The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions, and Restoring Your Vitality Info

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A guide to help support women through post-partum healing on
the physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual
levels.

This holistic guide offers practical advice to
support women through postpartum healing on the physical, emotional,
relational, and spiritual levels—and provides women with a roadmap
to this very important transition that can last from a few months to a
few years.
Kimberly Ann Johnson draws from her vast professional
experience as a doula, postpartum consultant, yoga teacher, body worker,
and women’s health care advocate, and from the healing traditions
of Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine, and herbalism—as well
as her own personal experience—to
cover
   • how you can prepare your body
for birth;
   • how you can organize
yourself and your household for the best possible transition to
motherhood;
   • simple practices and
home remedies to facilitate healing and restore energy;

   • how to strengthen relationships
and aid the return to sex;

   • learning to exercise safely
postpartum;
   • carrying your baby
with comfort;
   • exploring the
complex and often conflicting emotions that arise postpartum;

   • and much more.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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4.19

696 Ratings

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Ratings and Reviews From Market


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Reviews for The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions, and Restoring Your Vitality:

2

February 10, 2019

Not great
I bought this for concrete information on how to recover from pregnancy. 90% of the book is fluff writing around emotions and such. 5% is concrete guidance on building back your body. The remaining 5% are stories of women that don't really help much. I'm someone who likes facts and action and unfortunately this doesn't have much. 252 pages into it, the author tells you not to do any exercise with running until 6 months postpartum. The only thing she suggests until then is yoga (her profession) or swimming with a kickboard. It also comes across as opinion and not science or from experience of trying different methods. I ended the book feeling like I she just read random advice that strangers will give you when pregnant rather than any substantial guidance.
2

June 21, 2019

I don't think I can call this book helpful
This book has a lot going for it. Clearly, many, many readers have loved and identified with it. I haven't reached the end yet, but wanted to write my review now because I'm not sure I plan to continue. I remember a few years ago, Gwyneth Paltrow was facing loads of criticism for how elite, expensive, impractical, and occasionally ridiculous the advice and items on goop were. Her response was to say hey, goop is an aspirational brand. Even I can't afford everything on our holiday wish list. Even I don't follow all of the advice on here. I'm just putting it out there for people to consider and enjoy.

In many ways, I think if you view the Fourth Trimester through a similar lens, you will come away feeling more at peace with the book. However, as some others have mentioned, I purchased this book with the hopes that it would give me practical, concrete, real world ideas for how to have a healthy (physically and emotionally), balanced postpartum period that would help me recover from birth and enter the world of motherhood in the best way possible. About three quarters of the way in, I think I am going to close the book and move on to other things. I don't plan to throw it away, it will stay on my bookshelf with my other pregnancy and parenting books in case there is something specific I want to reference, but to be quite honest this book has made me more stressed and anxious than anything else.

Like many readers, I am an American woman in 2019. I am not a woman in a rural Asian, African or South American community 150 years ago. The author goes on and on (and on and on and on) about the way these communities support(ed) their new mothers with nutrition, massage, and various other forms of attention, and essentially suggests that we do the same here. But many of us do not live together with our extended families in one neighborhood, and even if we did, we don't live in a culture where it is the norm to ask women to drop everything for a month to support a new mother. Without exception, all of the women I love in my life have very demanding jobs, and the last thing I want to do is to ask these women to drop their other priorities and put me first. The alternatives to essentially having a "tribe" of women take care of you are (1) to figure out how to research and hire a very specific and expensive team of service providers, including postpartum doulas, baby nurses, bodywork professionals, acupuncturists, homeopaths, and the list goes on, and then figure out how to pay for them, or (2) to try to do it all yourself, for yourself, which is essentially doing the opposite of what the book asserts to be the most important thing during the postpartum period, which is to rest and connect with your baby. While the book spends some time admonishing that you should not let your relationship suffer and provides a woo woo worksheet for you to work on with your partner, it mostly ignores the partner (not to mention any other kids or pets a person might have) completely.

So now, I'm left with all of these ideas about what an "ideal" postpartum period would look like, but I have no idea how I could put anything but the absolute basics (eat well, stay warm, try to get others to help you) into practice. And to be clear, I am an upper middle class woman in a major city who has hired a doula, private lactation consultant, and other such luxuries for birth. The assertions of what you "need" in this book for the postpartum period go way beyond such things, to the point that you can only imagine an A list celebrity or royalty even having the resources to find all the resources needed.

Unlike browsing on goop, where I go in with the expectation that I will simply chuckle at the $5,000 face roller made from arctic fox tears, intended to both restore my face to its 22 year-old glory and make me live forever, I went into this book hoping for real tools and real advice. Unfortunately I did not find those here. Two stars though, because perhaps someone else will :)
5

February 12, 2018

Stellar, Inclusive Resource for Women's Health Professionals to Give to Clients, Patients & Students
I train yoga teachers to specialize in prenatal and postnatal yoga. Kimberly's book will now be required reading for our trainees at the Amala School of Prenatal Yoga in Chicago. Nowhere else have I seen such a holistic, comprehensive, forthright and compassionate take on our lives as mothers. She weaves in wisdom from Ayurveda, Yoga, Structural Integration, Traditional Chinese Medicine...and somehow even more than that! I am wholly impressed by this body of work and cannot wait to work with you in the future, Kimberly. Thank you for writing this book and for helping mothers feel blessed by the opportunity not just to have a baby, but to ask for help and to take care of herself. Deep bow! Lela
5

December 29, 2017

Even though I am personally pretty well-versed in mother/baby care value systems
Every mother/to-be and those that support early maternity should read this book! Even though I am personally pretty well-versed in mother/baby care value systems, as somebody who is in the middle of my first pregnancy (which has been riddled with physical and emotional challenges), this book has been like a good friend telling me how it all really is in a calm clear manner - I have shed tears in pure recognition interspersed with note taking and saying out loud "oh good idea!"
This book majorly validates a mother's intuitive knowing (because we really do know these things!) but also helps move that inuition into clear actionable steps to build real, tangible support during this critical time.
I am hesitant to give anyone any parenting advice, especially to new and pregnant mothers, but this book I feel is a must!
I am so grateful this book was written!
3

March 15, 2018

GREAT book, bad personal service.
This book is important. It’s vital to all women- pregnant, postpartum, before pregnancy or even if you never plan to have a child. I’ve gifted it to many many many women and still plan todo so but I would not recommend traveling to see her and paying the outrageous price tag on her appointments. I found her very cold, and for somebody who’s putting themselves inside you- that’s not what you’d like. I felt rushed out at 60 min on the dot, after traveling 4 hours to see her at 5 in the am at 38 weeks pregnant and I don’t believe she educated me on what she was doing or how to progress further in my pregnancy and more importantly while I was in labor, all she said was “now you can download my sessions off my website”. Overall the experience left me feeling bad. Her writings on the other hand are amazing, vital to ones well being and essential to healing. I love the message and her story but after now going through the beautiful journey of pregnancy and birth I feel as if I wasted a day of my life and $300.00.
5

December 26, 2017

Wonderful information at any stage.
I love that I am reading this book as the mother of a 9 and 12 year old and still the material is relatable. I can do the work of the fourth trimester even now with older children. I think that is the way with truth; it withstands the test of time. Kimberly's book is helping me see what steps I can take to view my experience with compassion and continue to heal as I move forward. It's also possible to flip the book open to any part and get a nugget of wisdom or hear another woman's story.
1

May 26, 2018

Pseudoscience like this is so bad for society
Junk science. I'm so relieved that I checked this out from the library and didn't pay money for it. I was trying so hard to give the author the benefit of the doubt, to go at the book with an open mind, etc., even after she said that she went against her doctor's recommendation for pelvic floor surgery and got a miracle cure from a healer in Thailand, even after she started in on her unproven theories about massaging the perinium to magically prepare your vagina for birth, but the last straw was her claim (quoted from another quack) that stretching yout jaw muscles would somehow subconsciously stretch your pelvis for birth. Pseudoscience like this is so bad for society. She uses just enough scientific and anatomical terms to sound like she knows what she's talking about, but she's doing her readers a disservice when she provides misinformation based purely on anecdotal experience and encourages them to question evidence-based medicine. Please talk to a doctor about your birth and don't give money to this woman.
4

April 1, 2018

Your husband is also part of this trimester.
I read this book on my last trimester of our second child and it brought up good conversations with my husband. I love the way it emphasizes that your marriage and relationship with your partner should not be placed in the back burner during this 4th trimester period. I also like the way it is organized, depending on which stage of life you are in. Definitely a good book companion to first forty days.
1

March 5, 2019

Way too hippyish - not helpful!
This book was waaaay too hippy-dippy for me. I’m pretty liberal, but this was irritatingly overboard. Not at all based on science. I was looking for actual facts and guidance...this was like listening to a hippy on the street talk about energy healing and aligning chakras it some ridiculous nonsense.
5

March 16, 2018

But this book!
Where do I begin? This book is everything. I have a one year old and didn’t have this book during my 4th trimester. I will definitely implement this information if I have a second baby. But this book is still so helpful to women at all stages of life. It discusses the importance of self-care, prioritizing ourselves, asking for help and support, knowing we can do everything)but we don’t have to and efinitely don’t have to do it alone. I am a sex therapist and I have recommended this book to several clients and couples. This last week I have gifted this book 4 times to personal friends!!!!! You will not regret this purchase.
5

November 28, 2018

Doula Here- Held off for a while on purchasing this...
As a birth and postpartum doula, I held off for a while before I purchased this book (was looking for culturally relevant material), but after a while, I purchased a hard copy for my personal reading purposes and my doula lending library. After one of my dear clients expressed interest in borrowing the un-read book, I decided to purchase the Audible version to listen to during some of the long car rides.

I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with the content of the book; with how important I felt it was for all new (and new again) mothers. I now recommend this book to all my clients, as I see how important it is for them to prepare for all the ups and downs of new motherhood; their new bodies, the traumas their bodies can sustain, all that comes with the territory. And the fact that it is available as an audio-book makes it that much easier for new moms and soon to be moms makes it that much more useful.
IG @fatimaoasisdoula
1

October 6, 2018

This book was written by a Sexologist! Too much of that in the book!
I didn't like this book because the author wanted to talk about "s-e-x" way too much for my liking. I think it did have some beneficial info in the book; but I kind of like way too much on that topic. She could have curbed that talk a bit more for me. She also advocated something that as a Catholic I would call sinful. Anyway, I just feel that this book could or should be re-written. Anyway, it also has some yogi references, etc. Just not what I was expecting. One of these days I am going to write my Christian postpartum book because we need one without all this extra yoga talk.
3

May 22, 2019

Fundamental not genius
Obviously this is a well-received book. The Amazon ratings tell that story. This was a book that needed to be written simply because the information hadn't been found in one place before. The fact that it lands as revelatory speaks to just how far behind the standard of care is in women's health in the US. I am happy that someone finally got a comprehensive book published on women's needs in the postpartum period. Much of what is found in this book is the information that an educated and experienced midwife would give to her clients at the appropriate time, but would likely be absent from common obstetrical pregnancy and postpartum education. There is a lot of good in this book: addressing holes in the boat of your relationship before a baby arrives, getting better at boundaries and clear communication, feeling worthy of asking for (a lot of) help instead of feeling weakened by it, seeing a women's health physical therapist or bodyworker to address pain in the months after birth and re-train your pelvic floor and core to be strong and functional, getting appropriate health care, setting up the weeks after giving birth to be as easeful and nourishing for mother and baby as possible, and generally debunking all the cultural "super-moms bounce-back after baby" garbage. Optimal lifelong women's health is supported by a postpartum period where bonding between baby and mother is prioritized as is mom's physical and emotional well being, and the family and community enable this by taking on cooking, cleaning, and their own self-care in the weeks following birth.

So what's not to love? Johnson blurs the line between evidence-based practice and new-age belief throughout the book. Weirdly, she HATES it when people mention this in reviews and publicly posts her discontent on Instagram asking her community (even after having more than 100 five star reviews that she has ACTIVELY solicited) to go and write more superlative five star reviews. She stands on the shoulders of giants, teaching some of the most leading edge trauma work out there (check out the End of Trauma podcast by Steve Hoskinson if you are into this), and yet it is clear how fragile her ego is, which is a big red flag for me. Students who take her classes seem divided into two camps: those who see her as an empowering savior leading the women's revolution (clearly her preference), and those who prefer to learn from someone who is better at demarcating where their expertise ends.

Be warned that taking her online classes is really a coin toss. There will be lots of information about her personal life, dating/sex life, and political diatribes that seem to take up more class time than they should when you are paying for that time. Johnson is warm and supportive when you are weak and needy, cold and defensive when you are questioning. She believes that students are receiving energetic transmissions from her and is perhaps less structured with her teaching because of it, she also uses the therapeutic concept of titration in her work which means she can lean on that concept to deliver less content. Pure oddities: she authoritatively mentions some dubious personal practices like wrestling with your child to reassert parental dominance. Not sure whether to grimace or LOL.

The bottom line is that Kimberly Johnson is brilliant at weaving ideas together, but in her hubris she leaves the reader with the idea that all of her beliefs are factual. (If you're trained in separating fact from fiction it will be easier to see this.) I enjoy many of her teachings but also maintain a healthy dose of skepticism about her work. I think the good outweighs the bad as far as the book is concerned, and I've actually given copies to new moms, but that's mostly because there is literally no other comprehensive postpartum book that currently exists. She brilliantly filled the niche, but don't put her on a pedestal.
2

Aug 24, 2017

I love the premise, but the execution fell short. The book begins with a long story about the author's postpartum experience, which felt unnecessary. It goes on to include practical tips to care for yourself, reflection questions, and community stories about other's postpartum periods. It would best be read at the end of your pregnancy as there are tips to make birth easier, and that way you can start preparing for the postpartum period before it begins. I liked all of this. There was some New I love the premise, but the execution fell short. The book begins with a long story about the author's postpartum experience, which felt unnecessary. It goes on to include practical tips to care for yourself, reflection questions, and community stories about other's postpartum periods. It would best be read at the end of your pregnancy as there are tips to make birth easier, and that way you can start preparing for the postpartum period before it begins. I liked all of this. There was some New Age theories and verbage that is not my area of interest, but I was able to look beyond. I abandoned the book when the author, who says she was trained in "Sexological Bodywork," delved deeply into how to have sex.

I received an ARC from NetGalley. ...more
3

Mar 21, 2019

If Johnson just told her story from beginning to end, and thoroughly explained her healing, this would be an amazing book. No need to tell me what I should do - I can make my own conclusions from hearing your story.

If you are going to tell me what I should do, I would appreciate more organization - to-do lists, time tables. This book does not provide any structure like that.

The exercises in this book, sadly, did not work for me. They just made my back hurt. That was a huge disappointment.

If Johnson just told her story from beginning to end, and thoroughly explained her healing, this would be an amazing book. No need to tell me what I should do - I can make my own conclusions from hearing your story.

If you are going to tell me what I should do, I would appreciate more organization - to-do lists, time tables. This book does not provide any structure like that.

The exercises in this book, sadly, did not work for me. They just made my back hurt. That was a huge disappointment.

Fascinating that the author simultaneously says that being a vegetarian is a leading cause of getting yourself a massive birth injury and that's great if you're a vegetarian! Don't worry about it, if that's what works for you! Yay!

This lack of any real opinion, totally normal today, was disgusting throughout the book. Today's "mental health" advocates just tell everyone it's okay to be lazy and fail at everything. Fail at having an unmedicated birth? It's not failure! Don't worry! C-sections births are just as ideal as natural births. Decide to abandon your kids? If that is what you feel you have to do, that's great! Don't judge yourself! Life is so hard! Don't worry if you fail at breastfeeding! Breastfeeding is so hard. It just doesn't work for some people. Formula is just as ideal if formula is what makes you happy (who cares about your kid). If breastfeeding doesn't make you just giddy with joy, then forget it!

No one tells the truth anymore. No one is capable of saying, "Breastfeeding IS the ideal for your baby, your relationship with your baby, and your own body. You CAN prioritize something above those things and use formula - it's not the end of the world, but I'm not going to tell you that it's great that you're too tired/lazy/selfish to learn how to breastfeed. I'm not going to tell you that formula is AS IDEAL as breastfeeding. It's not.” As a doula, Johnson sees it as her job, not to advocate for the child, not to know what is actually ideal and tell you to buck up and that it's not all about you anymore, but rather to ... tell you that it's okay to fail. It's okay to suck. You're still awesome. Vomit! ...more
1

Dec 02, 2018

A bizarre mix of Western entitlement, Eastern pseudoscience, and anecdotal postpartum fearmongering. This is truly the Goop jade vagina egg of pregnancy books.
4

April 21, 2018

Informative book on postpartum healing and wellbeing
I read this book in my third trimester and found most of it extremely helpful. This is definitely a timer period that is overlooked yet is essential to the health and wellbeing of mother and baby. I wish it had been available when I had my first kid, because the postpartum plan and questions in the back of the book would have really helped my partner and I avoid some difficult times with visitors and setting boundaries. The only thing I didn’t enjoy was that the author goes into detail about the birth injuries she sustained and how she addressed them, and i found it a bit anxiety provoking going into my birth. Beyond that, it was an excellent and informative book.
1

June 18, 2018

If you're into yoga and Eastern spirituality this book may ...
If you're into yoga and Eastern spirituality this book may be for you... but it did not contain much new information for me that was not full of New Agey spirituality.
2

December 8, 2018

Too crunchy for my taste
This book is very crunchy and not based in science. If you’re into energy healing and similar concepts, this book might be for you.
3

January 10, 2019

Insightful
As a dad and husband I got to learn more about the difficulties that women face and to be more sensitive .
1

Oct 18, 2018

This book was just not for me. It was recommended by a midwife in my group care and it's just a level of crunch that does not reach me. The parts I found useful (but were also already in another book I read) were the pelvic floor exercises and conversations on advocating for your postpartum health. Otherwise, this just did not speak to me. It honestly felt like it was written by a highly privileged, new age white woman with no concept of most women's realities who travels to other countries to This book was just not for me. It was recommended by a midwife in my group care and it's just a level of crunch that does not reach me. The parts I found useful (but were also already in another book I read) were the pelvic floor exercises and conversations on advocating for your postpartum health. Otherwise, this just did not speak to me. It honestly felt like it was written by a highly privileged, new age white woman with no concept of most women's realities who travels to other countries to "find herself." This may not be the reality of who she is, but this is definitely how it felt. ...more
5

Jun 27, 2018

What's not to love about a book that treads the complicated waters at the intersection of sex, trauma, and birth?

My body knows things that my mind has forgotten. Or worked hard to block out. Or reappropriated through narrative. Or tried to overcome through healthy relationships. Or never even was able to articulate in the first place. Or or or or ad infinitam. So now it's time to go back to the body and lovingly prepare it for the singular rite of passage that is giving birth. I have a lot of What's not to love about a book that treads the complicated waters at the intersection of sex, trauma, and birth?

My body knows things that my mind has forgotten. Or worked hard to block out. Or reappropriated through narrative. Or tried to overcome through healthy relationships. Or never even was able to articulate in the first place. Or or or or ad infinitam. So now it's time to go back to the body and lovingly prepare it for the singular rite of passage that is giving birth. I have a lot of work today.

I will probably buy this book for a lot of people. ...more
2

Jan 29, 2019

There were some minimally helpful chapters, but overall I found this book to be anxiety inducing for an expectant mother. There is so much emphasis on what can go wrong in a birth, and the suggested approaches for combating these issues do not seem to be rooted in science. A little too far out there for me.
5

Jun 18, 2019

This was just what I needed. I really struggled postpartum with my son and didn't feel prepared at all for motherhood. This helped me understand the feelings, emotions, and physical discomfort I felt the first time around and helped me identify what I would like to do differently the second time around to better support myself and my family. Incredible book!
5

Mar 01, 2019

Must read for any women who has ever been pregnant. Ideally read before giving birth.
I wish I had this book before having my first son, but am so thankful to read and learn before giving birth again.

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