth: the Golden Hour

Having your newborn baby placed on your chest for a period of time directly after birth is known as the “Golden Hour”. Studies and research (like this Stanford one) have shown that a baby who maintains skin-to-skin contact with its mother during this period is more likely to latch on to the breast.

If skin-to-skin contact continues for the following hours, days and weeks of your baby’s life - especially during the Fourth Trimester, your baby is not only more likely to breastfeed exclusively and for longer, but will also let you know when they are ready to feed.

100,000 Newborns & Parents Practice Safe Skin-to-Skin (A Fourth Trimester Warning)

The catalyst behind Joeyband™’s launch was when our co-founder, Hayley, dropped her newborn while practicing skin-to-skin. When she failed to find a product that could prevent the same thing from happening again, Hayley realized there was an unmet need for parents looking to practice skin-to-skin. 

The Joeyband™ was invented and patented in the following months. It’s now used in over 300 hospitals across North America, and has helped over 100,000 newborns and parents to bond during safe skin-to-skin care.  

Mom skin to skin fourth trimester


Stop Your Baby’s Constant Crying During the Fourth Trimester with Joeyband™

If your baby won’t stop crying, skin-to-skin contact has been proven to calm parent and baby. It releases hormones that relieve stress and stabilize your baby's temperature, breathing rate, heart rate and blood sugar, while lowering Mom’s stress levels and promoting healing.

Babies are 12 times less likely to cry when experiencing skin-to-skin, and the elasticated material and simple design of the Joeyband™ means that no straps, buckles or clips will dig into you or your baby while you enjoy this closeness.

Your Postpartum Blues During the Fourth Trimester

Postpartum baby blues are extremely common, affecting around 4 in 5 postpartum Moms. Rearing their head at around the second or third day after giving birth, the baby blues are a formidable combination of hormonal changes and lack of sleep. Lasting up to two weeks, new Moms may experience bouts of sadness, anxiety, stress, and mood swings.

The good news is that practicing skin-to-skin can help, as it releases a hormone called beta-endorphin. This works like a mild painkiller, helping new parents to feel calmer and more relaxed. Oxytocin is also released, the brain’s “feel-good” hormone that promotes both bonding and breastfeeding in the first hours after birth, right through the Fourth Trimester and beyond. 

Books About the Fourth Trimester

  • Kimberly Ann Johnson’s The Fourth Trimester
  • New York Times’ A Survival Guide for the Fourth Trimester
  • Dr. Janet A. Williams’ Transitions 4th Trimester Journal

  • Are you expecting a baby, or maybe you have a newborn? Follow us on Facebook or Instagram, or subscribe to our newsletter for our latest news and updates, or for more useful, baby-handling knowledge from our experienced Joeyband™ team.