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Fourth Trimester

Diapers aren’t the only changes that come with a newborn.

The first 12 weeks after having a baby are a time for adjustment and recovery. They call it the fourth trimester for a reason, after all. It’s an acknowledgment that your life and your body continue to change after giving birth. Some of those changes are physical (buh-bye bump!). Others are mental, emotional and social. You may notice your blood pressure is higher than usual. Or you might have vaginal bleeding that hasn’t improved. Or maybe you’re experiencing depression, anxiety or intrusive thoughts that affect your well-being. These things can happen. But you won’t be alone for any of it.

Cleveland Clinic’s skilled healthcare providers are here to help you through all your post-pregnancy ups and downs. We’ll give you personalized care and support as you navigate those first weeks after having your baby (postpartum care). We’ll answer your questions. And together, we’ll tackle any challenges that come your way, so you can feel your best as you and your baby adjust to your new normal.

Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Fourth Trimester Care?

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Personalized care:

From the time you’re just thinking about having a baby to well after you give birth, Cleveland Clinic is there for you and your entire family. We offer care and support that’s focused on your needs and goals so you can recover and get off to a great start with your newest family member. Meet our team.

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Demonstrated expertise:

Each year, Cleveland Clinic delivers more than 10,000 babies and gives expectant parents the care and support they need throughout their entire pregnancy journey and beyond.

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National recognition:

Cleveland Clinic is a trusted healthcare leader. We’re recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for our expertise and care.

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Virtual visits:

Sometimes, it can be hard to get to your provider’s office for a checkup when you have a newborn. Cleveland Clinic’s virtual visits are an easy alternative to some in-person appointments. You’ll get the same great care but from the comfort of your sofa or favorite chair.

What To Expect in the Fourth Trimester

Just when you thought the “trimesters” of your pregnancy were over, you find out there’s a brand new one that comes after your baby is born. The fourth trimester is the “getting used to it all” period — feedings, bath time, sleepless nights and an overflowing diaper bag. Adding a baby to your life is a big adjustment — even if it’s not your first. And this is all happening while you’re healing from pregnancy and delivery.

The fourth trimester can also bring other changes and challenges, too. Some might be physical — maybe you have vaginal bleeding that hasn’t lessened, or you’ve noticed that your blood pressure is higher than it normally is. And some might be emotional — the “baby blues” are a real thing. It’s normal to feel anxious, run down or even depressed sometimes after birth.

But no matter what you’re feeling, you can count on us to help you get through it. You’re never alone.

Meet Our Fourth Trimester Care Team

Our team of post-pregnancy experts will help you recover from childbirth and navigate the changes and challenges that come with caring for a newborn, while also taking care of yourself. Depending on your concerns and goals, you may meet with:


Our healthcare providers see patients at convenient locations throughout Northeast Ohio and Florida.

Getting Fourth Trimester Care at Cleveland Clinic

Some medical issues that creep up during pregnancy or your fourth trimester can affect your health over time. Others can just make you feel run down, tired or not quite yourself. And it’s important to check in and keep getting care for any chronic (ongoing) health issues, too.

We’ve got that all covered. You’ll have follow-up appointments with your Cleveland Clinic fourth trimester healthcare provider after you deliver your baby. We’ll check on you to make sure you’re feeling OK. That you’re adjusting well. That your questions get expert answers.

And if you need a little more help, that’s OK. You’ll get it. Fast. So you can get back to enjoying your life and your baby.

Your Cleveland Clinic fourth trimester experts are here to help with things like:

Your physical health

Your body went through a lot of changes during pregnancy and worked hard during labor and delivery. And there will be more changes coming after delivery, too. Your body is healing. And the postpartum care team at Cleveland Clinic will make sure you’re recovering well.

If you had a vaginal delivery, your team will make sure any bruises, stitches or cuts are on the mend. If you had a C-section, they’ll make sure your incision (cut) is clean and healing like it should.

You can also talk with your team about:

Your provider will also check your blood pressure for signs of postpartum preeclampsia. If you’re breastfeeding (chestfeeding), they’ll ask about any troubles with milk production, engorgement or clogged milk ducts. Your healthcare provider can go over your postpartum birth control options, too, if you’re interested.

Bring your questions (even that one about trouble pooping or peeing). Your team has heard it all, so don’t be too embarrassed to ask.

Your mental health

If you’re feeling tired, weepy, sad or anxious on and off for a couple of weeks after giving birth, know that you’re not alone. Your hormones are changing. You probably aren’t sleeping enough. And while having a new baby can be amazing at times, it can also be very stressful. It’s a big change in your life, and it’s not unusual to feel overwhelmed sometimes.

But if the “baby blues” don’t go away or your once-mild symptoms get worse and stay that way, your fourth trimester provider will be there to help.

It could be that you’re developing postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety and need treatment. Trying to manage these conditions yourself can lead to something more serious, like postpartum psychosis, which can be very dangerous for you and your family. If you’re always feeling overwhelmed, like you’re not bonding with your baby or having thoughts of harming yourself or others, reach out to your provider right away. Your team will take your concerns seriously and get you the help you deserve.

It’s OK not to feel right, but it’s important to ask for help. Be honest when you’re talking with your provider. Tell them about all the thoughts and symptoms you’re having. They’re here to support you and find the right personalized treatments — like talk therapy or medications — to get you back to feeling like yourself again.

Urgent concerns

You’ll meet for scheduled appointments with your fourth trimester team between two and 12 weeks after delivering your baby. But some concerns shouldn’t wait for a routine check-in. The experts at Cleveland Clinic will be ready to help you with urgent postpartum concerns, too, like:

  • Very heavy bleeding.
  • Significant cramping or abdominal pain.
  • Severe headaches.
  • Complications with tears or incisions.
  • Frequent peeing or burning when you pee.
  • Leg pain.
  • Chest pain or trouble breathing.
  • Breast pain or burning.
  • Lasting sadness or thoughts of hurting yourself or others.

If you’re having any of these symptoms, or if something just “doesn’t feel right,” reach out right away. Sometimes what seems like a big problem really isn’t. But sometimes it is. And it’ll give you peace of mind to know. Our experts are here to help you with any concerns, big and small.

Navigating Postpartum Life

An important part of getting into the groove with your newborn is settling into a new routine. That’s not as easy as it sounds. We can help with advice and encouragement as you get to know your baby and get settled in.

We can offer advice on anything you need, like:

  • What to expect from post-delivery life.
  • Tips for caring for your baby.
  • Ways to get more sleep.
  • Safe ways to exercise.
  • How to follow a sensible diet.
  • The importance of setting boundaries with family and friends, when needed.
  • How to ask for help when you need it.
  • Ways to make time for your partner to keep your relationship strong.

Taking the Next Step

Continuing to get care in the fourth trimester is just as important as all that prenatal care you had while you were pregnant. You’ve added a new (and very needy) member to your household, and you’re also in recovery mode yourself. It’s a lot. You don’t have to do it alone. Our experts are here to help. We’ll provide support as you and your newborn get to know each other and start your life together. And if anything comes up along the way, we’ll be by your side — helping you be as healthy as possible as you get to know your newest family member.

Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s fourth trimester care experts is easy. We’ll help you get the care you need.


Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s fourth trimester care experts is easy. We’ll help you get the care you need.

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