What is the 4th Trimester?
I was first introduced to the idea of “4th Trimester” three years ago. To be honest, I don’t remember how I became aware of it (probably my partner/co-owner of OptimaLiving, Linda…she knows EVERYTHING and is constantly reading and researching). The concept of there being a 4th Trimester is intriguing and genius, but imagine my excitement (ok, and smugness) when I learned the concept was conceived at none other than my alma mater! The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (go Tarheels!) is the birthplace of research and community outreach regarding postpartum care. According to their website, “The 4th Trimester Project brings together new moms, birth workers, health care providers, researchers, public health professionals, community leaders, and other stakeholders from across the U.S. to identify unmet postpartum health needs, build knowledge, and create solutions.” Here is a link to their website if you’re curious about learning more.
The idea of the 4th Trimester is that our journey of growing and birthing a baby does not end when we give birth. It does not just consist of 9 months and end in the big event. Our bodies go through a period of healing, striving for homeostasis. We adjust to our new role; all of this takes place during the "trimester" after birth, or the "4th Trimester."
Why is this needed
The best part? This “movement” or recognition of there being a fourth trimester has really taken hold! In fact, we are fortunate enough to have a 4th Trimester Arizona! Their website describes themselves as “…an organization of families, health professionals, educators and local businesses that honors, supports and empowers all families of Arizona during their transition to parenthood and beyond. We do this through the production of community events, such as support groups, as well as the 4th Trimester Conference, a gathering of over 50 community organizations and over 300 attendees…” Here is their website if you want to read more details.
The organization was developed by Jennie Bever, whose resume boasts an association with ASU as a researcher, as well as a breastfeeding expert. For the last two years, she has done an incredible job of planning and organizing a conference where moms and professionals come together to learn and support one another. For both years, Linda and I have been honored to be invited to speak on the topic of our changing bodies (particularly our core and pelvic floor) during pregnancy, delivery and postpartum. Thank you, 4th Trimester AZ for recognizing this time in a mother’s life and providing an avenue for support, knowledge and resources. Thank you, too, for including us and allowing us to be a part of something so incredible. We look forward to seeing you all at the conference next year!