As the roller coaster you hopped on at the pregnancy finally slows down post-pregnancy, you remember a familiar but demanding friend, who’s been missing in action for a while now. Yes, it’s your period. It is about time she returned, you reckon. But, do you know how it is affecting your post-birth rhythm. Although it may not be possible to anticipate the exact date, you’ll still need those pads or tampons. The single factor that influences the date: prolactin, which is a hormone that enlarges your mammary glands during pregnancy and is also responsible for stimulating the milk production after childbirth. It also hampers the production of estrogen and progesterone which are considered as fertility hormones. It suppresses ovulation and the menstrual cycle after childbirth. The more your baby suckles at your breast, the greater the amount and frequency of prolactin will be released by the pituitary gland. So, you can say that your prolactin level determines when you get your first period after pregnancy.
When will your period return?
You can expect your periods within 6-8 months after delivery if you are breastfeeding. If your baby completely depends on your milk, you may not have periods within 6 to months, or until you introduce your baby with bottle milk or other solid food. This gap varies greatly based on some generic factors, like how frequently or how long you feed your baby for.
When the baby is not breastfed, your prolactin level returns to its normal levels within 2-3 weeks of childbirth, just so that you could get back into the flow as early as possible. When you are in your initial weeks after your pregnancy, you may notice some bleeding or spotting. This is called lochia, which is a common condition in which there is a normal discharge that contains blood, mucus, as well as uterine tissue. For some women, it is normal for spotting to continue up to 6 weeks, but if you witness greenish color discharge or unusual odor in lochia, do consult your doctor as it might be an infection.
Will the periods be same as they were before?
When you start your period again postpartum, chances are that the first-period post delivery won’t be like your normal periods before you got pregnant. It will take time for your body to adjust to menstruation. You may experience some changes like:
- Heavier flow
- Smaller blood clots
- Light Cramps
- Irregular cycle lengths
Postpartum periods are mildly painful due to several factors:
- The hormones of breastfeeding
- Increased intensity of uterine cramping
- Uterine cavity becoming larger
What are some postpartum symptoms that every woman should watch out for?
It’s important that you talk to your doctor if you experience these symptoms:
- A sudden fever
- A severe Headache
- Pain while urinating
- Soaking through more than one pad in an hour
- Foul-smelling discharge
- Trouble breathing
When your menstrual cycle returns to you, it is just one part of the recovery. In some women, menstruation might return a bit later due to the increase in hormones that are associated with breastfeeding. If anything seems out of the ordinary about your first period postpartum, it is important to contact your doctor. Excess bleeding or infection is the clear symbol of something serious. It is better to listen to your body and play it safe. Share it with your friends and family to create awareness. Stay Safe Stay Healthy.
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