Having a baby is a miracle in itself. Moms can give the ultimate gift of life to another human being. They carry their child around inside of them for nine long months and form a bond that can never be broken. While pregnancy can be a blessing, it can also wreak havoc on a woman’s body with all of the changes that it goes through over the course of those nine months, and even still after the baby is born. A woman’s body not only goes through physical changes during pregnancy but hormonally as well.
Pregnancy changes a woman's body; there's no denying that. From the expanding belly to the hormones, and it can even change a woman's period after giving birth. Since a woman’s menstrual cycle is a key element in a woman’s reproductive system, it is understandable that periods may change after having a baby.
Some women who have had irregular or erratic periods may all of a sudden start to having a regular cycle every 28 to 35 days. In other cases, if a woman had painful periods with a heavy flow and extreme cramping, some women may notice that their periods are no longer as brutal. However, some women also end up with heavier flows and more cramping than they used to have. Sometimes these changes are only temporary, but sometimes the postpartum period changes will stick around. While some women may get lucky and have less intense periods, for others, it may be just a bit worse than before their pregnancy. Here is a list of some period struggles after having a baby.
15 Lochia - And Lots Of It
Lochia comes from a Greek word that means relating to childbirth. Lochia is discharge from the lady parts that come out after a woman has given birth and can last anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks. It is a mix of blood, uterine lining, and white blood cells. The first few days after delivering a baby, the lochia will be a bright red color and resemble a heavy period. Using an industrial strength (heavy duty) pad is best for those first few days. With each passing day, the lochia should decrease in amount and allow mom to switch to using a regular pad. The lochia can either come out in small gushes or be more consistent.
Having a period is bad enough, so having to deal with the lochia can drive a mom crazy. However, the baby is well worth the nuisance of dealing with the dreaded lochia. It can also last around four weeks. Between days 2 and 4, the color of the lochia should start to taper to a lighter pink color and become watery. Around ten days after birth, there should mainly only be a yellowish-white or white color discharge left. If there is still a decent amount of blood mixed in with the discharge, it is advisable to contact an OB-GYN.
14 Hormones Are Still Out Of Control
After having a baby, women can sometimes become really moody. This is caused by the drop-in estrogen and progesterone hormone levels. But what does this mean for a new mom’s period? The new mom may not get a real period for sometimes up to 10-weeks or until their hormone levels even out and return to normal postpartum. New moms will still experience the fun of post-baby lochia right after giving birth, but they won’t have to worry about getting aunt flo for another couple of weeks, given that mom is not breastfeeding her little one.
Some moms may feel over joyed with unconditional love for their new baby one minute and have negative thoughts regarding their baby the next. That is okay, and it is completely normal. A woman’s body goes through so many changes during and after pregnancy, especially hormonally. So, it can be completely understandable for a new mom to feel a bit mood and kind of up and down until their hormone levels are normal again. Stay strong new moms!
13 Chunks Of Red Is Annoying But Normal
After giving birth, a lot of moms notice that they are clotting either for the first time or more than they used too. There is no cause for alarm unless the clots are pretty big; the size of a half dollar coin or larger. If a mom notices she is passing large clots, she may need to check in with her doctor to make sure that everything is okay down there.
Clots can be a sign of the body trying to heal itself naturally. When mom is going through the lochia “period” then she will most definitely notice clotting, and that is still okay. It is actually to be expected because the lochia is blood, uterine tissue, and what blood cells.
12 Nursing Will Delay Aunt Flo's Visit
A lot of women are unaware that breastfeeding can affect when a period returns after having a baby. For women who choose to breastfeed, they may not even get their first real period until they are 20-weeks postpartum. This can vary greatly per every woman due to the fact that every female’s body is different. Breastfeeding postpones getting a period because of the hormone called prolactin which helps produce the breast milk.
Breastfeeding can cause a woman’s body to not release an egg like it normally would due to that lovely hormone prolactin. In a sense, it suppresses a woman’s reproductive system further delaying that first agonizing real period. New moms will still have the lochia after birth, but not a regular period caused by the release of an egg waiting to get fertilized. However, do not take this as a reason to get down and dirty without protection because as long as a woman still has good eggs, and her partner has adequate swimmers, pregnancy is always possible!
11 While Formula-Feeding Will Jumpstart The Cycle
The moms who decide to use formula instead of their own milk supply might become a little disappointed with their first period after birth because mother nature will return to them sooner than they may want. While breastfeeding, mom’s period will return later than a mom who doesn't want to utilize the girls. It is about 10-weeks postpartum that a non-breastfeeding mom will have aunt flo return, whereas using the girls is about 20-weeks post-baby. These time frames are not an exact estimate, but more of an average since every woman’s body is uniquely different.
A non-breastfeeding mom may also have a heavier flow than a mom who is using her own supply. This is due to the fact that the hormone prolactin can postpone and/or minimize a woman’s period. Prolactin is what helps moms be able to produce milk in the first place. So, mom, if a period is something you really don’t want for a while (especially after dealing with lochia), then consider utilizing the girls.
10 Prepare For The 'Start And Stop' Motion
After having a baby, and mom’s period finally returns, there is the possibility if it is feeling like it is stopping and starting when it feels like it. This, again, can be due to the fact that breastfeeding moms have that lovely prolactin hormone surging through their bodies which will cause erratic periods if they even get one at all. The first few months after having a baby for breastfeeding moms, their period can start and stop randomly and could remain erratic until mom starts to wean her little one off of the girls. The less a mom breastfeeds, the more normal her periods will seem.
Moms who breastfeed may get light spotting in place of an actual, normal period. The spotting could go on for as long as mom breastfeeds. If she decides to use the girls for a year to feed for baby, then mom might go a year without a real period.
9 Birth Control May Need To Be Changed
After having a baby, a woman’s birth control needs will change. If a new mom was using a diaphragm pre-baby, then she will definitely need to get it refitted post-baby. This is because pregnancy changes a woman’s body, and now mom may need a larger size diaphragm than before.
Diaphragms and cervical caps can be less effective after a woman has a baby - going from being about 80% effective to a mere 60%. That is a 20% decrease! Women are also not advised to start doing the deed until they have their first postpartum checkup. So there would be no need for birth control until this checkup, right? Yes, but if mom decides to have sex, rubbers would be the best method.
If a mom is breastfeeding, hormonal birth control products that contain estrogen are a no-no. This is because hormonal birth control can actually jeopardize a nursing mom’s milk supply. Other methods of birth control, such as an IUD or the Depo injections, can also be used once the mom has seen her doctor for her checkup.
8 Expect More Leaks
Some women are gifted with a period where the flow has always been light. Well, sorry to say this mom’s, but after pregnancy and birth what was considered normal may no longer be the norm. Some women may experience heavier bleeding than they used to, which can become kind of an annoying nuisance. A flow could change drastically from one pregnancy to the next. With baby number one, mom might start to bleed heavier, but after baby number two mom might notice that it has lightened up again. For the women who don’t know what lochia is, they may assume or confuse the bleeding after birth to be an actual period.
If a mom is really bothered by how much their flow has increased after having their little one, then they should consult with their doctor because going on birth control could possibly help bring things back to normal a bit. However, a word of warning is that moms who are breastfeeding really need to watch what birth control they use because certain hormonal contraceptives can greatly reduce a nursing mom’s milk supply.
7 And Horrible Belly Pains
There are numerous things that can cause worsening cramps during that time of the month after having a baby. Believe or not mom’s, but in all actuality sometimes these horrible cramps have nothing to do with having a baby and everything to do with just simply being a female.
Sometimes the cramping can be caused by things like fibroids, polyps, cysts, or even weight gain. A majority of women, more do than don’t gain weight during their pregnancy. Weight gain can further be making cramping feel worse than it used to be. If the cramping is hard to deal with, going on certain birth controls can help alleviate some of the pain. It is always best to speak to a doctor to find out which contraceptive options would be best, especially if the new mom is nursing.
6 You Can Get Knocked Up... Again
There are a lot of moms out there that either think or do not know that it is possible to become pregnant again right after having a baby. This is rare, and not common, but some women may release an egg and not even know it. They might believe that the bleeding they are experiencing is just the lochia and not a real period since it can take 10 to 20 weeks before a real period actually starts for women who have just had a baby. It is also possible for a woman to get knocked up while she is already pregnant.
It’s a rare phenomenon that can happen to some women who are in their third trimester. That is why a woman’s doctor might suggest that if the soon-to-be mom I still doing the deed, which she uses protection. So, if it is possible to get knocked up while pregnant, it is definitely possible to become pregnant after birth as well.
5 Mom's Body Can Be Changed For The Better
Having a baby can change a woman’s period postpartum. Some women that previously had a spontaneous or unpredictable period may all of a sudden get regular periods that cycle every 28 to 35 days. Some new moms that had endometriosis before becoming pregnant and having the baby say that their symptoms have lessened and that their periods are no longer as agonizing and brutal
For some women who had a hard time conceiving their bright-eyed babe may also seem to become much more fertile, which makes it easier to conceive their next child. This is especially true for women who suffered from endometriosis. This is because the hormones that mom acquired during her pregnancy can actually help repair the damage done by endometriosis, therefore, making it easier for mom to conceive another baby.
4 Cycles Will Be Unpredictable
While some women find that pregnancy helped their menstrual cycles, other women find that their once normal cycles are now erratic. After giving birth, moms who are breastfeeding may not even get their first real period until they are 20-weeks postpartum! That is roughly five months that mom may be period free! This could be amazing to the new mom as long as she is not trying to conceive another baby.
Breastfeeding by itself is enough to cause moms to experience erratic periods. They become erratic due to the hormone prolactin, which is what nourishes mom’s ability to offer up the girls to her newborn baby. Prolactin can halt menstruation while mom is nursing or even simply cause erratic periods or cycles.
When the nursing mom finally is able to her period, there is a good chance that will have a light flow. So, we must take a moment and say. “Thanks, prolactin! Sincerely, all the women who would rather not bleed every month.”
3 Pushing Yourself Will Cause More Bleeding
After having a baby, mom’s need to take it easy because their bodies had just under gone a major trauma. Mom’s need time to heal themselves. While physical activity can be a good way to relieve some of the unpleasant menstrual cramps that can accompany a period, it can also cause a woman to bleed more and make it seem like it’s a much heavier flow than it really is.
Physical activity, or exercising, helps relieve cramping due to the fact that the human body releases endorphins that help the body perceive pain in a different way. However, overdoing it, especially after just having a baby, should be pushed back and done after the period has ended if a heavier flow is something that is being dreaded. No woman likes to have to deal with their period and all of the messiness that comes with it. So, mom’s, do yourself a favor and just try to take it as easy as possible.
2 The Symptoms Might Feel Worse
A lot of things change after having a baby for women. This also includes changes to a woman’s PMS, premenstrual syndrome, symptoms. For some women who have never really felt like they got to experience the joys of PMS, they may now be experiencing it full swing. They could now be experiencing emotional and behavioral symptoms such as feeling moody, crying for no reason, have a change in their appetite, or even get food cravings. They may also develop physical symptoms such as fatigue, abdominal bloating, headaches, and joint or muscle pain.
For some other women who have previously had horrible PMS symptoms, might start to notice that their symptoms are not as severe as they were before having a baby. Every time a woman gets pregnant her body can change up its normal routine without warning.
1 Or The Cramps Might Disappear For Good
For some women, they may have had absolutely horrendous periods before getting pregnant. However, postpartum periods are actually sometimes easier to manage after delivering a baby. This could be especially true for the moms that may have had endometriosis. Sometimes having a baby can repair some of the damage caused by certain gynecological issues. Kind of like hitting the reset button. Some moms may have worse cramping, while others may have it so much better.
It also helps that if some moms had severe PMS symptoms pre-pregnancy, that having a baby could actually change the mom’s menstrual cycle from what it once was. Making aunt flo’s visits not as heinous and tormenting. Experiencing fewer cramps that before, I would have to say, would definitely be a bonus, mom. Don’t you think? Not only would a mom get a little bundle of joy that she will love unconditionally, but she also gets easier periods; it’s a win-win!
Sources: babycenter.com, rubycup.com, parents.com, parenting.com, whattoexpect.com, healthline.com, pregnancy.lovetoknow.com, health.com, mayoclinic.org