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Postpartum aka the fourth trimester: why is it overlooked?

Written by Brooke Klower | Sunday, 13 December 2020


We all know about the three trimesters of pregnancy, but there is a fourth, often ignored, trimester – postpartum. Yes, we may no longer be internally nourishing our babies in our womb, but we are still externally nourishing them through our milk.

Breastfeeding alone takes a massive toll on our bodies and can lead to osteoporosis if it’s not managed adequately. But first, let’s talk about childbirth.

Whether you’ve had a C-section or vaginal birth, it causes an enormous strain on our bodies. We lose a great deal of blood which equates to a loss of iron, along with magnesium (due to the muscles being worked during childbirth) and B12 (as it’s required for red blood cell development). Yet women are not routinely recommended supplements or nourishing foods as they are when they’re pregnant. To add to this, we then commence breastfeeding which depletes our nutrients stores further. The lack of replaced nutrients after childbirth and during breastfeeding is a common cause of postpartum depletion, anxiety and depression, and also leads to negative baby outcomes such as eczema and food allergies.

So, how do we manage the fourth trimester?

At Balanced Beings, we work with postpartum women to ensure they are replenished and nourished, along with treating common conditions in babies and children. We often use Vitamin D and an omega-3 fatty acid supplement for postpartum depression and anxiety. We also use some great post-partum specific herbs which assist with blood building, anxiety, depression, energy, fatigue, exhaustion and sleep. Further implementation of nutrients to replenish the mother through foods and supplements (if required) is also achieved. Lastly, we work with flower essences if the mother is struggling with over worrying thoughts which commonly occur in postpartum mothers.

We also send off routine 6-week blood tests to ensure nutrients have been adequately restored. Whether you had a baby two months or two years ago you can still be suffering from postpartum depletion, anxiety or depression if your nutrients have not been adequately restored. Do yourself a favour and get your iron, vitamin D, B12 and thyroid (often affected during pregnancy/postpartum) checked at your next visit.

And, as always, please seek help when you need it, replace the vital nutrients your body is screaming for and support your body as you would through pregnancy.

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Brooke Klower

At the young age of 17 years old, fresh out of high school, I began my very daunting chapter at Endeavour College of Natural health. Four and a half years and two babies later I graduated with a Bachelor of Health Science (Naturopathy).

Through my own personal experiences I came to realise the lack of focus on postpartum, babies and children in the natural health industry. There was lack of knowledge and lack of clinicians confident treating this. Forcing me to develop my own knowledge through postpartum and children I came to realise my strengths. I have since opened up my own clinic focussing on women, sexual health and paediatrics.

Read more by Brooke Klower