Is It Normal to Have Irregular Periods After Birth?

Do you wonder what causes irregular periods after delivery or when they will get back to normal? Many women who were recently pregnant have the same question in their minds. Once a woman becomes pregnant, her period stops due to hormonal changes. After delivery, the periods will return. However, periods after childbirth usually don’t come with the same regularity as before, they may also become heavier or lighter. 

Is It Normal to Have Irregular Periods After Birth?

First you can get a relief by knowing that this problem is normal and should not cause alarm. The period usually gets back to normal after a few cycles, although some women experience these changes for much longer. 

However, sudden changes such as heavy bleeding or clots weeks after childbirth could mean that the placenta was not expelled in full. They can also be the symptoms of an infection in the uterus. In case of bleeding or clots that soak one pad within one hour, you need to visit your doctor or gynecologist for examination.

What Causes Irregular Periods?

The hormonal changes that arise after childbirth are the main reason for this. Prolactin hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland to trigger secretion of breast milk. It suppresses ovulation and estrogen hormone. This leads to irregular periods and in some cases causes absence of menstruation when breastfeeding.

Tips for Dealing with Irregular Periods

Take a balanced diet, drink a lot of water and exercise regularly. Include whole grain, fruits and vegetables in your diet. The balanced diet and exercise will help your body’s hormone levels to stabilize, regularizing the irregular periods after birth.

Once you become sexually active following childbirth, avoid the pill or other hormonal contraceptives because these will further interfere with your unstable hormonal state.

But be sure to use condom. While breastfeeding may delay menstruation and ovulation, it is not a foolproof contraception method. In some cases, ovulation occurs even with absence of menstruation. Sex in such circumstances can lead to an unplanned pregnancy.

Common Changes in Menstruation After Childbirth

Following are the most common temporary changes in menstruation after delivery:

  • Menses may resume as light bleeding or spotting. This is most common for partially breastfeeding women who also bottle feed the baby.
  • Menses may resume with heavy bleeding. Visit your gynecologist if this continues beyond the first few cycles after childbirth.
  • You may have longer or shorter cycles besides irregular periods after birth.
  • You may experience dysmenorrhea (painful periods).
  • You may get PMS (premenstrual syndrome) which presents with nausea, dizziness, fluid retention, edema and moodiness before the periods.

Other Mothers' Experiences

“I think it’s normal. I’m having the same issues. I got my son in October, and breastfed him for about 7 weeks. 2 months later, I had my first period which lasted 2 weeks. The next period came after 5 weeks, and I had my third after another 8 weeks. The second and third lasted 1 week each. 2 months later, I’m still waiting for my fourth periods. I can't be pregnant because I haven’t had unprotected sex.”

“Same here. I was expecting my third periods over 10 days ago, but they’ve not come. I decided to see the doctor but she assured me I am not pregnant. She told me this could be happening because of breastfeeding. My son is 6 months and is growing strong. The doctor suggested I take a pill called Orgamed to induce periods. She said it has no ill effect on us but I will wait a little longer and perhaps take it later. I suggest you wait a few days or a week; then see your doctor for meds to regulate your periods. But don’t worry. Delayed and irregular periods after birth seem to be normal.”

When Should Your Period Return After Birth?

For some women, the issue is not irregular periods; it’s the absence of periods for months. There are two factors that determine resumption of periods:

  • Exclusive breastfeeding or not
  • Individual hormonal state

Return of Periods for Mothers Practicing Exclusive Breastfeeding

For women providing exclusive breastfeeding for their babies, periods may resume six months after delivery. This is the time when the baby starts supplemental feeding. However, some women don’t get their periods for up to one or even two years after childbirth. A few women only resume their menses once they stop breastfeeding.

Return of Periods for Breastfeeding Mothers Also Giving Supplemental Feeds

For women who combine breastfeeding with bottle feeding, periods normally return within 4 to 10 weeks after childbirth.

Return of Periods for Women Who Are Not Breastfeeding

For women who don’t breastfeed their babies entirely, periods can return a month after childbirth. However, it is more typical for them to get the first period by the third month after delivery.

Every individual is unique. Irrespective of whether you breastfeed exclusively or not at all, your individual hormonal makeup will determine when your periods resume. It is not abnormal for an exclusively breastfeeding woman to start getting her period one month after giving birth.

 
 
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