Periods after childbirth: better understanding the return from childbirth

Immediately after childbirth, women experience heavy bleeding. This bleeding is very abundant during the first 5 to 7 days of the immediate post-partum period, and lasts between 3 and 4 weeks. But it's not a period! So when do periods really return after baby?

What is the return of menstruation after childbirth?

The return of childbirth is the name given to the first menstrual periods that return after childbirth for the mother who did not menstruate while pregnant. After carrying life for 9 months following the arrival of baby, the hormonal system gradually returns to normal. The body begins to produce estrogen and progesterone, essential hormones for the cycle. Fertility and menstruation return.

When do periods start after childbirth?

he reappearance of menstruation after the arrival of baby is very difficult to predict from one menstruating person to another, and will also depend on various factors such asbreastfeeding and your hormonal system! In the maternity hospital where you're due, midwives, gynecologists or nursery assistants may explain that menstrual bleeding can return between 6 and 8 weeks after birth. Here are some figures you should know:

  • Ovulation does not occur until the 21st day after birth.
  • 92% of women who do not breastfeed have their menstrual periods return within 3 months of the baby's birth.
  • 1 in 4 womenbefore their child is 6 months old
  • The remaining women have their periods after 9 months.

Differentiating menstruation from bleeding and lochia

For many mothers, menstruation after the arrival of a baby is often confused with lochia, which is bleeding that becomes more abundant 10 to 12 days after childbirth and lasts for 48 hours.
Lochia is theexpulsion of pregnancy residues under the effect of uterine contractions. These can be quite uncomfortable, after you've already undergone hours of contractions during labor! These bloody discharges through the cervix contain blood and blood clots, which are uterine residues and debris from the placental membrane. The lochia takes on different appearances and colors over the days: first bright red or black, then light-colored, then pinkish, and finally the vaginal secretions become white or yellowish or dark brown and very scanty. Lochia are completely natural and allow the uterus to return to its original size! They occur when the baby is delivered vaginally or by Caesarean section.

What are periods like after returning from childbirth?

All menstruating women are different. Menstruation may return smoothly, with light discharge, or on the contrary, blood flow may be much more abundant than before pregnancy. Menstrual flow may be completely disrupted.

Menstrual flow may be lighter, heavier and more irregular. Menstrual periods after your stay in the maternity ward may be more viscous, containing blood clots from the healing of the uterine wall.

It will probably take a few cycles for your body to regain stability and regularity. As with the first menstrual period, the whole hormonal system has to be reset.

The impact of breastfeeding on menstruation

When a mother breastfeeds her baby, the child's suction during suckling increases, stimulating the secretion of prolactin to promote milk production. This hormone also has the effect of blocking ovulation and the menstrual cycle.

It is possible to have an impact on the onset of menstruation by practicing the LAM method, which is the breastfeeding and amenorrhea method. This method is used both as a contraceptive and to manage the return of childbirth. Keep in mind that the woman must feed her baby exclusively at the breast, without giving him a bottle of artificial milk or solid food. Breastfeeding should be on demand, day and night, with a minimum of 6 feeds a day and a maximum of 6 hours between feeds at night, and 4 hours during the day.

What contraception should I choose after giving birth?

After childbirth, if you don't want to become pregnant again and are resuming sexual activity, we recommend that you use contraception. You will be offered contraception at the maternity hospital, and the subject will be discussed with your gynecologist or health care professional 6 weeks later. This is a very important subject, as you may be fertile before your menstrual flow starts! Fertilization and a new pregnancy are therefore quite possible.
Some contraception methods you can use after giving birth:

  • The condom is THE safest contraception after childbirth.
  • Use of the hormonal estrogen-progestin pill (not before 1? months post-delivery) or the progestin-only pill from day 21 post-delivery.
  • Micro-progestin contraception (not to be used before 1? months for breast-feeding mothers).
  • A copper or hormonal IUD can be inserted in the 2nd month after delivery.
  • Implantation
  • Spermicides
  • LAM method
  • Vaginal ring
  • Contraceptive patches
  • Contraceptive injections

Talk to your doctor about your best contraceptive options after childbirth.

Is it normal to have no periods after returning from childbirth?

After the first real period following childbirth, the menstrual cycle gradually returns to normal.
As we saw earlier, menstruation can be irregular at first, and it takes several cycles for it to stabilize.
However, it should be noted that theabsence of monthly blood flow, also known asamenorrhea, can be the symptom of several menstrual disorders or a new pregnancy!
The absence of discharge is normal in the following situations:

  • During pregnancy
  • During part of exclusivebreastfeeding
  • Before puberty
  • After menopause

The various causes of amenorrhea after the first menstrual flow are :

  • A new pregnancy!
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS
  • Stress
  • Extreme weight gain oranorexia
  • hormonal imbalance of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland or ovaries

In all cases, if your period is absent after your first post-delivery period, consult your doctor or medical referent!

FAQs on menstruation after childbirth

When do periods return after childbirth?

The first menstrual periods after childbirth generally occur between the 3rd and 9th month after the birth of the child.Exclusive breastfeeding may play a role in the onset of the first post-delivery periods, which should not be confused with the immediate post-partum bleeding known as lochia.

What are the signs of return from childbirth?

Signs vary from one woman to another. In fact, ovulation may occur a few weeks before the first menstrual period after childbirth. Signs that your period has returned may include the reappearance of PMS, migraines, abdominal pain, fatigue or a temporary drop in lactation.

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