One of the perks of pregnancy is not having a period. At this very busy time, not needing to buy products or battle with period pains – at least for a while – is one less thing for you to think about.
But what happens to your period when your little one arrives? It’s easy to feel out of touch with your body and like you need advice when you’re a new mum – you’ll experience a lot of physical changes during pregnancy and childbirth! But understanding what to expect from your period can help you to feel more prepared for the journey ahead!
After having a baby, you will bleed from your vagina from around 2 to 6 weeks, regardless of whether your delivery was vaginal or a c-section. This is not your period – it’s actually something called lochia. Lochia is your womb lining shedding and it’s completely normal. Bleeding tends to be heavy directly after giving birth and then, over the coming days and weeks, significantly reduces to be like an extended period.
When to expect your first period after pregnancy
The time it will take for your period to return after having a baby often depends on how you choose to feed your baby. If you bottle feed your baby, or combine bottle feeding and breastfeeding, you could have your first period 5-6 weeks after birth. Exclusively breastfeeding your baby might mean that you won’t get your first postpartum period until after you’ve stopped or reduced the number of breastfeeds. This is because your body will be creating more of the hormone, prolactin, which is needed to produce breast milk. Prolactin can suppress your reproductive hormones and cause you not to ovulate, which is likely to stop you menstruating.
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It’s important to remember that everyone is different, and that your first postnatal period may come earlier or later. But if anything is causing you concern or is particularly painful, be sure to seek medical help as soon as possible.
First period after pregnancy
Your first period after having a baby probably won’t be like the periods you were used to before you got pregnant. This is because you won’t have menstruated in a long time and your body will be getting back into its natural rhythm. Here are a few changes you might notice during your first postpartum period:
- Irregular periods
- Less or more painful period cramps
- Small blood clots
- Heavier blood flow
- Longer than average period
Any changes in your period might be temporary – they could go away after your first postnatal period and your periods could return to how they were before you were pregnant. This is often the case, but for other people the changes might be more permanent.
When to see a doctor
No matter how your period changes after birth, extreme period pain or incredibly heavy flows are not normal. If you experience periods that stop you from living your normal life, you should see your doctor or OB/GYN.
What are the biggest changes you’ve noticed in your periods since becoming a mum? Share your stories in the comments!