With just 2.5 weeks (ish) to go until baby boy is earthside and now that I’m feeling a genuine sense of excitement and curiosity instead of fear about what my body is about to go through, I’ve started to look more into what to expect AFTER baby is here.
One of the benefits of being late to the child-bearing game (aside from all the hand-me-downs!) is the great wisdom other mamas in my circle of family, friends and social connections have to share about their experiences, and one thing I’ve heard a lot about recently is the fourth trimester.
The fourth trimester is essentially the first three months after you baby is born, where you are still healing and recovering and baby is adjusting to life outside the womb. In almost all other cultures, the first 40-60 days after a baby is born is known as a “sitting-in” period or “sacred window”, where the new mother is either cared for by her female relatives at home or at her mother’s house, and the focus is on the new mother feeding and bonding with her baby and resting as much as possible so she can heal while family and friends take care of housework and preparing meals. Sounds amazing, right?
With only 6 weeks left until my due date, I’ve started to think more about to birth experience and what, if anything, I should be doing now to prepare for labour and delivery. Since about week 32 I’ve been reading articles about labour and birth, listening to podcasts, watching YouTube videos of actual births, and read Ina May Gaskin’s Guild to Childbirth. So far nothing about birth is freaking me out or making me feel like I can’t do it; I find the more informed I am, the better I feel about what my body is going to go through.
I think I’m sitting in the middle of how most women feel about birth – some have detailed birth plans and want the experience to be as natural and calm as possible, others just want to get the baby out and have no issues taking all the pain interventions offered. My feeling about it is I want to go as long as possible without intervention (I seem to have a high pain tolerance), but obviously if the baby is in distress or my health is in danger, I’ll be telling them to cut me open and get him out asap.
Back when we announced we were expecting a baby boy this September, the first thing most moms said to me (after congratulations, of course) was “Oh no, you’re going to be so uncomfortable in the summer”.
I mean, you’re going to be uncomfortable by your third trimester anyway — but since your basal body temperature is running higher and your heart is beating faster as your body works hard to grow a tiny human, you’re much warmer than normal. And also sweatier. Which when combined with the necessary extra maternal fat you gain when pregnant, means uncomfortable chafing pretty much everywhere.
Knowing I wanted to try to continue exercising for as long as possible, I started to read up on pregnancy exercise tips and the best products to try to help make sweating it out in the summer a little more tolerable. Here’s what I discovered — let me know if any of you pregnant or new moms have anything to add!