For many people, one of the best parts of being pregnant is not having to have your period for about 10 months. Sounds like a nice welcome break right? But once you have had the baby and your postpartum bleeding has stopped, things can take their time going back to ‘normal’ and many other factors will interfere with your menstrual cycle getting back on track.
In this article, we will get to know what is most likely going to impact your period after having a baby and approximately how long it may take for your menstrual cycle to return.
How Long Does It Take For Your Period To Return After Having A Baby?
The short answer to this question is it depends. If you are not breastfeeding, your period can return pretty quickly after having a baby. A meta-analysis from 2011 found that most non-breastfeeding women get their first period between 45 and 64 days postpartum (even though the earliest recorded menstrual period was on day 28), with ovulation occurring about 14 days prior to that.
It is a good idea to be prepared and stock up on your period products and your Fab Little Bags, for easy disposal, but also to use contraception straight after birth if you are sexually active and not planning another pregnancy.
Will Breastfeeding Affect Your Periods?
If you are breastfeeding, it tends to take a little longer for your periods to return. 70% of women who are breastfeeding exclusively will not see their periods return in the first six months after having a baby.
However, if you are combination feeding (or happen to belong to the other 30%), there is a chance that your period could return well before the 6 month mark too, making it just as important to think carefully about family planning and contraception.
Is It Normal To Have Irregular Periods After Having A Baby?
So your period has returned and you think things are going to go back to your regular pre-pregnancy menstrual cycle? Think again. While this is the case for some people, many report irregular or very different periods after giving birth. A 2019 study found that women reported having irregular periods at 3 months postpartum and many others saying it took up to a year for regular periods to return.
But what are these new and irregular periods like? The NHS and many other resources helpfully point out that postpartum periods can be either the same or either more or less painful than before getting pregnant (yay). Periods – especially the first few - may also be heavier than before having a baby and include some blood clots. Always consult with your doctor or midwife though if the bleeding is excessive!
We have consulted with some friends who have had babies and those who have had very severe period pain before getting pregnant (3 friends) have reported some improvement in the severity of their periods. So while “easier” periods are definitely not guaranteed after having a baby, they might end up being a nice silver lining.
Your friendly fabber