Period After Giving Birth
Wondering When to Expect a Period After Giving Birth?
After finally getting to bond with your little one after months of pregnancy, the next thing you may find yourself wondering is when you should expect your period after giving birth. All women usually wonder about this at some point after giving birth, and it’s good to know for a variety of reasons. Having a good idea as to when your cycle should resume not only helps you start thinking about methods of birth control, but it also gives you the chance to be prepared so you don’t find yourself making a midnight run to Wal-Mart for tampons.
Unfortunately, there is no set amount of time between giving birth and having your first post-baby period. The main factors that can play a part in determining when Aunt Flo will drop by are hormones, the stress factor, and whether or not you are breast feeding. Bear in mind that there will likely be quite a lot of post-partum bleeding. This is called “lochia” and is the process of the body getting rid of the excess mucus, blood, and placenta tissues after the birth. This can last up to six weeks after the baby is born and doesn’t always maintain a continuous flow. Many women mistake a brief pause in the flow of the lochia to be the stop of post-natal bleeding and the beginning of a period, when in actuality it is more likely to still be post-natal bleeding.
Women who solely breast feed their little one are more likely to enjoy a longer amount of time before receiving their period after giving birth. Why? When a woman gives birth, her body starts producing a hormone called prolactin. This hormone is responsible for kicking the breast milk production into gear. Prolactin also suppresses the amount of osterogen the body produces, which is a hormone that plays a big part in the menstrual cycle. Some women who solely breast feed their child—meaning at least six feeds a day without supplementing with other foods or formula—may not see a period until they start weaning the baby onto solids. However, some women DO see a period even while breastfeeding, although usually a few months after the baby’s birth. Every woman’s body is different; therefore breast feeding should not be relied upon as a form of birth control. Many doctors have seen women get pregnant mere months after giving birth and often hear the excuse, “But I thought as long as I was breast feeding I couldn’t get pregnant!”
Hormone levels play a huge part in determining when your period will start back up again. All women experience a period of hormone fluctuation after giving birth, which also causes mood swings and postpartum depression. But the hormones levels that are jumping and lowering off and on are also part of the reason that your period may not start for a while after you have given birth. For some women, these hormones soon level out and they start their period between six and eight weeks after giving birth. For others, it could take a little longer for the hormone levels to reach a steady plane. Don’t be surprised if, when your period does occur, it is either shorter or longer than your pre-pregnancy periods. It may take a few months of periods for your body to finally get itself back to a normal state.
Stress, stress, stress… While getting your period after giving birth may be worrying you a little, chances are you are feeling mores stressed out due to the other changes in your life. You’ve suddenly got this wonderful new being totally dependent on you and you can’t even rely on your body to act “normal”. –Or at least that’s how it might feel. You may find yourself swarmed with visitors who insist that the messy house isn’t a bother, but it probably bothers you. Finances, lack of sleep, and a lack of “you time” are probably other factors that are causing your stress level to soar. The amount of stress a woman carries around can affect her period whether she has recently had a baby or not. Some women skip periods altogether during stressful moments, so don’t freak out if you aren’t getting your period right away. The best thing you can do is to rope friends and family members into helping you take care of things. Ask your mom if she wouldn’t mind helping you tidy up or see if your girlfriend can babysit for a few hours while you catch up on some sleep or make a run to Taco Bell. Whatever hobby or task your find yourself missing the most, get out there and do it! When your friends or family say “Let me know if you need anything”—they mean it, and there’s no shame in accepting help!
A woman’s body is a truly miraculous thing—even if you don’t quite see it that way. You’ve gone through nine months of constant change while your body works ‘round the clock to build another little human. You’ve been stretched to the max (pun intended!) and yet your body still keeps going on and struggling to get back to normal—and it will!