Irregular Periods After Birth: Causes & Solutions

Irregular Periods After Pregnancy: Should You Worry?

Hey there, new moms-to-be! We all know how exciting and nerve-wracking it can be to bring a new life into the world. But what happens to your body once the baby is born? Well, for starters, say goodbye to your monthly friend, for a little while. That’s right, the menstrual cycle takes a break for a few months after delivery.

But don’t get too comfortable just yet! Once the postpartum bleeding stops, you might notice a considerable gap before your first regular period. And when it does come back, it may not be the same as before. Irregular periods after pregnancy are common, but should you be worried? Let’s take a closer look.

Video: Irregular Periods After Pregnancy : Should You Worry?

Once the first postpartum period occurs, the menstrual cycle follows a very unpredictable schedule and can come earlier or later than usual, for months. This is a huge cause of concern for women, and they rush to consult their doctors. The good news is that having irregular periods after delivery is perfectly normal, and occurs due to various hormonal changes in the body. With time, the body settles down to it’s usual routine, but the time frame for this process varies from person to person.

Are Irregular Periods Normal After Birth?

First and foremost, it is necessary to understand that childbirth drastically alters some hormones in the body. Therefore, the hormones that ensure a regular period between menstrual cycles take a backseat. It is quite normal for women to experience changes in the frequency and the flow of their monthly period, post-delivery. Many factors come into deciding when exactly the body gets back to its normal menstrual routine.

When Will You Get Your Period After Birth?

After giving birth, many new moms are curious about when they can expect their period to return. The timing can vary depending on several factors, such as whether or not you’re breastfeeding. Let’s take a closer look at when you might expect your period to return, depending on your breastfeeding status.

1. While Breastfeeding

It’s a mixed bag. Some moms may not see their period return until they stop breastfeeding, while others may experience irregular periods during breastfeeding.

2. While You Are Not Breastfeeding

If you’re not breastfeeding, you may see your period return anywhere from 6-12 weeks after giving birth. But keep in mind that everyone’s body is different, so your mileage may vary.

Reasons Behind Irregular Menstrual Cycle After Pregnancy

From the time of conception, a woman’s body goes through a lot of changes, all alongside the changing levels of hormones. An altered menstrual cycle is a consequence of these changes. Some other external factors also play a role in making your periods irregular after delivery.

1. Weight

Women tend to gain weight during pregnancy and continue to be on the higher side for a few months after delivery. On the contrary, some women lose weight drastically, due to lack of proper diet and sleep. In both cases, the weight directly impacts hormone levels in the body. The weight of the mother is a significant parameter in deciding the time frame within which she switches back to having a normal menstrual routine.

2. Breastfeeding

Mothers who breastfeed their children tend to ovulate much later, post delivery. The hormone responsible for inducing the secretion of milk from the mammary glands (prolactin) also suppresses the process of ovulation. Therefore, as long as a mother is breastfeeding her baby, the hormone remains actively in circulation and prevents the ovulation process. Only a successful ovulation culminates in menstruation, and therefore, your periods resume later than usual.

3. Altered Hormone Levels

An expecting mother’s body starts altering the levels of hormones, in anticipation of the pregnancy. These hormones prepare her for childbearing, birthing, and breastfeeding. Unfortunately, the hormone levels do not spring back to normalcy, right after delivery. Factors like diet, exercise, breastfeeding, sex, and weight decide the pace at which it returns to normal levels. In the bargain, the menstrual cycle becomes erratic and unpredictable for a few months, until the hormones settle down.

4. Pre-pregnancy Conditions

If you suffered from conditions such as Endometriosis, PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), Hypo- or Hyper- Thyroidism, or any other condition that causes or is a result of fluctuation in hormones, you may experience irregular periods after pregnancy. This is especially if you already faced issues with regularity of your menstral cycle, prior to pregnancy.


Diagnosis of Irregular Periods After Pregnancy

Diagnosis of irregular periods can be tricky, as many women tend to confuse the postpartum bleeding with the first period after delivery. The first period occurs after a typical gap of a few months from postpartum bleeding. An irregular cycle following the first period is quite common, and this can last for about four to five months. An unsettled menstrual cycle beyond this period should be taken up with your doctor to evaluate the exact cause of this irregularity.

Can You Get Pregnant With Irregular Periods After Having a Baby?

Short answer : yes, you can! Irregular periods after having a baby can make it difficult to predict when ovulation will occur, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get pregnant. In fact, some women may even ovulate before their first period after giving birth. So, if you’re not ready for round two of the baby-making game just yet, it’s important to use contraception.

But before you start panicking about accidental pregnancies, remember that irregular periods are common after having a baby, and they can take some time to regulate. It may take a few months, or even up to a year, for your periods to become regular again. However, if you’re concerned about your fertility, or if you’re experiencing other symptoms along with irregular periods, it’s always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider to rule out any underlying issues.

Tips to Deal With Irregular Periods

There are a couple of things new mothers can adopt to fix the problem of irregular periods and get their menstrual cycle back to normalcy, as early as possible.

1. Exercise

It is, undoubtedly, a daunting task to start an exercise routine with a new baby at home. However, pushing yourself to exercise regularly is very important to bring the body back to its pre-pregnancy shape. Exercising helps a great deal in restoring hormonal balance in the body. It also helps in maintaining your weight, which is a significant factor in determining your periods.

2. Healthy Diet

Having a healthy and nutritious diet, post-delivery, is vital in restoring and replenishing the nutrients lost during pregnancy and childbirth. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts provide the much-needed micronutrients for repair and restoration of the body. They indirectly enhance the process of settling down after childbirth, by providing the right atmosphere to correct hormonal imbalances.

3. Managing Stress

Stress affects the body and the mind. New mothers are subjected to a lot of stress due to lack of sleep, new responsibilities, and sometimes, an overwhelming feeling triggered by the new role of motherhood. This directly affects the hormone levels, causing a delay in settling back to normalcy. The best way to facilitate the body’s healing process is to remain stress-free and keep worries at bay, by taking help from others and talking to them about your worries.

4. Avoiding Contraceptives

Contraceptives interfere with the ovulation cycle and further delay the process of getting back the normal menstrual cycle. You can talk to your doctor about other safe birth control options that do not affect the hormonal balance in the body. 

5. Taking Vitamins

A deficiency in certain vitamins, such as Vitamin D, and B Vitamins can hamper menstrual cycle, so get yourself tested, and ensure that you take supplements or eat food high in these vitamins, if you are, indeed, deficient. You can get your fill of Vitamin D by letting the morning rays of the sun soak into your body, or including dairy products in your diet. Eat legumes, meat, nuts, whole grains, and green, leafy vegetables, for your daily dose of B Vitamins. Ensuring your body is healthy and has an adequate amount of Vitamins can aid the process of regularising menstrual periods.

When To Call The Doctor?

Irregular periods postpartum can be totally normal, but there are certain situations where it’s important to check in with your healthcare provider. Here are a few scenarios where it’s a good idea to give them a call:

  • You experience heavy bleeding: While some bleeding after giving birth is normal, if you’re soaking through pads or passing large clots, it’s important to seek medical attention.
  • Your periods are very painful: Cramping and discomfort during your period can be normal, but if you’re experiencing severe pain or other unusual symptoms, it’s worth getting checked out.
  • Your periods are extremely heavy: Heavy bleeding can be a sign of a hormonal imbalance or other underlying issue, so it’s important to talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing this.
  • You’re trying to conceive without success: If you’ve been actively trying to conceive for several months without success, or if you’re concerned about your fertility, it’s a good idea to have a conversation with your healthcare provider to see if there are any underlying issues.

Irregular periods can be very frustrating for a new mother, especially since they come with a high level of unpredictability. Understanding the different biological reasons behind this very natural and common phenomenon can be reassuring, particularly for first-time mothers.

Also Read: First Period After C Section

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