The fourth trimester is a time for healing.
Finding time and motivation to workout can be hard, and even harder after having babies! It’s easy to get discouraged with negative thoughts, but rather than feed them – try focusing on taking care of yourself after giving birth.
Lindsay Newman, a postpartum exercise specialist and health practitioner, shares how to workout for the fourth trimester—the phase after childbirth when a mother’s body undergoes extensive recovery.
Find more advice from Lindsay on Instagram, @lindscnewman.
5 Myths About Fitness in the Fourth Trimester
Lindsay, a mom of four herself, acknowledges the negative thoughts that many postpartum women have. Feelings of a “broken” body and the misconception that nothing will work are common challenges. In response, she advocates for a shift in focus from despair to self-care.
Understanding the Fourth Trimester: A Time for Healing
While the first three trimesters are widely recognized, the fourth, Lindsay explains, is an important but underappreciated phase. The body is still adapting after childbirth—blood volume normalizing, uterus size readjusting, and hormones shifting. Lindsay stresses that this period is emotionally taxing, with new moms grappling not only with their own recovery but also the responsibility of caring for a newborn.
It might feel contrary to what you’d want to do, but Lindsay encourages women to start moving their bodies as soon as they receive the green light post-birth. She says that the process isn’t just about returning to exercise; it’s about actively rehabilitating a body that has undergone significant changes.
“We’re trying to rehab a body that’s been really changed posturally. All these muscles have had to move and adapt and make way for baby. There’s a lot of moving parts that really get looked over, so we have to initiate rehab pretty early on,” Lindsay says.
Breaking Down Postpartum Fitness Misconceptions
Lindsay shares some misconceptions women tell themselves after giving birth and provides empowering alternatives.
1. Nothing I try will work
- Reality: Keep working at it. Find a system or regimen and work smarter, not harder.
2. My body is broken
- Reality: The postpartum transition is a healing time. Rather than viewing it as a period of inadequacy, Lindsay suggests generously giving yourself the care you need for recovery.
3. I’ll never feel as good as I did before kids
- Reality: Lindsay, a mother of four, says that with dedication, you can feel even better post-babies. Invest in goals, learn from failures, and progress toward feeling your best.
4. I can’t lose weight after babies.
- Reality: Weight loss shouldn’t be the immediate focus. Prioritize basics like whole foods, adequate sleep, and gentle movement. Weight loss may follow naturally as the body heals.
5. I don’t have the genetics
- Reality: While genetics play a role, lifestyle choices significantly impact your outcomes. Lindsay emphasizes that lifestyle choices can modify genetic outcomes to a certain extent.