Menstruation after labour

Menstruation after labour
During pregnancy, your period doesn't come, but once you've given birth, the question arises: when does your period come back? And the answer is not so simple because there are large variations for different women - as with so many other things when it comes to the body. There are also different factors that affect when your period comes back after giving birth, such as whether or not you are breastfeeding. The first period after childbirth can take up to 6 months and in some cases up to a year. 


When does my period return after labour? 

In the immediate postpartum period, all women experience bleeding. It is like a heavy period which then subsides and becomes less frequent over time, lasting about 6-8 weeks after the birth. It comes from the wound created when the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus and is called rejection. But this is not your real period. If you experience heavy bleeding after childbirth or feel worried, you should contact your local healthcare provider. 


First period after childbirth 

It is very individual when your first period comes back after childbirth and it is impossible to predict when your period "should" come back. It simply happens at the pace of your body. For some, it takes a few weeks and for other women it takes several months, or not until fertilisation is complete. The body goes through a major change after childbirth and needs to reset itself to regain its hormonal balance. When your period starts up again, it is recommended that you use sanitary pads that are not inserted into the vagina until you have healed, such as sanitary towels or period pants. Therefore, wait to use a tampon or menstrual cup after giving birth to avoid the risk of infection. 


Menstruation after breastfeeding 

You do not usually get your period while you are breastfeeding. It can take several months to get your period back, and the longer you breastfeed, the longer it can take. However, it varies a lot from person to person. Some women who breastfeed can get their period back after giving birth after just 6 weeks, for others it can take 3-6 months and sometimes it takes a year. It can also vary whether you are fully breastfeeding or not breastfeeding at night. If you don't breastfeed at night, your period may come back a little earlier. It's a huge variation. 

The reason why you don't get your period while breastfeeding is because of the hormone prolactin. Prolactin stimulates milk production and milk supply during breastfeeding. Prolactin also inhibits ovulation, so you don't get your period. The more you breastfeed, the more prolactin is produced, and hence milk production. It is difficult to know when ovulation will return after childbirth, so it is important to protect yourself even if your period has not returned after pregnancy. 

If you feed your baby with formula milk, your period may return more quickly after delivery than if you breastfeed. You may get your period back after just four weeks, but this is not very common. Most women who use only formula or combine formula and breastfeeding after childbirth get their periods back in about 6-12 weeks. If you combine breastfeeding and formula, your period may return after 6-12 weeks, but it may also take a few months. But your period usually comes sooner than if you only breastfeed. 


Irregular periods after childbirth 

Don't be worried if you have a change in your period after your pregnancy. Initially you will have a much heavier period and it may take a few periods before it starts to subside. Some women also experience irregular periods after childbirth, but this usually returns once the hormones are back in balance. 

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