Pregnancy brings about major changes in your body. Post-baby birth, the changes are still evident even as new changes begin to surface. One such major change is with your menstrual cycle. During pregnancy, your period had gone on an extended vacation. But now that you have delivered your baby, what do you expect from your period after pregnancy? When do you expect it to return? Will it be the same as usual? Or will it be different? There are too many questions on your mind. Let us see what happens to your menstrual cycle after pregnancy.
Menstrual Period After Pregnancy
When can you expect your first period after baby? Immediately after delivery, you will have a slightly heavier blood loss compared to your normal period. You can expect a deep red colored blood discharge during this period, and the blood flow will gradually decrease over the course of a week. The color of blood will become pale. In some new moms, the color may turn yellow-white before it stops completely. Light blood loss may continue to occur in the form of spotting for about 6 weeks. It varies from one woman to another.
It is your breastfeeding status that plays a crucial role in deciding when you’ll get your period after pregnancy. The hormone prolactin that helps in the production of breast milk suppresses ovulation. This means if you breastfeed exclusively, your menstrual cycle will delay for a few days when you until you stop breastfeeding.
- The menstrual period after baby returns typically after four to ten weeks for women who choose not to breastfeed.
- Contrarily, it may take a few weeks or months for the restoration of the menstrual cycle after pregnancy for mothers who breast- and formula-feed.
- Nursing moms who breastfeed exclusively usually do not have their first period as long as they are breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding can delay menstruation for up to 20 weeks, but in some women, the period may return sooner or later than 20 weeks.
Is Your Menstrual Period After Pregnancy Different?
When periods after delivery resume, you can expect them to be heavier. Typically, the menstrual cycle is more irregular than normal for several months after delivery. The first periods after baby won’t be like your periods before your pregnancy. Chances are the first period postpartum are quite heavy. Your body is adjusting to menstruation. Some of the differences may include:
- Small blood clots
- Cramping that may be light or strong
- Heavy blood flow
- Flow that may start and stop intermittently
After delivery, your body continues to shed blood and tissue. This is the same tissue that lined your uterus during pregnancy.
- Initially, the blood might be heavier. It may be in the form of blood clots.
- After a few weeks, you may spot vaginal discharge in the form of white or creamy fluid. The discharge may continue for six weeks.
Changes in Menstrual Period After Pregnancy
Your period may change significantly after childbirth. Or there may be no change at all in your menstrual cycle after baby. In some cases, there may be a few changes. You may experience increased or decreased cramping. If you had been on hormonal contraception earlier, bleeding may be heavier after childbirth because these contraceptives weaken the endometrial lining.
The size of the uterus grows during pregnancy. It starts shrinking postpartum. As the body goes through the changes during pregnancy and delivery, the endometrial lining begins to remodel itself.
Your hormones will take some time to get back to normal after childbirth. If you are breastfeeding, it may take even longer. Some other changes related to your menstrual cycle after pregnancy and delivery include:
- Change in menstruation after pregnancy – The first one may be 24 days, while the next one could be 28 days, and the next one even longer. The menstrual cycle will take some time before it stabilizes.
- It may stabilize within a few months.
- Your normal cycle may be restored after you’ve stopped nursing your baby.
These changes are normal after childbirth. However, there are a few causes for concern that you should consult your doctor for, including
- Heavy bleeding to the extent that you need more than one pad every hour
- Sudden fever
- Severe pain and bleeding
- Clotting larger than a quarter
- Heavy bleeding that continues for several days
- Skipping period after the restoration of menstruation post-delivery
- Spotting between periods
- No resumption of menstruation three months after delivery or breastfeeding
The Reason for Heavy Bleeding
There are a few factors that can cause heavy bleeding after childbirth. This includes weight gain, uterine fibroids or polyps, thyroid abnormalities, and/or stress.
Usually, weight gain is associated with the production of more estrogen in the fat cells, which can influence the length of your periods. This may also have an influence on how heavy the periods are.
If you suddenly see heavier than a normal period after childbirth, it is important to see your doctor to rule out any other serious condition. The doctor may ask for a hormonal level checkup to see if there is a significant imbalance. You may also be required to do a test for anemia.
A return to your normal menstrual cycle is a part of the recovery process after childbirth. You can expect to return to your pre-pregnancy body after this. In some women, the delay in menstruation may be due to hormone imbalance due to breastfeeding.
Taking care of your postpartum body is critically important to get back to your normal self after delivery. It is also important to take steps to prevent the risk of falling into postpartum depression.
Ravneet also blogs at www.wellnessguide.com