Meet The Fourth Trimester Doc

Our Birth Story

The idea for Fourth Trimester Doc was born after Dr. Haggerty had given birth to her first child.  She knew when she got pregnant that her baby would need to see a physician a few days after the birth.  When she thought about needing to go into a pediatric office when her baby was only a few days old, she immediately sought alternative options.  She was happy when she was able to find a pediatric practitioner who would be willing to come to her home to evaluate her baby within a week after the birth.  However, during the visit, she quickly realized that the focus was solely on her baby and with no focus on her, the new mom.  This complete disconnect was emphasized when she realized she would not be seeing her own practitioner until 6 weeks postpartum.

The maternal mortality rate in the United States is one of the worst in the developed world.  It truly is no wonder though, when we expect a new mother to have to walk into clinic within days of the birth, bleeding due to a wound the size of a placenta inside the uterus, leaking milk from engorged breasts, with a weak pelvic floor from just pushing a human out of her body and/or possibly with a stitched wound across her abdomen from a cesarean.  Any other form of abdominal surgery, our medical system recommends rest, but new mothers/birthing people are expected to carry a car seat and take care of a newborn baby as if nothing happened to her body.  Though it should be common sense, research shows that in home postpartum care for mothers/birthing people and newborns increases breastfeeding duration, decreases perinatal depression, and decreases infant mortality.  When mothers/birthing people are supported, moms/birthing people and babies do better. 

As a physician who has attended hundreds of births and has cared for mothers/birthing people and their newborns for years in the clinic setting, Dr. Haggerty had felt trapped as if there was no other options and this was just the best we could do within the context of the conventional medical system model.  However, she is not one to “follow the rules” and has decided to break out of the system.  Thus Fourth Trimester Doc was born.  By creating her own model of care, she no longer needs to answer to the bureaucracy of the healthcare systems of conventional medicine.  She believes that mothers/birthing people and their newborns deserve better care, and that despite what the traditional model makes it seem, mothers/birthing people are worthy of being cared for. 

At Fourth Trimester Doc, we feel the transition to a mother/parent is a sacred time that deserves honor and respect.  Although the newborn has come from the mother’s/birthing person’s body, they are still very much connected and should be treated as a pair.  What is happening with one’s health affects the other and visa versa.  In cultures around the world and ancient traditions, mothers are part of a tribe whose members help care for and provide support to the new mom/birthing person during the transition into motherhood/parenthood.  This tradition has been lost for so many, which has led to a significant lack of support.  We, at Fourth Trimester Doc, would be honored to be a part of your tribe.

Fourth Trimester Doc is the FIRST and ONLY physician practice in Minnesota providing this type of care for mothers/birthing people and newborns and one of only a handful across the country.  Dr. Haggerty is seeking to revolutionize 4th trimester care.  She has connected physicians and other healthcare practitioners across the country who are tired of the current medical system and want to do better for their patients by co-founding the Center for 4th Trimester Care (C4TC), a national nonprofit actively working on this revolution.  She wants mothers/birthing people to know that we hear you and we are working to create change.  

We are here to support you in the comfort of your own home with direct access to your physician whenever you need it.  While you are exactly what your baby needs, support is paramount for you to be able to achieve your goals and thrive during the 4th trimester.

Dr. Michelle Haggerty


Founder & CEO

Board Certified Integrative Family Physician, Breastfeeding & Lactation Medicine Specialist, Perinatal Mental Health Specialist

Preferred pronouns: she/her/hers

Dr. Haggerty's Certifications
Read Dr. Haggerty's Bio

Dr. Haggerty has spent her life using her personal and career experiences to support mothers/birthing people going through their matrescence.  She graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nutrition where her capstone project was on breastfeeding and HIV/AIDs in Uganda.  She went on to obtain a Masters in Public Health from the University of Minnesota with an emphasis on Nutrition and Global Health.  She spent her internship in Peru working in a pediatric and obstetric clinic doing health campaigns in the surrounding villages. 

It was during her public health training where she realized she wanted to pursue becoming a physician.  She got her degree in Osteopathic Medicine from Midwestern University in Chicago, IL followed by a family medicine residency in St. Paul, MN at United Family Medicine/Allina Health.  Her medical training included working in a pediatric HIV clinic in Zambia and a family medicine clinic in Belize.  Following residency she started working at a Federally Qualified Health Center, NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center, in North Minneapolis, MN. 

She is Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director for the Center for 4th Trimester Care (C4TC), a national nonprofit whose mission is to revolutionize 4th trimester care so that all people have access to high quality 4th trimester care through education, business development, advocacy and community building.  She is a founding board member for the North American Board of Breastfeeding and Lactation Medicine, served on the Medical and Health Sciences Advisory Committee for the Minnesota Milk Bank for Babies, and is a member of the Minnesota Breastfeeding Coalition, and Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Minnesota.  She has been recognized as one of the Rising Top Star Doctors by Msp/St. Paul Magazine (2021, 2022, 2023, & 2024), and Top Doctors (2021, 2022 & 2023) and Top Doctors for Women (2023 and 2024) by Minnesota Monthly Magazine.  She was also awarded one of the 2023 Women in Business by Twin Cities Business Journal.

In addition to changing the paradigm around postpartum, newborn, lactation and perinatal mental health care, she is passionate about her family, travel, dark chocolate, red wine, warm spicy chai, outdoor adventures, deep conversations with good friends, and laying in a hammock with a good book overlooking a lake.

Her own matrescense has been a full on rollercoaster.  She is a mom to two angel babies (from miscarriages) and three sons (unless they tell her otherwise) earthside.  Her own 4th trimester/postpartum experiences were wonderful and challenging and messy and beautiful and cozy and painful and emotional and blissful and lonely and supportive (there are not enough words to truly describe this time/transition).  She is so excited to be able to offer these services and would be honored to be a part of your journey into motherhood/parenthood. 

Dr. Melissa Hardy


Board Certified Pediatrician and Breastfeeding & Lactation Medicine Specialist

Preferred pronouns: she/her/hers

Dr. Hardy's Certifications
  • Medical School at the University of Minnesota
  • Pediatric Residency at the University of Minnesota
  • International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)
Read Dr. Hardy's Bio

​Dr. Hardy has been supporting and advocating for parents and babies since she started pediatric residency with her own 8 week old daughter. She has always loved taking care of kids, especially newborns, but she found her passion for lactation care and helping parents through the transition to parenthood, becoming an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) during residency.

After growing up in Chanhassen MN, graduating from the College of St. Benedict (St. Cloud, MN) for undergrad, finishing medical school and completing her pediatric residency both at the University of Minnesota, she settled in Plymouth, MN and started a general pediatrics job in Burnsville, MN. In wanting to focus fully on the newborn and lactation aspect of patient care, she joined Dr. Michelle Haggerty in her Fourth Trimester Doc practice with great excitement. She has a special interest in helping families with their feeding goals – whether that’s breastfeeding, chestfeeding/bodyfeeding, pumping, combination feeding, formula feeding, or anything in between.

She has been recognized as a Top Doctor: Rising Star (2024) by Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine.

Beyond helping friends and patients with newborn/lactation care, she loves to spend time outdoors with her family, right now including her husband, two kids and a dog. She is mama to a daughter, a son, an angel baby (from miscarriage) and another little one expected fall of 2023. She also enjoys time with friends, playing board games, practicing yoga, singing Disney songs, drinking tea and eating lots of chocolate ice cream.

Her dream is to support and educate new parents, including first-time parents and seasoned veterans, through the ups and downs of parenthood. “Mom guilt” or “parent guilt” is everywhere in our culture and one of her goals is to smash it, one parent at a time. Every parent is good and trying their best. And every baby is a new experience; she would love to join you on your journey.

Dr. Katie Swanson


Board Certified Family Physician, Breastfeeding and Lactation Medicine Specialist

Preferred pronouns: she/her/hers

Dr. Swanson's Certifications
  • Medical school at Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Family Medicine Residency: University of Minnesota North Memorial
  • Sutherland Cranial Teaching Foundation 40 hour cranial course
  • Fascial Distortion Model Academy Course (Module 1)
  • The Power of Presence with Rachel Brooks MD
  • Natural Mental Health: Joy, Calm, and Focus practitioner training (in progress)
Read Dr. Swanson's Bio

Dr. Swanson has always cared deeply about women and children, but it was navigating her own matrescence and breastfeeding journey that sparked a passion to work professionally in this space. Despite hundreds of hours of education in these areas as a nurse and medical student, she returned home after the birth of her first daughter confused, bewildered, and unsupported. She soon realized her experience was not unique, and became committed to supporting families in their parenthood transitions.

She grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin and graduated from St. Olaf College with a BA in nursing. She spent several years as an RN in various hospitals and in the emergency department before deciding to pursue medicine. She was interested in osteopathic medical school for its holistic focus on mind, body, and spirit, and when she started at Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine, she was immediately drawn to osteopathic manipulation, a gentle, hands-on method of diagnosis and treatment that complements her training in allopathic medicine. During medical school she had the great fortune of working with a group of midwives who did home visits, which opened her eyes to the possibility of practicing family care differently. Before joining Dr. Haggerty, she completed family medicine residency at University of Minnesota North Memorial Family Medicine Residency, and spent two years working in an outpatient-based family medicine practice where she attended births and cared for families. She has completed extra training in breastfeeding medicine, integrative medicine, urgent care, osteopathic medicine, and lifestyle medicine since completing residency.

When she isn’t working, Dr. Swanson can be found hiking, skiing, hanging out with her partner and 3 daughters, foraging, or going down an artistic rabbit hole learning a new skill (she’s currently learning botanical dyeing).

Dr. Swanson believes good medicine happens with time, listening, and connection. She also believes everyone is a work in progress (including herself) and that mental and physical health are a marathon, not a sprint. Her own experiences of pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and parenting have been beautiful, difficult, stressful, joy-filled, scary, hilarious, and everything in-between, and she hopes to support you and your family as you enter this special season together. 

What Our Clients Say

Dr. Haggerty came to the house to check on our newest grandbaby.  Dr. Haggerty spent a considerable amount of time with the new parents examining, teaching and patiently answering all of their questions.  Her exam was both gentle and professional.  As an RN and childbirth educator (and also grandmother of 8), I was very impressed.  What an amazing service, especially during these troublesome times to get all this right at our dining room table.  Back to Dr.’s house calls!

JH (mother-in-law)

Dr. Hardy saved my breastfeeding journey. My babe did not want to drink at the breast, and didn’t until she was three months old. She is now almost ten months old and EBF. Dr. Hardy never gave up on us, she saw me last minute, gave me encouragement, worked with me through low supply issues, exclusively pumping during the first few months, and gave me so many different ideas to try. I cannot recommend her enough. She is amazing.

SS (new mother)

Dr. Haggerty helped me a lot during my pregnancy answering questions and offering advice, so I was really glad when she agreed to come to conduct visits in our house.  She is incredibly attentive, both to my baby and myself and has even taken the time to teach me how to properly tie my baby sling carrier!  I had forgotten to get vitamin d drops for my baby and instead of me having to go out to get them, she dropped some off at our house! One additional thing I appreciate is that she is easily reached for questions through text.  This has been a lifesavor for a first time mother.

LAC (new mother)

Dr. Hardy listened to our concerns and validated our feelings. She gave us action items of things to try which was so helpful. Dr. Hardy also checked in with me emotionally about my unplanned C-section which I really appreciated. You can tell she is a very kind and caring doctor. Her patients are lucky to have her!

(new mother)

Photography courtesy of Vail Art Co.


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