Menstruation After Pregnancy

image001The menstruation after pregnancy concerns many first time mothers. While there are several schools of thought regarding what normal it is, it varies significantly from person to person. There are many myths associated with breastfeeding. Let’s separate myth from fact.

When Will My Menstruation Cycle Return After Pregnancy?

Your body is unique. How you respond may vary greatly from the average woman. These are some documented factors affecting the timing of your first cycle.

1. Formula-Feeding

Mothers that use only formula feeding can expect to start within one to three months. Hormone production reaches normal in approximately six to ten weeks and your menstruation commences about a week later. If you are still waiting twelve to fourteen weeks later, call your doctor. It might be normal for you, but you should get a check up.

2. Supplementing with Formula

If you are supplementing with formula, it may take a little longer to start. Child bearing can exhaust all resources of the body. Therefore, this delay is Mother Nature’s healing phase to prepare your body for the next pregnancy allowing for the recovery of much needed nutrients.

3. Breastfeeding Exclusively

Breastfeeding creates an increase your level of prolactin and it is your prolactin level that determines when your period will return. In the case of nursing exclusively, a delay for a year or more is possible, but for many, it seldom takes this long.

Pumping milk is good for supply, but this does not greatly affect the level of prolactin that stimulates your body to make milk and interfere with ovulation. It probably will not delay the restart of menstruation. Weaning can cause your period to begin as your milk supply drops.

4. Exercising and Breastfeeding

One myth that has been floating around since the 1600s is that exercising while you are still breastfeeding is dangerous for the baby’s nutrition. This is an old wives’ tale and nothing more. Moderate exercise while breast-feeding is not harmful. Actually, regular passive exercise helps to increase your energy level and diminish the chance of postpartum depression.

However, a vigorous program during the first four or five months–such as preparing for the Olympic trials next month--might build up lactic acid altering the taste of milk--giving it a sour taste, which baby might not care for. Drink plenty of fluids prior to and after you work out.

You should ask your personal physician when you could start physical workouts again. Most recommend waiting six weeks to begin. If you are concerned, please contact your doctor.

Want to learn more about when you will get menstruation after pregnancy? Check out the video below:

What Is Menstruation After Pregnancy Like?

The lifestyle you lead, including stress, physical activity, sleep and diet all affects the menstrual cycle. This recovery is as distinct as your personality. Three common changes are:

1. Pain

Many women find post pregnancy cycles very different. The cramps disappear for some and commence for others. The widening of the cervix during childbearing can account for less cramping. The increase in pain is the body trying to remove excess buildup in the uterus. The uterus contracts in response to a hormone like substance released--the higher this level, the stronger the contractions. If the pain is too severe, seek medical advice, as severe contractions can reduce blood flow to the uterus causing other problems later.

2. Excessive Bleeding

The thickened lining, blood clots, and bits of remaining placenta are what post-partum bleeding consists of. This is not actually a period. It can be disconcerting and even frightening to the new mom, but it is expected. This discharge may increase when you are up walking around. You should only be concerned if you totally saturate a pad in one hour, and it continues at that rate for more than a day. If there is excessive bleeding and blood clots that are golf ball size or larger, go to the emergency room or your doctor.

3. Duration

When your normal period arrives, expect it to be different. The duration is usually longer in the beginning and then frequently becomes shorter once hormonal regulation is complete. The flow is usually heavier the first month and then resumes to your typical menses. If bleeding continues longer than eight to ten days, you should consult your physician.

Does Absence of Menstruation After Pregnancy Mean Infertility?

I hope that you have discussed contraception after the birth of your baby with your partner and your doctor early in your pregnancy. There are several common questions, some embroiled in myths, that first-time Moms are bound to hear and need to be clarified.

1. Getting Pregnant Again

You are fertile before menstruation starts again. The first egg is released about two weeks prior to your period. That means you can become pregnant. That egg is just waiting to be fertilized. Contraception should begin before you have sex –unless, of course, you want another bundle of joy in nine months. You would not be the first mother surprised by an unplanned pregnancy.

2. Contraceptive Needs If Bottle-feeding

Keep in mind your body has changed and so have your contraceptive needs. If you are not breastfeeding, you can take a combination pill, IUD, vaginal ring or implanted devices. Refitting an IUD if you previously used one is essential. The size of your cervix has changed and the pre-pregnancy device may not be effective.

3. Breastfeeding  and Contraception

Breastfeeding is unreliable birth control. It will decrease the chance of pregnancy for most women by a very small margin. Nursing moms should avoid any contraceptive with estrogen since it will lower your milk production and the estrogen will pass to your infant. There are oral alternatives available. A synthetic progesterone called progestin is one alternative. You might know this as the minipill. Another alternative is Depo-Provera. You get a shot every three months, and it contains no estrogen. If you don’t want to use medications, try condoms, spermicides, diaphragms or abstinence.

Important Notes:

Be ready to supplement your milk with formula. Once your menses starts, your ability to produce milk diminishes. This is not a reason to wean, but you may have to provide additional nutrition. The taste of your milk also changes during your period. Do not get discouraged if your baby suddenly rejects your milk. If the refusal is permanent, the baby will wean automatically.