Understanding your Period Postpartum
6 February 2023 | Admin
You've enjoyed 9 months without a period whilst your body does the amazing feat of growing and nurturing a baby. You've been there and done that. You've squeezed that baby out and now you're wondering how long it will be before your body gets back to some semblance of normality and your periods return.
Obviously you'll bleed for between 2 and 6 weeks after delivery, however this vaginal discharge is referred to as lochia and it's a heady mix of blood, uterine tissue and mucus. It will veer from bright red in the weeks after giving birth, to a yellowy whitish discharge towards the end of that 6 week period.
Having a baby is without doubt amazing but also sort of gross!
We've set out to answer all the pertinent questions you may have relating to periods after your baby is born:
Your period can start as soon as 5 to 6 weeks postpartum, but this depends on whether you're breast-feeding or not. According to the NHS website, you're less likely to have periods while breastfeeding. Your periods are likely to return sooner if you choose to bottle feed or mix-feed your baby.
That's because the hormone that manages breast milk production, prolactin also stops you from ovulating and having your period. From an evolutionary perspective, this serves to protects mother and child, giving your baby the best start in life without competition from getting pregnant with another baby and the subsequent demands on your body.
Once you introduce solid foods and your baby is less reliant on your as their main source of nutrition, your periods are more likely to return.
It's worth noting that this isn't foolproof though and you can't rely on breastfeeding as contraception in the period after giving birth!
If your period does return quickly after giving birth, medical professionals suggest avoiding tampons. Cheeky period maternity knickers are perfect for both post-partum lochia as they'll support your tummy after giving birth. But they're also brilliant for ongoing use when your periods return fully.
Take a look at our guide to postpartum underwear for more detailed information.
Yes, the first period postpartum is likely to be heavier than normal because your uterus has grown and therefore there's more uterine tissue to be shed. This is likely to decrease over time as our body and periods settle down.
According to Healthline, you may experience heavy bleeding, cramping or small blood clots. Again, this should settle down over time.
Yes, postpartum periods can be irregular. Again, this will depend on whether you're still breastfeeding even part time. Irregular periods are to be expected and can veer from being heavier with clots to light spotting.
If your periods after pregnancy suddenly develop large clots or severe bleeding you should of course refer it to your GP.
It depends, but most postpartum periods last 5 to 7 days and are between 21 and 35 days apart. They will settle down over time as your menstrual cycles return to normal in the months after giving birth also.
Yes, you can ovulate postpartum without a period. This means you can get pregnant again without menstruating first so be careful if you're having sex again.
That's because during your menstrual cycle your egg is released approximately two weeks BEFORE the bleeding part of your cycle. That's why birth control is still vitally important, even if you're breast-feeding.
This doesn't have to be hormonal birth control, condoms, diaphragm and copper coil are all suitable menthods of contraception, even if breast-feeding.
We hope you've found this article useful. If you're interested in further reading you may also enjoy:
Maternity Underwear - all you need to know
About the Author: Helen Rankin is a Mum of 4 who is well versed in postpartum periods! She founded Cheeky Wipes, the original reusable wipes kit back in 2008 after disposable wipes caused her eczema to flare up. She went on to develop their range of 'Simple Reusables' to include reusable period pants, reusable period protection kits and reusable pads in the UK. Her customer services team pride themselves on providing relatable friendly advice and just LOVE to chat pee, poo and periods all day long! The Company was recognised for their hard work in developing environmentally friendly products with the Queens Award in Enterprise for Sustainable Development in 2021.