Periods after Pregnancy

Periods after Pregnancy

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One of the many perks of pregnancy is – no periods for nine months! You will enjoy a nice break from this monthly visitor, and once your baby arrives, you can expect your periods to return anytime. Every woman’s body anatomy and circumstances are different; therefore, there is no exact time limit when you can expect your period back. However, in the following article, we shall discuss all that you need to know about your periods after delivery.

When Will Your Periods Start After Delivery

Many new moms may wonder, after normal delivery when will my periods come? In most cases, you may start off with your menstrual cycle within 6 to 8 weeks after giving birth, if you are not breastfeeding your baby. However, if you are exclusively breastfeeding your baby, you may not have your period till you stop breastfeeding. Here exclusive breastfeeding means that your baby is only on breast milk. Some women may start off with their periods within a couple of months after giving birth, whether breastfeeding or not.

What to Expect From Your First Period After Giving Birth

Bleeding and vaginal discharge are very common after giving birth. Whether you have had a vaginal birth or caesarean delivery, you will experience some amount of vaginal bleeding and discharge after giving birth. This is due to shedding of extrauterine lining and blood that the body had acquired during pregnancy. In the initial stages, you may experience heavy bleeding and clots; however, after a few weeks, the blood gives way to vaginal discharge called lochia. This vaginal discharge can be creamy white to red in colour. You may have this discharge for up to six weeks, and in case you are breastfeeding your baby, you may expect your first menstrual period after birth around this time.

Why Breastfeeding Moms Don’t Get Their Periods Quickly

Many moms do not get their periods after delivery while breastfeeding because of change in hormones. The hormone Prolactin, which is present in breastfeeding moms, is required for the production of the milk. This milk-producing hormone suppresses the reproductive hormones. Therefore, in the dearth of reproductive hormones no eggs are released for fertilization. Without the egg, there will be no menstruation, and thus feeding mommies do not get their periods quickly.

breastfeeding mom

How Your Period Will Be Different After Pregnancy

You may experience some changes in your period after pregnancy. This is because your body may be adjusting to your period routine after delivery. You may experience some of the following:

  • Your period may be more painful than your previous menstrual cycles.
  • You may have a heavy period after pregnancy in comparison to your usual period.
  • You may experience scantier or less menstrual flow than your normal period.
  • You may experience more or less cramping than usual.
  • You may notice small clots in your period blood.
  • You may have irregular cycles.

The reason for a heavier period after delivery is the increased uterine lining. The shedding of this lining leads to heavier blood flow. In very rare cases, adenomyosis or thyroid may cause heavy bleeding after giving birth.

On the other hand, women who undergo endometriosis before pregnancy may experience scantier or lighter blood flow after childbirth. There are some other rare medical conditions, such as Asherman’s Syndrome or Sheehan syndrome which may cause lighter bleeding.

How Long Will Your First Period After Giving Birth Last

Your first period after giving birth may last up to five to seven days, which you may be accustomed to. However, some women may experience vaginal bleeding for two to three weeks after giving birth. If you experience vaginal bleeding more than three weeks, it is recommended that you seek medical advice for the same.

How Will You Know if Something is Wrong

If you experience any of the following symptoms, it is suggested to get medical help:

  • You have fever
  • You are changing the sanitary pad every hour
  • You are bleeding continuously for more than a week
  • You are experiencing severe are sudden bouts of pain
  • You have foul-smelling discharge
  • You have bigger blood clots (size of a softball or bigger)
  • You experience any pain while urinating
  • You face any trouble in breathing
  • You have a severe headache

All the above-mentioned may be symptoms of any medical complications such as infection, retained placenta or tubal pregnancy.

Misconceptions About Periods After Childbirth

There are many misconceptions associated with periods after childbirth. Some of these misconceptions are as follows:

  • Many women assume that the vaginal bleeding right after giving birth is their 1st period after delivery. That is not their first period, but it is postpartum bleeding, which includes expelling of extra fluids, tissues and blood from the body after delivery. The postpartum bleeding may continue for 4 to 6 weeks, and afterwards, your body becomes ready to have the first period.
  • It is also misunderstood that breastfeeding is a natural form of contraception and you will not get pregnant until the time you are breastfeeding. However, it is not completely true; breastfeeding may only provide 60 percent protection against conception. You have good 40 percent chances of getting pregnant even when you are breastfeeding.

Your body goes under a lot of change in pregnancy, and thus it may take some time for your body to adjust to the usual routine of normal periods. However, if you experience anything out of the ordinary with your menstrual period, it is best to seek medical assistance for the same to avoid any complications.

Also Read: Kegel Exercises after Delivery