First period after childbirth: what to expect after childbirth
Prolactin, the human hormone that produces milk, inhibits ovulation. Consequently, mothers of exclusively breastfed babies receive a period of 6-8 months following delivery. Mother bottle feeding may enter the flow much earlier, as early as four weeks after delivery. Remember, even if your period has not resumed, pregnancy is a possibility. An iron-rich diet and herbs like moringa, garden cress can help you relax after childbirth into the menstrual routine.
While it may not be possible to anticipate the exact date that you will need these pads or tampons again, there is definitely one factor influencing that date–prolactin, the hormone that enlarges your mammary glands during pregnancy and stimulates the production of milk after birth. The production of estrogen and progesterone, fertility hormones, is also hampered by prolactin. This suppresses ovulation and the post-birth menstrual cycle. The higher the amount and frequency of prolactin released by the pituitary gland, the more suckles your baby at your breast. So, basically, when you get your first period after pregnancy, your prolactin level determines.
Expect Your Periods 6–8 Months After Delivery If You Are Breastfeeding
If your baby depends entirely on your breast milk for nutritional needs, you may not have your periods for 6–8 months or until you introduce the bottle or solid foods.2 This gap varies greatly depending on genetic factors, how often and how long you feed your baby and your unique hormonal profile. There are therefore several instances of women who breastfeed without a period of 1 year or more after childbirth.
Expect It 1 Month After Childbirth When The Baby Is Bottle-Fed
Studies show that you may not get a period until your baby is one month old if you’ve been bottling your baby completely or even partially. Be prepared for the surprise visitor anytime afterthat. When the baby is not breastfed, the mother’s prolactin levels return to pre-pregnancy levels within 2–3 weeks of birth. So you can get back into the flow as soon as 5–6 weeks after birth.
Postpartum Periods May Be Slightly Different
The period gently makes its appearance in the form of light spotting in many women. Whenever the baby starts feeding less frequently, spotting may begin. If you are lucky, menstrual cramps may decrease or disappear after delivery due to the widening of the cervix.7 During the first postpartum period, other women may experience heavy bleeding and intense cramps. It is also normal to pass a few blood clots as part of menstrual bleeding. If the bleeding is so severe that you have to change your pad or tampon every hour or so or the clots keep appearing for more than a week, you should consult your doctor to rule out infections, fibroids or other complications.
Caution: You Could Get Pregnant Even Before Your Periods Resume
Many new moms assume that if their period has not yet made an appearance, they will not get pregnant. But know that it’s a possibility, though rare. Typically, your body releases an egg about 2 weeks before you get your period. This means that in the postpartum period you could be fertile again even before your period officially announces your fertility.