Menstruation after giving birth

Your period might not be your favorite part of the month, but it’s part of the process that allowed you to have Baby, so it’s kind of cool. You and your period have had some time apart now – an opportunity to reflect, meditate, and lose all of your tampons and pads. When will your period again grace you with its presence after delivery, and how much time do you have to remember to restock your trusty supply?

When will my period come back? 

You’ll experience some bleeding for the first few weeks after you give birth that progressively gets lighter, but your true period may not return for months. If you’re not breastfeeding, your period could come back as soon as five weeks after giving birth, though it could also come later. Six to eight weeks after giving birth is the return window for many women.

If you’re breastfeeding, your period might not come back until you stop breastfeeding or until you start combining breastfeeding with bottle feeding. The hormones your body produces while you’re breastfeeding can suppress the hormones that regulate your menstrual cycle. Basically, it’s your body trying to avoid another pregnancy too quickly while it’s still taking care of a baby, although it’s not a reliable means of contraception on its own.

Becoming pregnant too quickly after delivering a baby can put your healing body at risk of health problems. It’s important to understand that even if you are breastfeeding and your periods hasn’t returned, your ovaries can still release an egg and you may still be able to become pregnant. Be sure to use protection with intercourse to avoid pregnancy during this time.

How heavy will it be?

Your period is likely going to be pretty different from the periods you’re used to, at least at first. You can expect a heavier, more irregular flow with different cramping intensity, and, potentially, passing a few small blood clots. As time goes on, your period should return to what it was before your pregnancy.

How do I know if everything’s normal? 

So much about your body changed during pregnancy. If you’re used to a light flow, a heavy period post-pregnancy could seem like an end-of-the-world situation. If you’re used to your periods coming like clockwork, it can be stressful to deal with an irregular cycle.

Your periods may be a little different for a few months postpartum, and it might be hard to tell when you’re back to normal. That’s partly because a “normal” period doesn’t really exist; it’s all about what normal is for you. If your periods are significantly different for several cycles, check in with your healthcare provider to see if it’s a sign of another underlying issue.

  • “When will my periods start again after pregnancy?” NHS Choices. National Health Service. March 24, 2015. Web.
  • Nall, Rachel. “What to expect from your first period after pregnancy.” Healthline. Healthline Media. October 27, 2015. Web.
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