Pregnancy, aside from the obvious delights of growing your very own miniature human, does have another silver lining. No periods for 9+ months! Whilst growing a small human does come with its own set of trials and tribulations, morning sickness, tender breasts, sore back, sore feet, sore everything to name a few, it does mean a break from using pads and tampons on the reg.
After giving birth, if you choose to breastfeed, there is a perhaps welcome extension of experiencing no periods. But the real question is when do periods start after pregnancy? Will your periods be delayed during breastfeeding? Will they be the same? Will they be worse, or better? In this blog we will attempt to shed some light...
When will my periods return after breastfeeding?
Answering this question is like asking ‘how long is a piece of string’, everyone is different and this all changes based on how often you are breastfeeding.
If you choose to bottle feed your baby, or even combine bottle feeding and breastfeeding, you can expect your period to return roughly 5 to 6 weeks after giving birth. The return of your period after giving birth naturally takes a few weeks as your hormones begin to regulate and find their pre-pregnancy rhythm once again. Your body has achieved quite the feat, so don’t be shocked if you are sans period during this time. This is normal. Enjoy the first several weeks with your new baby and no monthly visitors. Except perhaps a few cooing in-laws.
Alternatively, if you choose to exclusively breastfeed, including through the night, you can expect your periods to be a distant memory until you stop. When we are breastfeeding, the hormone that allows us to produce breast milk also simultaneously stops your body making the hormone that controls your periods. It is not a perfect exact science, but for the vast majority production of the white stuff means a break from the red stuff.
As you begin to wean your baby, and only breastfeed around 3 times a day, or you have stopped feeding throughout the night, you may see ‘spotting’, or have a light and irregular period. This is because your body will not be producing as much milk, and therefore the hormone that creates the milk and stops your period, is reduced.
If you have recently given birth and you are expecting the return of your period, don’t forget to stock up on your sustainably sourced FabLittleBags, (now made from plants and recycled material) so that your first period back can be relaxing and an eco friendly one when it comes to disposal. Note to self- as your baby grows and starts crawling around FabLittleBags become even more of a Godsend; when your baby starts rummaging in the bathroom bin, all they will find are sealed packages…. A way better than the alternative!
First period after giving birth
As we anticipate the return of our periods after a 9+ month sabbatical, most of us will wonder what it will be like. Cue flashback memories of your first EVER period.
The truth is, your first period after giving birth will have changed. You’ve grown and birthed a small human from your womb, so it is normal for it to be a little different than it was before. A few things that you can expect include; irregular periods, a little more cramping that you used to have, heavier periods or small blood clots. This is all normal.
However, if you are worried, experiencing blood clots for more than a week, or your periods are causing a much heavier blood loss, then do not hesitate to contact your local GP or talk to your midwife. You can also visit the NHS here for further advice. This may be a good time to download a period tracking App to log your cycle for example.
Can I Get Pregnant While Breastfeeding?
Yes, you can get pregnant whilst breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is far from a full-proof contraception. Whilst fertility is generally lower whilst breastfeeding, it is still possible for you to become pregnant from about three weeks after giving birth. This is true even if you are breastfeeding exclusively and still haven’t had a period yet. So if you aren’t looking for a sequel quite so soon after, make sure you are using contraception.