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

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.
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.
2

Nov 10, 2018

Too woo-woo even for me. Some nuggets were hidden among the pseudo-science but overall not worth the read.
5

Mar 20, 2019

I ended up loving this book, and I DEFINITELY didn’t think I would. I thought it would be all “earth mother” bullshit and would annoy me, but while it was a lot of earth mother, it wasn’t bullshit. Throughout my pregnancy and since my baby has been born, everything I’ve read has been about the baby; it was nice to read something that was strictly for MY health and MY relationships. You can’t take the best care of your baby if your own self isn’t taken care of. This book is going to be my new I ended up loving this book, and I DEFINITELY didn’t think I would. I thought it would be all “earth mother” bullshit and would annoy me, but while it was a lot of earth mother, it wasn’t bullshit. Throughout my pregnancy and since my baby has been born, everything I’ve read has been about the baby; it was nice to read something that was strictly for MY health and MY relationships. You can’t take the best care of your baby if your own self isn’t taken care of. This book is going to be my new go-to gift for pregnant friends. ...more
5

Mar 16, 2019

Incredible resource. Johnson is tremendously smart, enlightened, empathetic. Not just a guide for the new mom, but for all of motherhood.
4

Aug 11, 2019

I wish I read this book BEFORE having the baby - not after. Some of the things suggested by the author are a bit too hippie/mother earth for me but overall it sends a powerful message and has a lot of useful tips.
5

Mar 29, 2018

This is the first book to cover all of today’s needs during the postpartum period. My favourite book in the subject to date.
1

Sep 06, 2018

Found this book to be quite pretentious and full of impractical advice. She was strong in her ideas and if you didn't agree with something (i.e., were vegetarian), you will feel the wrath of her POV. Not helpful.
5

Nov 14, 2017

First off. Having a baby is ROUGH period. End of story. As with anything else, preparedness and self awareness can get you through the tough times. I loved this book, and wish there were more resources like this in my rural community. It’s wild thinking how varied the contributing factors are to post partum depression - you name it and it’s bothering some person some where. I think a lot of individualize generalize the “baby blues” (don’t you hate that phrasing ) and this book doesn’t do that. I First off. Having a baby is ROUGH period. End of story. As with anything else, preparedness and self awareness can get you through the tough times. I loved this book, and wish there were more resources like this in my rural community. It’s wild thinking how varied the contributing factors are to post partum depression - you name it and it’s bothering some person some where. I think a lot of individualize generalize the “baby blues” (don’t you hate that phrasing 😑) and this book doesn’t do that. I felt validated and I think a lot of other parents, friends, family, etc... will feel similarly. If you want to relate, gather intel, or are just interested, check this one out.

Thanks, NetGalley for the ARC! ...more
2

Oct 10, 2019

I would not recommend this book for everyone. It may be worth reading so as to prepare for all the "what ifs" you may ask yourself about birth and healing (emotionally and physically). The book is meant to be read both during pregnancy as well as during the fourth trimester as a guide for the transition into the post partum trimester and new motherhood. Personally, I found the author's tone to be one of a glass half empty. I read this during my third trimester and I was left feeling like I would not recommend this book for everyone. It may be worth reading so as to prepare for all the "what ifs" you may ask yourself about birth and healing (emotionally and physically). The book is meant to be read both during pregnancy as well as during the fourth trimester as a guide for the transition into the post partum trimester and new motherhood. Personally, I found the author's tone to be one of a glass half empty. I read this during my third trimester and I was left feeling like something, if not many things will inevitably go wrong during birth and the post-partum phases. At many times I found the author's approach to be discouraging and I had to stop reading for a few days to regain perspective and trust in my body's vitality and health. I don't believe it was the author's intention to discourage women but alas her book did a good job of making me feel like I WILL end up broken, either emotionally, physically, or both in not one but in many ways. I would have benefited from a more empowering tone. Yes, birth is a very physically intense process and healing is inevitable. Although, I would have liked this guide-book better if the author had centered on the theme that women are strong and resilient and then backed out into what ways one can heal from the multitude of traumas she explains.
I would recommend this book to anyone in the healing phases of birth and new motherhood and I would HIGHLY recommend it to those who feel isolated in their unique and particular healing process. In conclusion, for those new mamas still pregnant that may want to read or have just read this book; you and your body are not destined to fail or wind up broken, trust your body in this process and learn from what it teaches you after birth! ...more
3

Aug 08, 2018

There were some things I really liked about this book. It got me thinking and made me want to delve a little deeper into some research about postpartum healing. I definitely believe that modern culture needs to take the postpartum period more seriously, and I was so excited to find a book on the subject. However the execution, as well as the content, fell short for me. I read books on birth/pregnancy/postpartum all the time and love them. This one felt like a drag to me, and I struggled to get There were some things I really liked about this book. It got me thinking and made me want to delve a little deeper into some research about postpartum healing. I definitely believe that modern culture needs to take the postpartum period more seriously, and I was so excited to find a book on the subject. However the execution, as well as the content, fell short for me. I read books on birth/pregnancy/postpartum all the time and love them. This one felt like a drag to me, and I struggled to get through it. She spends a lot of time touching on subjects that seem like they might be good to know more about and then continually says "but we'll talk more about that later" without delivering on the promise. It feels more like a rambling disorganized tangent than a practical guide. I also wish she would have provided more of an evidence-based approach to why her recommendations are good for postpartum healing. Tradition is great, but I still want the science of why it does (or does not work). Overall I didn't find this book very helpful for myself, and as a doula I wouldn't recommend it to clients either. ...more
5

Jun 13, 2019

This book is absolutely everything. I wish I had read it when I was having my first child. Kimberly Ann Johnson tends to the needs of the new mother by explaining why it is so natural to need rest, nutritious food, loving touch, contact with nature, and the company of wise women after you have had a baby. She also addresses the relational, psychological, and sexual needs of new mothers with simple activities and reflections you can do right away. I am using this book as my bible as I work to This book is absolutely everything. I wish I had read it when I was having my first child. Kimberly Ann Johnson tends to the needs of the new mother by explaining why it is so natural to need rest, nutritious food, loving touch, contact with nature, and the company of wise women after you have had a baby. She also addresses the relational, psychological, and sexual needs of new mothers with simple activities and reflections you can do right away. I am using this book as my bible as I work to embrace my motherhood identity. And I have also been using it with the new moms I work with as a doula. I will gift this book to everyone I know who is becoming a mother. I recommend you read the first two parts while you are pregnant (or expecting) and then the third part after you are with the baby. And come back to the third part years later to recommit to the work of nurturing your mother-spirit and your community. ...more
3

Mar 13, 2019

I liked this book and would give it 3.5 stars. There is a beautiful perspective about the importance of rest and nourishment for long-term recovery, and I especially resonate with her incorporation of Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic principles. I also applaud the author for starting a conversation about many realities of the postpartum transition that are often ignored. She clearly has a passion for educating and empowering women and communities to view the fourth trimester as a necessary period I liked this book and would give it 3.5 stars. There is a beautiful perspective about the importance of rest and nourishment for long-term recovery, and I especially resonate with her incorporation of Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic principles. I also applaud the author for starting a conversation about many realities of the postpartum transition that are often ignored. She clearly has a passion for educating and empowering women and communities to view the fourth trimester as a necessary period of time for healing.

I didn’t give it more than three stars because I thought its breadth of topics, while a strength in some ways, left it lacking in others. The how-tos of many of the practices seemed quite surface and not to adequately acknowledge the history and wisdom behind them. ...more
4

Dec 04, 2019

I absolutely loved this. Perfectly fine to skim some of the more hippie woo woo parts but generally, I found her writing about becoming a mother to be beautiful. In America, it is not common to honor the magnitude of childbirth and motherhood the same way it is in some other parts of the world. I completely agree that we’re doing ourselves, our children, our families and communities a great disservice by skipping this ritual of care and recovery, of sharing generations of wisdom and celebration I absolutely loved this. Perfectly fine to skim some of the more hippie woo woo parts but generally, I found her writing about becoming a mother to be beautiful. In America, it is not common to honor the magnitude of childbirth and motherhood the same way it is in some other parts of the world. I completely agree that we’re doing ourselves, our children, our families and communities a great disservice by skipping this ritual of care and recovery, of sharing generations of wisdom and celebration of the profound change women go through physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally to become mothers. This book encourages us to slow down and honor the postpartum period. ...more
2

Oct 05, 2018

This took me a long time because I'm not crazy about it. I'm interested in finding out more about sexological bodywork, but found other ways the author talks about birth and the body to be more woo-woo than I want to be with doula clients.

The five key elements a person needs post-partum I will definitely share, though:
-healing touch
-nourishing food
-time in nature
-spiritual practice
-the presence of women/elders/healers who have been through birth (or not, but who are there specifically to care This took me a long time because I'm not crazy about it. I'm interested in finding out more about sexological bodywork, but found other ways the author talks about birth and the body to be more woo-woo than I want to be with doula clients.

The five key elements a person needs post-partum I will definitely share, though:
-healing touch
-nourishing food
-time in nature
-spiritual practice
-the presence of women/elders/healers who have been through birth (or not, but who are there specifically to care for you) ...more
3

Aug 23, 2018

A lot of great advice and explanations, a good portion of which I'll implement more formally after my upcoming second child's birth. A lot of the book was about things Western culture isn't as used to and therefore, finding care providers for those things will be a trickier, murkier, less-reliable road for those who want to pursue them.

Full summary on my blog here.
2

Dec 14, 2018

2.5 stars. It was okay. There were a few things I learned, but most of this stuff I already knew. It got a little too heavy on damning modern medicine and promoting other methods. I just couldn't take some of this book seriously. What I was hoping for was a more practical approach, but instead, I got vague answers because information was being withheld so I would spend money to go see a specialist that wasn't actually a doctor... so my high hopes were pretty much crushed.
4

Sep 19, 2019

A book full of chapters on inspiration, mind, body, nourishment, relationships and intimacy. A unique look at the fourth trimester with activities and quotes to make the hardest trimester more relaxing. Many people won't talk about the fourth trimester or even believe that it is a real thing, so it's a breath of fresh air that someone is acknowledging.
#fourthtrimester #Netgalley
3

Mar 27, 2019

I bought this book based on an article on Kellymom.com that led me to believe it was primarily about balancing hormones and staving off postpartum depression. It is not. Surely it would have value for many (particularly those seeking help processing a traumatic birth) but I could have skipped it. If you are looking for info about hormones and PPD, keep looking.

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