Pregnancy is the most important period in the life of every woman. At this time, expectant mothers are interested in many questions, such as what diet to follow, what physical activity is acceptable, whether it is possible to have sex, etc. After giving birth, the situation slightly changes. The woman starts to worry about questions related to the newborn as well as her own health. One of these questions, for example, is the period after childbirth.
Every mom should be aware of this issue. So, it will be easier to determine what changes in the female body are normal and which indicate a deviation and require a doctor’s help.
Time of Recovery of Period After Childbirth
After conception, the menstrual function turns off. For 9 months, menstruation doesn’t bother a woman at all. The absence of a period is associated with a change in the hormonal background. Only after birth the body begins to recover. The hormonal background returns to its normal state, and the menstruation starts again.
There is no specific time limit, after which period after childbirth may begin. The time of its occurrence is individual for each woman. In most cases, menstruation begins after weaning of the baby from the breast. This is due to the fact that during breastfeeding a hormone called prolactin is produced in the pituitary gland.
It doesn’t only control the production of milk but also inhibits the functioning of the ovaries. This is the reason for the lack of a normal menstrual cycle. If breastfeeding continues for a long time and complementary feeding is introduced late, the onset of the period after childbirth occurs after the child is one year old.
Some women introduce complementary feeding rather early. In the pituitary gland, prolactin begins to be produced in smaller quantities and ceases to suppress the work of the ovaries. Most often, menstruation in this situation begins six months after delivery.
There are cases when young mothers combine artificial feeding with breastfeeding immediately after childbirth. This leads to the fact that the menstrual function recovers 3-4 months after the birth of the child.
In certain situations, women cannot breastfeed a baby in general. Menstruation, in this case, can begin in 6-10 weeks after delivery.
The recovery of menstrual function is affected not only by the moment of cessation of breastfeeding but also by many other factors, both internal and external. Among them are the following:
- The regime of day and rest;
- Presence of chronic diseases, complications;
- Psychological condition.
When Does the Period After Childbirth Begin?
Proceeding from the foregoing, it is easy to guess that the onset of the period after childbirth depends on breastfeeding. In order to actively develop prolactin, a woman must breastfeed at any time of the day and night (on the baby’s demand). The more often- the better. Only, in this case, the menstruation will not start. But as soon as lactation decreases – the production of prolactin falls. Then, as a result, the menstruation recovers again.
What concerns the norms and terms, as already mentioned, there are many “normal” terms. This is all because the organism of each woman is individual. Besides, modern technologies (hormonal preparations for contraception, drugs used while giving birth) sometimes violate what Mother Nature has conceived and established.
Beginning of Period After Childbirth: Common Features
In most cases, after the delivery, the menstrual cycle quickly becomes regular. Only during the first couple of months menstruation may come too early or delay a little.
There are many rumors about the menstrual cycle and the speed of its recovery. Some people think that the recovery of the period after childbirth directly depends on the way the child was born. In fact, this is not true. The onset of menstruation has nothing to do with whether the birth was natural or the cesarean section took place.
After the onset of menstruation, many women note that menstruation becomes less painful. What’s more, women no longer feel discomfort. This phenomenon is physiologically explainable. Typically, pain during menstruation occurs due to the bending of the uterus, which prevents normal outflow of blood. After delivery, the positioning of the organs in the abdominal cavity slightly changes. The bend straightens. In this regard, the pain during menstruation disappears.
Character of the Period After Childbirth
It is believed that the menstrual cycle will fully recover and become regular after the first 2-3 months of menstruation. If this does not happen – contact a gynecologist. The cause of irregular postpartum periods may be inflammation of internal genital organs, endometriosis, tumors of the uterus and ovaries and many other pathologies. The reason for the “non-occurrence” of menstruation may also be a new pregnancy because breastfeeding is not a method of contraception.
Usually the first months after birth, menstruation is abundant. The phenomenon is very natural and normal if the menstruation lasts no more than a week. However, if such periods are accompanied by dizziness, weakness, rapid heartbeat, you should consult a doctor.
After birth, there may be changes in the duration of the menstrual cycle and the duration of the menstruation (blood secretions). The normal menstrual cycle is from 21 to 35 days. The period of discharge is not more than 5 days and not less than 3. Any deviation is an occasion to call a doctor. The period should be neither long nor plentiful, neither short nor scanty. A too long period may indicate a uterine myoma.
Does the Absence of Period After Childbirth Means Effective Contraception?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t. Many young couples, believing that the absence of menstruation is a guarantee of the absence of ovulation, refuse to use contraception and often fall into the trap, surprised to find an increase in the stomach, nausea, and wiggling of an already grown fetus. Why is this happening?
The thing is that menstruation comes after the accomplished ovulation, the onset of which you can’t notice. Leading a regular sex life after childbirth without contraception, a woman cannot know if cyclic hormonal processes have recovered in her body. So, conception is quite possible. Particularly unpleasant in this situation is that under normal conditions a woman suspects pregnancy after a delay in menstruation, whereas after birth, this symptom is absent. This is the reason for the late establishment of the fact of pregnancy, which arose against the background of physiological amenorrhea.
Situations When It Is Better to Visit a Doctor
Sometimes, the period after childbirth does not start. This fact may indicate the presence of diseases of the genitourinary system. After the termination of breastfeeding, menstruation may also be absent. The reasons for this are postpartum pathologies, endometriosis, hormonal disorders, swelling, inflammation of the ovaries and other problems. If the period doesn’t start for a long time after termination of breastfeeding, it is always worth consulting a doctor to prevent the occurrence of undesirable consequences.
Consult a medical specialist if the period after childbirth is very abundant. If you need more than 1 pad for 2 hours, then this should be regarded as bleeding. Such symptoms as soreness, unpleasant smell and dark shade of blood are also the reasons for visiting a doctor.
If in 2-3 months after the beginning of the period the menstrual cycle doesn’t recover, then this is already a deviation. In a similar situation, it is necessary to ask advice from the gynecologist. The cause of such a problem may be hormonal disorders.
The use of tampons and usual pads (with absorbent mesh) is possible only after the full recovery of the menstrual cycle. Do not use the mentioned above means immediately after birth while having lochia. Tampons interfere with free flow of blood, which is extremely important in the postpartum period. Absorbent mesh on pads can irritate the injured mucous, especially if a woman has postnatal seams. Also, with lochia, a frequent care of genitalia is recommended. But do not use intimate gels. It is better to use baby soap. Choose pads with a smooth surface. Change them every 3-4 hours. While having lochia, unprotected sex is also unacceptable, in order to avoid possible infections getting into the open uterus. Doctors recommend refusing sexual contacts within 6 weeks after childbirth in general.
In conclusion, it should be emphasized that the time when the menstrual period after childbirth begins is different for every woman. The period after childbirth does not appear at a specific time. The duration of the recovery process is purely individual. Personal hygiene also plays a huge role after giving birth. At this time, you need to be very careful about your body to prevent infection of the uterus, and the occurrence of any inflammatory processes.