Your Period After Pregnancy: What Can You Expect?
When you welcome a new, adorable, little bundle a joy to the world, your life changes forever. Priorities shift, the spare bedroom becomes a nursery, your grocery cart fills with diapers. What else changes, specifically when it comes to your body? What may your period after pregnancy look like? Here are some ways your menstrual cycle may be different after having a baby.
Duration, Frequency and Flow
If you’re breastfeeding, you may not see a return of regular menses until after you stop breastfeeding. If you’re not breastfeeding, your period might return after pregnancy in as little as five to six weeks.1
Women who are breastfeeding may see a sporadic return of periods. They may come regularly, but be very light, or they may come irregularly and be light or normal.1
Some women might experience clotting or large clots in their menstrual flow for the first few cycles after having a baby. This can be completely normal, but may look concerning. If there are ever questions about what is normal, contacting your OBGYN or family doctor can shed some light on period-related questions.1
Discomfort and Migraines
Periods after pregnancy differ from woman to woman. Some ladies may be lucky to return to their regular periods or their periods may lighten. Other factors may cause menstruation to be more uncomfortable for others.2
On the positive side, for example, if you have endometriosis, the holdover of high progesterone levels postpartum may ease your periods; unfortunately, this benefit is probably not permanent.2
For women who experience menstruation-related migraines, the return of a period may trigger the return of migraines. Estrogen levels surge during pregnancy, so migraines may disappear during this time.3 Menstruation-related migraines may be due to to a dip in estrogen that normally occurs two days before your flow starts and then three days into your period.4
Fertility After Pregnancy
You have your hands full with your newborn and you may not be thinking of conceiving anytime soon, but keep in mind that a woman begins to ovulate again about two weeks before her period resumes. It can be hard to detect when ovulation will occur, so it’s important that if you want to avoid pregnancy that you use some form of birth control.1
A woman’s life and body change after having a baby, and that includes her period after pregnancy. While there’s a wide range of ‘normal’, if you ever have questions relating to your period or fertility, sitting down with your OBGYN or family doctor will provide the best and clearest answers.
- When will my periods start again after pregnancy?” National Health Service. March 24, 2015. http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/943.aspx?CategoryID=54
- How Do Your Period Change After Pregnancy?” Cleveland Clinic. April 17, 2017. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2017/04/will-your-periods-change-after-pregnancy/
- Chronic daily headaches.” Mayo Clinic. October 23, 2015. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-daily-headaches/in-depth/headaches/art-20046729?pg=2
- Tepper, Deborah E., M.D. “Menstrual Migraine.” American Headache Society. 2013. https://americanheadachesociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Menstrual-Migraine-Feb-2014.pdf