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Period After Baby: What To Expect

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Do you have several questions about having your period after having your baby? We’ll answer those questions right here!

RELATED: Grooming Your Newborn Baby: A Guide For First-Time Parents

In this article:

  1. When Will I Get My Period After Giving Birth?
  2. What Is the Difference Between Lochia and a Period?
  3. Why Will I Have Irregular Periods After Pregnancy?
  4. Will I Experience Changes When I Get My Period After Baby?
  5. Should I Worry About My First Period After Baby?
  6. Why Is Breastfeeding a Factor in Getting Your Period Back?
  7. Is There a Connection Between My Period and Breastfeeding Milk Supply?
  8. What Effect Will Birth Control Have on My Period?

Period After Baby FAQs | What Every Mom Should Know

When Will I Get My Period After Giving Birth?

Woman Holding Menstruation Calendar | Period After Baby: What To Expect | irregular periods after pregnancy

Different women will get their periods back at different times. For those who are not breastfeeding, the menstrual period can return between six to eight weeks after giving birth. On the other hand, moms who breastfeed may expect a different turnout.

Moms who exclusively breastfeed may not get their periods back as long as they’re breastfeeding. But of course, there are still other moms who will get their periods back in a couple of months or so whether they breastfeed or not.

Tip: For moms who had a vaginal delivery, do not use tampons when you have your first period after pregnancy. This may affect the healing process.

What Is the Difference Between Lochia and a Period?

Lochia Definition: It is a vaginal discharge after a woman gives birth.

After you give birth to your baby, whether it’s a vaginal or C-section delivery, every mom should expect vaginal discharge and bleeding. This is because the uterus continues to shed blood and tissue from its lining.

In the first weeks, blood will appear as blood clots. After that, your body will discharge lochia. This will appear as a clear or creamy fluid, and the color ranges from white to red.

Your lochia discharge can last for six weeks. If your lochia has stopped and then you experience bleeding again, that is probably your period.

How can you be sure? Here’s how you can tell:

  • After the first week of giving birth, lochia has a lighter color (can be watery in texture or white). After six weeks, if the blood is bright red, that is most likely your period.
  • Are you engaging in physical activity or exerting a lot of effort? If you observe the amount of your discharge is increasing, that’s probably lochia.
  • Lochia smells a bit sweet. If you smell a foul odor, you may need to consult your doctor.

Why Will I Have Irregular Periods After Pregnancy?

As your body adjusts to the changes, so does your reproductive system. It may take a while for your menstrual cycle to become regular again. It is possible to experience skipping a cycle or even getting it earlier than you should.

You can also expect an irregular period while breastfeeding in your first postpartum year. There will be changes in the duration of your cycles, the time between the cycles, as well as the intensity or your periods.

But just to give you a good idea on what the normal menstrual cycle is postpartum, it is 21 to 35 days, and the bleeding may last from two to seven days, according to Cleveland Clinic.

Will I Experience Changes When I Get My Period After Baby?

Unfortunately, yes. Your body underwent major changes, which means your body is adjusting to the menstrual cycle again. Some of the changes you may experience include:

  • Increased pain
  • Heavier flow
  • Stronger or lighter cramping
  • Inconsistent flow
  • Irregular cycles

You can expect that the first period after giving birth will be heavier and you may experience intense cramping. This is because of the shedding of a significant amount of the uterine lining. Don’t worry, though: as your period continues, the changes will be less dramatic.

In addition, you may also experience painful postpartum periods. This can be due to the increased uterine cramping, breastfeeding hormones, and a bigger uterine cavity.

RELATED: Newborn Hiccups | Is It Normal And What Can I Do?

Should I Worry About My First Period After Baby?

Some women will undergo intense and heavy bleeding, which may be a cause of concern. Check out these symptoms to determine if it’s time to call your doctor:

  • You soak a pad every hour; you have an extremely heavy postpartum period.
  • Your bleeding is accompanied by severe pain.
  • You have a sudden fever.
  • You are bleeding for more than a week.
  • The blood clots are bigger than a softball.
  • The discharge has a foul odor.
  • You experience a severe headache.
  • There is pain when urinating.
  • You have trouble breathing.

Tip: If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor right away as you may have an infection.

Why Is Breastfeeding a Factor in Getting Your Period Back?

Mother Breastfeed Her Newborn | Period After Baby: What To Expect | irregular periods after pregnancy

Breastfeeding mothers usually won’t have their periods back immediately because the body produces prolactin, a hormone needed to produce breast milk. Prolactin suppresses the reproductive hormones, so your body doesn’t ovulate.

Prolactin Definition: A hormone that stimulates milk production after a woman gives birth. It is released by the anterior pituitary gland.

Is There a Connection Between My Period and Breastfeeding Milk Supply?

Your milk supply may be affected once you have your first period postpartum. Your supply can decrease and this will have an impact on how often your baby wants to nurse. Further, your period may also affect the taste and composition of your breast milk, but it’s not really something worth losing sleep over.

What Effect Will Birth Control Have on My Period?

There are moms who rely on exclusive breastfeeding to be their natural method of birth control. While breastfeeding can reduce fertility, it is not a foolproof way to avoid getting pregnant.

All the more when your period returns and you’re still breastfeeding. This lessens your chances of birth control further.

Moms who want to practice birth control can turn to other methods like copper intrauterine device (IUD), diaphragms, and condoms if breastfeeding. If you prefer taking pills, you can consult your doctor and ask for birth control pills that are safe for lactating mothers and nursing babies.

Diaphragm Definition: It is a dome-shaped rubber disk that comes with a flexible rim that covers the cervix. This prevents the sperm from entering the uterus. If spermicide is applied to the diaphragm before insertion, it will immediately kill sperm cells.

 

Although there is a wide range of normal and it varies from mother to mother, it is good to have an idea about what to expect during your first period after baby. Find out more on what to expect about your first period after childbirth in this video from Oakdale OBGYN – Maple Grove:

It is understandable to feel anxious about getting your period back after having a baby. But whether you get your period immediately after giving birth or months after, what’s important is you know the symptoms to watch out for in case there’s a health issue that needs to be addressed.

Do not worry too much about it. If it’s time, it will come. Just always listen to your body and stay healthy for your baby!

Do you have other questions about your period after baby? Let us know in the comments section below!

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