How Will My Postpartum Period Be Different
Your period may change a little, a lot, or not at all. You may have longer or shorter ones, a heavier or lighter flow, and even your cycle length can be different, Dr. White says. It’s also possible to have increased or decreased cramping. This is because your uterus grows during pregnancy then it shrinks after delivery . The endometrial liningwhat is shed during a periodhas to remodel itself as it goes through these changes, says Dr. White. This process occurs with each pregnancy, so you may notice changes in your period after each baby.
Your postpartum period may also be heavier if you’d been on hormonal birth control before pregnancysuch as the pill or some IUDssince hormonal contraceptives thin the endometrial lining. “If you have a vaginal delivery, a tampon might sit differently or feel different,” adds Siobhan Dolan, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Montefiore Medical Center, in the Bronx, New York. Generally, most women don’t need to go up a size in tampons. With time, using a tampon should feel as normal as it did before.
Is Pregnancy Possible During Your Period Break
Yes. You can become pregnant during this period break. However, exclusive breastfeeding is sometimes used as a birth control method. It’s known as the lactational amenorrhoea method . This method, though, only works if
- You practice exclusive breastfeeding. This includes day and night. The intervals between breastfeeding shouldnt be longer than 4 hours during the day and not more than 6 months during the night.
- You nurse on demand. This means you let your baby feed any time they feel like it.
- Let your baby satisfy their suckling needs by letting them breastfeed to their satisfaction. Do not use pacifiers.
- Your baby must be 6 months or younger. If your baby is older than this, that means your periods are just around the corner and you should use extra protection methods.
- This must be before your period starts.
LAM is 98% effective. Breastfeeding exclusively and consistently does not assure you full protection. The Protective feature in breastfeeding becomes less effective with time. This is because even though you may not get your period, you are still ovulating. Ensure you use the necessary protection to prevent unwanted pregnancies while breastfeeding.
Why Do Periods Stop During Pregnancy
Each month, your body goes through a cycle of changes to prepare for a potential pregnancy. One of your ovaries releases an egg, hormones prepare the vagina and cervix to support possible sperm, and your womb or uterus thickens to nurture a possible baby. If you dont become pregnant, on day 28 on average the cycle ends and the lining of your womb sheds this blood is your period. If you have sex during a cycle and your egg meets a sperm, you can become pregnant. Throughout your pregnancy, your body retains the lining of your womb, which is why you stop getting your period during this time.
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When Will It Arrive
Among women who do not breastfeed or who breastfeed on an irregular schedule, menstruation tends to return more quickly.
A 2011 analysis of six previous studies found that most women got their first periods between 45 and 94 days after giving birth. One study in the review found that the average first period happened at 74 days postpartum.
The main factor affecting the timing of the first postpartum period is ovulation. Women who want to check whether they are ovulating can try using an ovulation predictor kit , which are available in pharmacies and online.
Measuring basal body temperature every day can also help detect ovulation.
How Can You Tell If It Is A First Period After A Baby Or Lochia
All women bleed after giving birth. This is known as lochia and its the bodys way of removing blood, mucous and placental tissue from the womb. Lochia starts soon after birth regardless of whether youve had a vaginal birth or a Caesarean and usually lasts between 2-6 weeks, but can go on for longer. It starts off as relatively heavy and, over time, becomes lighter in flow.
Lochia flow becomes more moderate after a day or so and will get lighter as the days go on until its more like spotting. It will change colour, too beginning as red or brownish-red, then going darker brown or pinkish red.
Lochia starts to change colour toward the end it becomes a dark brown colour., explains Marie Louise. Blood from your first postpartum period will look different. When your period starts, it tends to be a brighter colour. Theres usually a few weeks between lochia stopping and your period starting.
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Fertility And Birth Control After Birth
It is usually improbable that you will ovulate within the first six weeks after childbirth. When you have your doctors check-up at six weeks after childbirth, it is wise to discuss a method of birth control even if you don’t have your first period after birth.
Contraception for Nursing Mums
Many women depend on breastfeeding as a form of contraception. This has a failure rate of roughly 2%. Using breastfeeding exclusively as a means of birth control is also termed as Lactational Amenorrhea Method . In some women, ovulation doesnt commence until after breastfeeding has completely stopped. It is a reliable form of contraception provided:
- You breastfeed frequently-feeds that are no longer than 4-6 hours apart.
- Your infant is exclusively breastfed-not given any supplementary formula feeds.
- Your baby is under 6 months old.
- You have not yet had a normal menstrual cycle.
Besides, non-hormonal choices are preferred such as a diaphragm or condoms. Some women prefer a progestin-only contraceptive pill or Depo-Provera . Talk to your doctor about your options.
Contraception for Non-Nursing Mums
How Do You Know If You Are Ovulating?
- Test Kits
There are test kits available commercially that can confirm ovulation.
- Basal Body Temperature
Plot your body temperature during your cycle and you can see your temperature spike slightly when you are ovulating.
- Cervical Mucus
- Increase of Libido
Bleeding And Periods What Can I Expect After Birth
In the first few days after birth, its normal to have some period-like bleeding as your uterus contracts back to the size it was before pregnancy. Bleeding immediately after birth can be fairly heavy. It can also be bright red for the first couple of days, but gradually becomes a brownish colour before it stops after about 2 months. Bleeding might be heavier in the morning when you get up, after breastfeeding or after exercise.
Uncontrolled heavy bleeding after birth, called a postpartum haemorrhage, can be a serious concern.
If you’ve given birth more than 24 hours ago, contact your doctor or midwife immediately if you notice:
- blood that soaks more than one pad every 1 to 2 hours
- a sudden increase in blood or large clots
- blood which suddenly turns bright red in colour
- dizziness, weakness or trouble breathing
- anything else that seems unusual about your post-birth bleeding
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Will The Milk Change After Your Period Starts
The change in the amount of milk produced may be unnoticeable when your period begins. Sometimes, there may be a dip in your breast milk supply, change of taste, and your nipple might become a bit tender. The change in taste of milk is because the amount of sodium and chlorides in the milk go up while the amount of potassium and lactose goes down during ovulation leaving the milk tasting a little more salty than usual. But this is just for some time. A rise in estrogen and progesterone levels during ovulation makes the breast feel full and tender. The high level of estrogen also causes calcium levels to go down, leading to a dip in milk levels and sore nipples.
Bleeding Or Spotting For A Few Days After Delivery Is Not Period
In the first few weeks after delivery, you may notice some bleeding. This is lochia, a normal discharge that contains blood, mucus, and uterine tissue. This should not be confused with your usual period. Usually, fresh red blood gradually changes to pinkish spotting after the first 4 days after childbirth. For some women, it is normal for spotting to continue up to 6 weeks. But do consult your gynecologist if you notice any greenish color or unusual odor in the lochia these may be signs of an infection.6
Do remember that lochial discharge and period cannot take place simultaneously because for the menstrual cycle to resume, the uterus must go back to its pre-pregnancy stage. If you are not breastfeeding, the gap between the end of your lochia and the beginning of your first period after pregnancy could be anywhere from a couple of days to a week. If you are breastfeeding, it could be several months.
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Can I Use Tampons After Giving Birth
Even if you think your period has started again, dont use a tampon until youve had your 6-week postnatal check. This is because you still have a wound where the placenta joined with the wall of your womb. Using internal sanitary products before the wound has healed could increase your chance of infection. Its best to use maternity pads instead.
When Your First Postpartum Period Does Arrive You Can Expect It To Return To What It Was Like Before You Had Your Baby Though Potentially A Little Heavier
Initially, your first postpartum period might be heavier, especially if you had a C-section, Dr. Phillips says. The uterus may still be shedding its lining from pregnancy, so there might be additional blood.
There is not usually an increase in pain with your postpartum periods, though, Dr. Phillips says. The period of lochia discharge usually involves cramping, as your uterus is contracting and returning to its regular size. But often, your actual period, once it arrives, will be about the same in terms of pain, cramps, and PMS symptoms as it was before you gave birth .
In terms of regularity, youll most likely experience regular periods after birth, Dr. Phillips says, with a cycle of about 21 to 35 days in length . But this, too, can fluctuate based on breastfeeding sometimes your period will stop and start a few times before getting back to normal. Your second period after birth will tend to be more like your pre-pregnancy periods in terms of flow and length, however.
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But We All Bleed After Birth: Is That Not A Period
Straight after giving birth, youll find you have bleeding for around 2 to 3 weeks afterwards . This isnt the same as a period although it can seem like a very heavy one but is blood and tissue shed from your uterus lining, and it will taper off gradually.
If youre still bleeding very heavily for several weeks after giving birth, though, you should see your GP.
And you should seek medical help if you have any smelly discharge in the days after the birth, as this could be a sign that not all the placenta was removed and this can be pretty serious.
Your First Postpartum Period Will Probably Be Heavier Than Before Pregnancy
Whenever your period does return after having a baby, it will likely be in full forceit’s not only shedding your uterine lining, but also shedding any clots or old blood from the delivery process.
This time around, you might also experience ovulation pain, wonderfully known as mittelschmerz . In some cases, women who have been pregnant may be more attuned or more sensitive to the one-sided abdominal twinging that comes with the action of an egg being released from an ovary.
While this can be a less-than-pleasant experience, Sauter says that many women eventually experience less painful and intense periods as they get farther away from their baby’s birth.If you experience very heavy bleedingfilling a pad or period underwear in an hour or two, having multiple clots or one clot that is the size of a golf ball or largerseek emergency medical care immediately. Also look out for fevers, chills, lightheadedness, foul-smelling blood or discharge, belly pain, rapid heart rate or breathing rate or any other worrying signs, and seek medical care right away if you have them.
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Can I Use Breastfeeding As A Form Of Contraception
Because breastfeeding can suppress ovulation, some women use it as a form of natural contraception. This is known as the Lactational Amenorrhoea Method . It’s important to start using another form of contraception if:
- your baby is more than 6 months old
- you give them anything else apart from breast milk, such as a dummy, formula or solid foods
- your periods start again
- you stop night feeding
- you start to breastfeed less often
- there are longer intervals between feeds, both during the day and at night.
It is important to note that experts dont know how expressing breastmilk affects LAM, but it may make it less effective.
NHS has more information about natural family planning.
What Causes Postpartum Bleeding
Your uterus has provided a safe little home for your baby the past nine months.
After your baby arrives, the uterus naturally sheds the extra material that was being used to keep the baby healthy and safe. This shedding causes vaginal bleeding and discharge called lochia.
Postpartum bleeding will start within hours to a day of you having your baby and can last up to six weeks. Youll have more bleeding during the first two weeks after having your baby. Your flow will gradually become lighter, although you can still experience lochia for up to six weeks postpartum.
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Is Spotting And Discharge Normal After Birth
Absolutely. Even if youâre in great shape and well-prepared to give birth, your body will need to go through a major recovery process. Labor is the ultimate workout, so your muscles will be achy. If you had a vaginal delivery, youâll be extremely tender. And if you had stitches, they will be painful and take time to heal. During the first four weeks postpartum, you will notice a pink-brown discharge called lochia. This is totally normal. Even though it might look like a period, it isnâtâjust the natural process of your uterus shedding blood, mucus, and tissue after birth. Just be sure to wear a pad and change it often.