First Period After Pregnancy, Irregular, How Long Should it Last?, Look Like?

First period after pregnancy may come as early as 3 to 5 weeks after delivery or as late as 9 months after giving birth depending on several factors listed below. Breast feeding mothers may have different experience compared to those that chose not to breastfeed.

Another thing is that you will go for at least nine months before you can get your next period depending on your activities like breastfeeding the baby or not and other hormonal changes. But just because you have given birth does not mean that you will not be curious to learn more about what happens to your monthly visitor.

First period after pregnancy, Irregular, spotting after delivery
First period after pregnancy, Irregular, spotting after delivery

After giving birth, you will find that there are a number of things you get to love about yourself; namely the new found appreciation you get for your body, as well as the glow that comes with giving birth.

The return of your monthly period normally depends on whether you are breastfeeding the newborn or not. And in the same way you experienced some changes to your body after you gave birth, you should expect to notice some changes in your cycle as well.

After How Long Should The First Period After Delivery Start?

According to Dr. Karoline Pahl from Baby Center UK, “it is not always easy to pinpoint when the periods will come back or resume. The timing tends to differ from one mother to the next. It also depends on how you are feeding the baby, and the condition that your body is currently in after recently giving birth”

Breastfeeding mothers will find that it will take longer for their periods to come back. In some cases, it could take as long as one year before they can get a period, provided that they have been breastfeeding all through. If you have chosen to formula feed the baby, your case will be much different.

The periods might resume between five weeks and three months after delivery. There is, therefore, a chance that you may be fertile again within three weeks after delivery. If you happen to be breastfeeding the young one, and the child sleeps peacefully throughout the night from birth, the menstrual cycle may start between three and eight months after birth.

The suckling from the baby suppresses hormones responsible for triggering your ovulation. As such, a gap in the feeding pattern, even for a single night, could encourage your body to start releasing the hormones once again. This may, in turn, cause your periods to begin.

It is the same thing that applies when using a formula to feed your child. In short, when you breastfeed your child often, or the more time that the child spends suckling your breasts, the longer it will be before your cycle can start. There are mums who use lactational amenorrhea method (LAM) of birth control.

LAMs effectiveness is determined by how long the baby gets to suckle per feed. The only time you should consider this form of birth control should be when you are comfortable with the idea of becoming pregnant once again. Exclusive feeding is not a guarantee that you will not start to ovulate soon.

How long should First Period After Giving Birth Last

You should know that the first period after pregnancy not only last longer than it normally does, but it will also be heavier. It may also be accompanied by lots of pain. The primary reason for this is that your body has begun to adjust to the recent changes it went through.

The body has not had a cycle for nine months and is, therefore, a little new to the period. The body should start adjusting soon allowing things to go back to normal. You will not face any problems after the adjustment period has come to an end.

Actually, statistics show that many women go back to their normal periods soon after the first period has passed by. You should, therefore, not worry at all if you find that your period has lasted for a longer duration than it normally does. But all women are different, which means that it may not last as long as that of your friend or relative.

The length of your periods can also be influenced by other factors like:

  1. Weight gain or loss
  2. Thyroid abnormalities
  3. Stressful conditions leading to the release of prolactin
  4. You could also be in your perimenopause zone

How does First period after delivery look like, Heavy or light

Theoretically speaking, the same period that you had before becoming pregnant is the same as the one you should be having post-delivery. Your period will return around the tenth week if you have chosen not to breastfeed your baby, and at around the twentieth week if you are breastfeeding. But this varies as mentioned earlier.

A delay in the onset of your cycle is normally occasioned by the release of prolactin—the hormone responsible for encouraging milk production—and the one responsible for inhibiting ovulation as well. It should, therefore, not be alarming if it takes more than twenty weeks for you to get back to your normal cycle.

should first period after pregnancy be heavy or light?

You are likely to experience a significant change in the nature of your period after you have given birth. This is more so if you were on the pill before you decided to become pregnant. You need to remember that the period you were having when you were on birth control was not a normal period.

It was withdrawal bleeding that was occasioned by using synthetic hormones for twenty-one days. Discovering your real period could, therefore, be a real shocker. According to Stephanie Rhone, an OB/GYN at a health center in Vancouver, hormonal contraception, be it an IUD or the birth pill will tend to cause a very light period.

Therefore, the new heavy and really painful period being experienced after birth may be your normal cycle that is not suppressed. But you should note that there exist additional factors that could also cause you to have a heavy period. These are dynamics that have nothing to do with you giving birth, but have everything to do with you being a woman. They include:

  • Weight gain
  • Polyps or uterine fibroids

When you gain more weight, the body produces the estrogen previously stored in your fat cells. The estrogen that has been released by the fat cells in your body will thus impact the length, and weight of your periods.

Irregular First Period after pregnancy

Giving birth to a child will normally change your life in different ways. It affects the way you lead your life as well as how the body functions. You are likely to experience psychological and physical changes like mood swings, sagging breasts, as well as wider hips.

There is a chance that your body’s hormonal chemistry will begin to fluctuate immediately after giving birth. This will be an attempt by the body to develop, as well as get to maintain a proper well-balanced equilibrium. It is a process that could lead to the manifestation of a few symptoms, one of them being irregular periods.

Why do you get irregular periods after childbirth?

Pregnancy will by nature change the hormone levels in your body. After pregnancy, your body will need to revert the hormones back to their normal levels. it is a transition that can take time before it is complete.

A side effect associated with this transitional phase is the absence of menstruation or amenorrhea. Your periods can become sporadic when breastfeeding and after pregnancy. It could cause your periods to come to a halt.

As a result, the first period after pregnancy may fail to come back until your child has been fully weaned. You should note that failure to menstruate does not automatically imply that you are not ovulating. There exist a possibility that you could become pregnant if you have not started using birth control again.

You should make it a point to use condoms or any other form of contraception that you find to work best for your body.

Dealing with irregular first period after delivery

The first period after pregnancy could be shorter, longer, lighter, or even heavier than what you are used to experiencing. It is a fairly common phenomenon. It can, however, prove to be painful, inconvenient, as well as distressing.

Additionally, it may make it hard for you to predict your cycle, making the planning process harder as well. You can use the following tips to deal with an irregular cycle after pregnancy:

A). Eat a diet that is well-balanced

When your hormone levels go back to their normal levels, they will normally incite the return of your periods. A diet that is well-balanced and comprising of plenty of water, fruits, whole grains, and vegetables coupled with regular exercises will be effective in returning your body hormones to stable levels.

B). Do not utilize birth control methods like the pill

A birth control pill is a form of hormone treatment. Given that the hormones are already fluctuating due to your recent pregnancy; it will not be advisable to use the pill at this particular moment. It is normal to get irregular periods after giving birth. You should consult your doctor if your period does not come back a few months after you have stopped breastfeeding.

How long should bleeding after giving birth last

Vaginal bleeding after birth is referred to as lochia. It normally starts after you have given birth and will continue for as long as ten days. Spotting or first period after pregnancy may continue for between four and six weeks after you have delivered.

How is lochia like?

Lochia will generally be bright red in the initial days. Its flow is also likely to be very heavy, given that your body has not bled for the last nine months. Apart from having a heavy flow, you may even notice some clots inside it.

The color will slowly start changing from bright red to pink, before becoming brown. It will at some point become yellow-white. It is recommended that you only wear a hospital grade pad during the first two days.

A commercial pad will not be able to contain it at first. You should only use commercial pads when the bleeding has slowed down significantly. But there is also a possibility that you will experience a small gush of blood every once in a while when you stand up after sitting down for long durations.

The pad could overflow because of this blood gush. Given that the vagina is shaped like a cup, it means that blood will be cupped in this area when you are seated or lying down. You could feel as though some blood is pouring out when attempting to stand.

Lochia tends to be the heaviest right after you have given birth. You should not be alarmed if you notice that the first period after delivery seems to be alarming on arrival at home. It is normal. But increased bleeding could also be an indication that you are exerting your body too much.

In case you start passing clots that appear to be bigger than a golf ball after resting for a while, call your healthcare provider or go back to the hospital.

How long should you bleed after delivery

How long should my first period after pregnancy take?. There will be lochia present in your vagina immediately after delivery. It will soon start changing its color to pink within seven days, before becoming white, or yellowing after about ten days. The first period after pregnancy can also last for between two to four weeks.

It is also likely to come and disappear once in a while for up to two months. This red lochia will reduce in the first few weeks before it disappears. You can use the following tips to determine the harshness of the vaginal bleed:

  1. If you come to the realization that you are soaking through your usual pads and tampons after every two hours, it means that you have a severe bleed.
  2. A moderate bleed will be when you soak one pad or tampon within a timespan of three hours.
  3. Mild bleeding occurs when your soak less than one pad within three hours
  4. Minimal bleeding is when you have few drops of blood on the pad

What can be done about the bleeding?

  1. Do not use any tampons within the first six weeks. You should only use pads for the first period after Tampons can introduce bacteria into your uterus. Remember that the genital tract and the uterus are still recovering.
  2. Choose panties and clothes that you do not care about too much. Putting on your favorite panties after delivery may not be a wise move. The stains from the spotting will damage your panties or clothes.
  3. Do not overexert Performing too many tasks too soon will slow down the repair process that your body needs to undergo. It may cause bleeding to start all over again.
  4. Give your practitioner a call if you notice clots or have a heavy flow that soaks through a maxi pad.



Effects of pregnancy on ovulation

A breastfeeding woman will typically not get her periods quickly after she has given birth. The suckling motion by the baby causes the body to release prolactin. These are the hormones that are needed for milk to be produced. Hormones differ in every individual and first period after pregnancy may be influenced by this.

On release, the prolactin hormone can inhibit the release of reproductive hormones, which means that the menstruation cycle will be interrupted. Round the clock feeding means that the reproductive hormones will continue to be inhibited.

As a result, your body will not be in a position to ovulate. Lack of ovulation means that no egg has been released for fertilization. And without this process, it means that there is a high likelihood that you will not menstruate.

What about using birth control to prevent the first period after pregnancy?

As mentioned earlier, some women use breastfeeding as a natural form of birth control. The association of reproductive health professionals estimates that less than one of out of every one hundred women become pregnant in a year when engaging in continuous breastfeeding. Even though birth control appears to be an effective birth control option, it is not an absolute guarantee that you will not become pregnant.

The key to its success lies in continuous breastfeeding. Hallmarks of this form of breastfeeding include:

  1. Nursing the child from the breast and not through the use of a pump
  2. Ensuring you breastfeed at least once after every four hours during daytime hours
  3. Making sure you breastfeed after every six hours

Breastfeeding that is not captured in this description will not be able to protect you from another pregnancy soon after getting your first period after pregnancy. If you are still breastfeeding and notice that your periods have returned, it means that you are no longer protected against becoming pregnant.

You should note that there exist safe and efficient birth control options for women who are still breastfeeding. Be sure to see your physician about this issue.

First period after cesarean section

First period after pregnancy if you have had cesarean section does not affect how you get your period after pregnancy. The only thing that affects the menstruation cycle is whether you are breastfeeding the baby or not. The following are a few things that you should know about the first period after the cesarean section.

  1. The C-section will not in any way affect or delay your next period. You may be wondering whether it will take longer to get a period after the C-section or not, and the answer is no. The menstrual cycle is normally dependent on the hormonal changes taking place in your body. Therefore, the timing of the period will not be affected by having a C-section.
  2. Your prolactin levels could prevent ovulation. Regardless of whether you have a normal or C-section delivery, the estrogen, HCG, and progesterone levels are bound to fall dramatically. But prolactin may still stick around. Its levels will only fall when you stop breastfeeding. Bottle feeding will cause your periods to return faster than if you were breastfeeding. Exclusive breastfeeding guarantees that the prolactin levels will remain high at all times.
  3. It is common to have a bloody discharge. You must not be surprised to discover that you are passing a bloody discharge within four to six weeks of giving birth. The discharge is lochia. It will present itself regardless of whether you had a C-section or a normal Keep in mind that lochia is normal, but it should not be confused with your normal period.
  4. Bleeding after a Csection can be very heavy. It is common for women who have had C-sections to experience a very heavy first period after The heavy bleeding is because of the surgical incision carried out during the procedure, as well as the healing process of your uterine wall. Even though the flow is expected to be normal, pay attention to how heavy it gets.
  5. Your period is likely going to be very different. it does not matter how the baby was delivered. The period will still have a different color. Its flow and regularity will also be very different. But the periods will eventually come back to normal after the body has healed completely.

When to see a doctor

It is important to call a doctor as soon as possible if you experience any of the following symptoms. It may be a that you have developed an infection.

  1. You start experiencing chills or develop a fever
  2. The first period after pregnancy has an odor
  3. Your heart starts racing, or the heartbeat becomes irregular
  4. If the color of your bleeding does not change its color after the first few days
  5. You begin to faint or feel dizzy
  6. If your stomach is tender on either side
  7. If you start passing large blood clots
  8. If your bleeding becomes heavy all of a sudden

The takeaway

The return of your menstrual cycle is one step of the healing process as the body attempts to go back to its pre-pregnancy state. Some women may experience a delayed cycle because of changing hormone levels that are associated with breastfeeding.

You should contact your OB/GYN or doctor if anything appears out of the ordinary concerning your first period after delivery. Indications of an infection or excessive bleeding should be of concern to all new mother. Be sure to listen to your body at all times.

Article Resources

Breastfeeding and fertility (2006, October).

Your body after baby: The first 7 weeks. (n.d.).

Recovering birth (2010, September 27).

How can I track my menstrual cycle? (2013, April 16).

The new mother – physical changes. (2014).

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