8 in 10 new mums say they were unprepared for recovery after childbirth

8 in 10 new mums say they were unprepared for recovery after childbirth
  • New research by maternal health brand Lansinoh, reveals that 79% of mums said they were unprepared for the postpartum period, also known as the Fourth Trimester
  • 75% of new mums say they were not prepared for the physical pain and recovery in the Fourth Trimester
  • 87% of new mums did not plan for their recovery post birth

New research [1] released by maternal health brand, Lansinoh has revealed that a shocking eight in 10 new mums feel they were not fully prepared for their own recovery post childbirth.

Data [2] reports that 85% of women will sustain some form of perineal trauma during vaginal delivery, yet despite this, Lansinoh’s research revealed that an alarming 75% felt they were not prepared for the physical pain and recovery that came with the ‘fourth trimester’.

A further 87% of new mums admitted they had not made a plan for their recovery post-birth.

The research has been released as part of Lansinoh’s latest campaign, which aims to open up the conversation around the under-discussed fourth trimester period.

When it comes to the understanding of the ‘fourth trimester’ period, half of mums [3] believed this related to the new-born baby, as opposed to the mother’s recovery.

The most commonly-used words that mums used in relation to the fourth trimester were ‘painful’, ‘challenging’, ‘overwhelming’, ‘hard’ and ‘lonely’.

As part of the research, 62% of new mums admitted that, looking back, they felt they had unrealistic expectations for their recovery after giving birth. Meanwhile 83% said they would recommend to new mums to increase preparation for their own recovery.

Becca Maberly, author and pregnancy and postnatal expert, said: “Many of the women I speak to were not prepared for the fourth trimester. Many had not even heard of it which is so upsetting to hear because it is just as important as, maybe even more so, than the other 3 trimesters.

“As well as educating women and their partners about how to stay happy and healthy during their pregnancy and teaching about their birth options and pain relief, we need to make sure that we are preparing women for what happens after the baby arrives.

“We need to be honest about what it is like and we need to nudge new parents towards an acceptance that it may not be all cuddles and beautifully photographed moments. We need to find a way to be realistic without scaremongering and give new parents the emotional and physical support for what is often the hardest part of the whole journey- finding a new normal.”

Marley Hall, registered midwife and antenatal educator, added: “Having a baby is amazing but it can also be overwhelming. The birth, lack of sleep and the new responsibility of having a new-born can really take its toll on you both physically and emotionally. But if parents educated themselves on the fourth trimester during pregnancy, it can ease the shock a little.

“Any wounds you may have received as a result of birth – whether these are perineal or c-section wounds, will be healing and may be sore. Postpartum bleeding can also go on for several weeks too as the placental site starts to heal over. You may even experience ‘after pains' where the uterus continues to contract after the birth to reduce its size.”

“As expectant mums, we are so focused on preparing for the baby that we often forget about our own well-being and birth recovery,” said Lisa Craven, Marketing Manager at Lansinoh Laboratories UK Ltd

“Perineal trauma during childbirth is such a common problem, and yet there is a worrying lack of conversation around the issue. This lack of conversation means that new mums aren’t fully aware of how to prepare for the fourth trimester, but also their own recovery during this period – which may leave them with unrealistic expectations of their own recovery after giving birth.

“We’re hoping that by opening up these conversations around preparing for birth and the fourth trimester, more mums will feel encouraged to discuss their own experiences and think about their own care too and in turn, help new mums to prepare fully their own post-birth recovery.”

Lansinoh has also carried out extensive research into the impact of birth related injury and pain on breastfeeding outcomes. In a survey of 1,000 mums, 71% of new mums experienced discomfort or pain while breastfeeding. 1 in 4 of these mums reported that pain relating to their birth directly impacted their ability to breastfeed [3]. To help support new mums during postnatal recovery, Lansinoh has launched its NEW Birth Preparation & Recovery range, an essential collection of products which can be used as a four-step routine to help avoid discomfort during and after birth. The new range features an Organic Pre-Birth Preparation Oil, Organic Post-Birth Relief Spray, Cold & Warm Post Birth Relief Pad, and Post-Birth Wash Bottle.

[1] Research conducted in April 2021, consisting of 250 mums across the UK

[2] WEBB S, SHERBURN M and ISMAIL KHALED MK (2014) Managing perineal trauma after childbirth BMJ 349;g6829. [3] Research conducted via Instagram in May 2021, consisting of 169 responses

[3] UK survey involving 1000 women (Bourdillon et al 2020)

 

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