So you’ve just had a baby and life is quite different and is all about feeding schedules and new sleeping habits. For all this new mom craze (and joy!), You probably also have tons of questions about the weird body things that are happening to * you * in those first few months. Example: WTF runs with your puerperium periods?
Your body will get used to not being pregnant for the first month or two after giving birth, and you will experience fairly constant bleeding. But that’s not really your period returning to your pre-natal schedule. The first period after pregnancy will likely take a couple of months to get started again, although this will vary from person to person and will depend on whether or not you are breastfeeding. And in some cases, it may be different than your pre-pregnancy period.
Before doing this, a gynecologist will explain everything you should know about postpartum bleeding and what to expect from the first real period after pregnancy.
The immediate bleeding after having a baby isn’t actually your period, for your information.
Even if it feels like you have a long period after giving birth (and using a * tonne * of pads), the bleeding you are experiencing is not actually your period. This is called bleeding after childbirth Lochia, is your uterus, which sheds any mucous membranes that were built up during pregnancy. “The blood, mucus and discharge from these make-up lochia can persist for up to six to eight weeks after the birth,” explains Dr. Kameelah Phillips, a gynecologist and founder of Calla Women’s Health.
Lochia can walk up and down during this postpartum time (pun intended), says Dr. Phillips. It tends to be red in color, then transition to pink, and then turn yellowish-white in color. After this progression, which usually lasts a month and a half or two, you may find that your periods return, which are generally bright red again or the color you are used to. In other cases, it will take longer to menstruate again.
When your actual period returns may depend on breastfeeding.
“The return of your menstruation depends on the person and the regularity of breastfeeding,” says Dr. Phillips. Sometimes the longer you breastfeed, the longer it will take for your periods to return to normal. That’s because breastfeeding releases a hormone called prolactin, which can send a message to the brain to delay the hormonal process of ovulation (because you’re literally feeding a baby right now).
“Lactation menorrhea, the missed period due to breastfeeding, can last up to a year or more depending on the person,” adds Dr. Phillips added. Some people consider lactation menorrhea a form of birth control (that is, if your baby is under six months old, does not eat solid foods or infant formula, and you are not getting your period), but it * will * not * be a safe method to use Contraception.
Other people get their periods back faster, even when they are breastfeeding. Your periods usually don’t affect your milk supply, says Dr. Phillips (but if you are struggling with milk production or feeding, it is best to check with your gynecologist who can refer you to a lactation consultant). It means you can get pregnant as soon as your period returns; You will likely start ovulating regularly once your period is back on schedule.
When your first postpartum period arrives, you can expect it to be back to how it was before your baby was born, albeit possibly a little heavier.
At first, your first postpartum period might be heavier, especially if you’ve had a c-section, says Dr. Phillips. The uterus may still shed its lining from pregnancy, so extra blood may be present.
Usually, however, the pain doesn’t increase after childbirth, says Dr. Phillips. The lachia discharge period usually involves cramps as your uterus contracts and returns to its normal size. But often, once it comes, your actual period will be about the same in pain, cramping, and PMS symptoms as it was before the birth (unfortunately for some people).
In terms of regularity, you will most likely experience regular periods after giving birth, says Dr. Phillips, with a cycle of around 21 to 35 days (or whatever “regular” means to you). But this, too, can vary depending on the breastfeeding period; sometimes your period will stop and start a few times before it goes back to normal. However, your second postpartum period will be more similar in flow and length to your pre-pregnancy periods.
You can usually resume birth control six to eight weeks after the delivery if you want.
Returning to birth control really depends on you and what birth control you were (or did not have) on before you became pregnant. But it’s entirely possible that after the lochia ends, you could get back on your feet immediately and get pregnant again within the first few months after giving birth – whether you plan to do so or not.
If that’s not something you’re trying to talk to your gynecologist about birth control options. “We usually start birth control six to eight weeks after we’re born,” says Dr. Phillips, “but depending on the patient, we can initiate birth control immediately after the birth.” It is individually tailored to the patient – you have to decide what works for you, whether you want to use hormonal contraception or not and how you distribute the births want if you want more kids.
It is important to have a thorough discussion with your doctor about postpartum birth control as it affects your menstrual cycle and can also change your bleeding patterns, adds Dr. Phillips added.
Ultimately, tHere is a wide range of things that are considered “normal” for both postpartum bleeding and your first real periods after pregnancy.
There is usually nothing to worry about if your period doesn’t look or feel exactly the way you were used to before the birth. However, if you experience any of the following symptoms, you should contact your doctor.
- Profuse bleeding. Bleeding is common in the first few weeks after giving birth. However, if the severity persists beyond those six to eight weeks, call your doctor.
- Big clots. Clot settling is also normal, but if clots are accompanied by abnormally heavy bleeding and larger than a walnut, this could be cause for concern, says Dr. Phillips. Pay attention to the severity of the blood, as well as the size of the clot.
- Bleeding from multiple pads. You will be using a variety of sanitary napkins, both during your lochia period and at the beginning of your period. However, if you need two sanitary napkins at the same time after giving birth (during lochia or when your period starts again) and you’re still bleeding through them, talk to your doctor.
- Drowsiness or fainting. If you feel particularly weak, light-headed, or passed out after the birth, it may be because of excessive bleeding. This could be a sign of anemia, so see your gynecologist for a blood test.
The bottom line: Most women start menstruating again about a month and a half to two months after giving birth, although this can vary and depends on breastfeeding. Your periods can also be heavier and more irregular at first, but will likely return to what you experienced before you became pregnant.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com
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