Postpartum menstruation: When does it return and what changes can be expected

Послеродовая менструация — когда она возвращается и какие могут быть изменения

One of the perks of pregnancy is not having to deal with periods. At a time when you have enough other things to worry about, it's very convenient not to have to think about that too.

But what happens when your baby finally arrives? As a new mom, you may need some time to adjust to the changes in your body. It has likely changed during pregnancy and childbirth.. A little information about "periods after pregnancy" and the appropriate preparation can be reassuring!

Postpartum bleeding

You will have vaginal bleeding for about 2-6 weeks after childbirth, whether you had a cesarean section or natural childbirth. However, this is not a period, but lochia. Lochia is discharge from the wound in the uterine wall that is healing and is a completely normal occurrence. The bleeding is usually heavier immediately after childbirth and then becomes lighter.

After childbirth, the menstrual cycle stops for a while. The hormone production in the ovaries must return to normal before the woman experiences menstruation and can become pregnant again. How quickly this happens depends primarily on whether she is breastfeeding and how often.

Breastfeeding and menstruation

Women who exclusively breastfeed produce more of the hormone prolactin, which is responsible for milk production. At the same time, prolactin inhibits the production of hormones responsible for the maturation of follicles in the ovaries and, thus, for the initiation of ovulation and the formation of the endometrium. The more often the child is breastfed, the higher the prolactin level. If a woman exclusively breastfeeds (at least six times a day without supplementation, including at night), this increases the likelihood that the first ovulation after childbirth will occur later. In individual cases, it may be absent for up to two years.

Gradual decrease in prolactin

In general, the level of prolactin (along with other hormones) gradually decreases over time even in breastfeeding women. Therefore, even a single interruption of breastfeeding overnight can lead to ovulation.

It is estimated that with exclusive breastfeeding for eight weeks, fertility will return approximately at the 15th week after birth. The more time has passed since childbirth, the more likely it is that you will ovulate, and with it the possibility of becoming pregnant again.

Return of ovulation

However, the first menstruation after childbirth does not always mean that ovulation has occurred. But it is a clear sign that fertility is returning.

If a woman is not breastfeeding or is breastfeeding only partially, her first menstruation usually begins within the first three months after childbirth, at the earliest four weeks. This happens in more than half of non-breastfeeding women within the first six-twelve weeks.

And if, despite breastfeeding, your periods resume quite quickly? Don't worry about it, it's important to remember that it can be different for different women. The first menstruation after pregnancy can start earlier or later. However, if you are concerned that something may be wrong, or if you are experiencing severe pain, it is best to see a doctor. gynecologist.

Heavy periods after pregnancy: When to see a doctor?

Regardless of how your periods have changed due to pregnancy, extremely severe pain or heavy bleeding should be examined by a doctor. Especially if it affects your daily life and well-being. If there are any abnormalities, you can go to the best clinics and undergo treatment in Switzerland.

Do periods change after childbirth?

Many women are not prepared for their first menstruation after childbirth. Either they simply don't expect it yet, or they've already gotten used to the absence of periods, or they just have too many other worries. Many mothers are surprised not only by the onset, but also by the intensity of the bleeding. Often the first menstruation after childbirth is more intense, painful and lasts longer. But for most of them, this soon passes, and in subsequent cycles, bleeding usually becomes less and shorter than before childbirth.

However, the female body needs time to return to a regular menstrual cycle. Therefore, do not be surprised if you experience irregularities in the first few months after the resumption of menstruation. However, if they persist, it is recommended to talk to your gynecologist about them. In this case, it is best to keep a cycle calendar so that you can accurately document any deviations.