First period after pregnancy: What to expect

First period after pregnancy: What to expect

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When will I get my period after my baby is born?

As a general guideline, you can expect your first period after pregnancy:

  • 6 to 8 weeks after your baby is born if you don't breastfeed
  • 4 to 8 weeks after you start supplementing breastfeeding with formula or solids
  • 7 or 8 months, or even longer, after you give birth if you're breastfeeding exclusively – some women don't start having periods again until they stop nursing

The main factors that affect how soon you'll start getting periods again after giving birth are whether you're breastfeeding and, if so, how much. That's because hormones your body produces when you're nursing typically suppresses ovulation.

These time frames are approximate. There's no reliable way to predict exactly when you'll get your first period after pregnancy or what that first period after having a baby will be like, because every woman's body is different.

Also, it's normal to have bleeding and discharge immediately after giving birth, but this is not a period. This postpartum bleeding, called lochia, can linger for six to eight weeks.

How does breastfeeding influence when I'll get my first period after pregnancy?

The less often your baby nurses, the sooner your period will likely come back. If your baby sleeps through the night from an early age, or if you're supplementing with formula, it's likely your period will return sooner than it would if you were exclusively and frequently breastfeeding.

However, breastfeeding's effects on menstrual cycles vary widely. Some women who breastfeed exclusively around the clock may start menstruating a month after giving birth, while others who supplement with formula may not get their period for several months.

Remember, breastfeeding is no guarantee ovulation will stop – and you can get pregnant while you're breastfeeding.

Will my periods change after having a baby? Is it normal for them to be irregular or very heavy?

Yes, it's normal if your menstrual flow is different than it was before you became a mom. Some women's cycles return without much change, but most take three to six months to go back to how they were before pregnancy.

Differences in your period after pregnancy, if any, can vary from person to person. Your first periods may:

  • Be irregular, especially if you're still breastfeeding
  • Cause worse cramps and pain – or be less painful
  • Be heavier – or be lighter
  • Come with small blood clots

Can I get pregnant after giving birth if I'm haven't got my period yet?

Yes. While it would be unusual, you can get pregnant in as little as three weeks after giving birth, even if your periods haven't started. (However, most doctors recommend that you wait at least four weeks before you have sex after giving birth to give your body time to heal.)

Regardless of whether or not you're breastfeeding, your body will release its first postpartum egg before you menstruate. So if you don't start using birth control as soon as you start having sex again, you can get pregnant even before having your first period.

Can I use tampons when I get my first period after giving birth?

Don't use tampons for at least six weeks after you give birth and you've had your first postpartum checkup. That's because your body will be discharging lochia and shedding your uterine lining, and it's best not to hinder that flow. This normal bleeding after giving birth is usually complete by around six weeks, and it's safe to use tampons for your period after that.

Will getting my period affect my breast milk?

You may not notice much difference, but a few days before and during your period, hormone changes can cause:

  • Decreased milk supply
  • Sore nipples, which can make nursing uncomfortable
  • Your milk to taste a little different to your baby

These changes are usually very mild and last only a few days, but if you're nursing, your baby may want to:

  • Breastfeed more because of the lower milk supply
  • Breastfeed less because of the taste

It's unlikely, but if problems with milk supply continue, there are steps you can take to increase your milk supply.

When should I call the doctor?

  • Ongoing irregular or very heavy periods: If your periods don't become more regular after a few months, or if you've had very heavy periods for more than two or three cycles (meaning you're soaking through a pad or tampon every hour for several hours in a row), let your doctor know. She may want to check for uterine or hormonal issues.
  • Longer delay when you're not breastfeeding: If you're formula-feeding your baby and don't get your period by three months postpartum, talk to your doctor. She may want to check for secondary amenorrhea (that's when women with previously normal cycles don't have a period for three months), pregnancy, or other issues.
  • You're concerned: Your first periods after pregnancy may be different than before you had a baby. If you're wondering whether your situation is normal, check with your doctor.

Learn more

After childbirth: 7 things no one tells you (video)

6 things you need for postpartum recovery (video)

Watch the video: When will my periods return to normal after my childbirth - discussion with Dr Tony Bushati (June 2022).

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