Women experience the privilege of a period-free life while pregnant. Sure, they trade it for morning sickness, swollen feet, and labor, but they don't have to deal with Aunt Flo wrecking their lives every month.
Many women say the lack of a period is so great that they can deal with pregnancy issues. It's even possible to get a reprieve for months longer if mom nurses. Ovulating won't resume immediately if mom is exclusively nursing in most cases, so no pregnancy and no period end up becoming mom's norm.
The problems usually start when mom's body begins the process of menstruating again. Even after years of getting a period, the body can lose its groove after pregnancy and cause mom tons of pain and bleeding, even more than she experienced before. It can also forget how to start a period, leaving mom in a perpetual state of bloating and hormonal fluctuations. Existing in either condition is hard, and women have felt desperate trying to manage post-pregnancy periods.
The culprits can be many, from scar tissue to disorders that developed during or after pregnancy. Mom may end up in the gynecologist's office as much as she was while pregnant trying to uncover the mystery that is her period, and many women feel like they don't receive satisfactory answers to their inquiries.
Women need to know all of the possible issues that can crop up so they can search in the right places when problems strike. This list offers a good start at looking at what can go wrong down there after the baby is born.
Endometriosis can be temporarily cured by pregnancy, so many women are devastated when this condition comes back in full force when ovulation starts again. Endometriosis occurs when a tissue like the lining of the uterus is found in other parts of the body. It causes pain, bleeding, and in some cases infertility.
For women who do get pregnant despite endometriosis, the lack of ovulation will offer them a reprieve from the pain that is welcome. In fact, the longer a mom nurses the longer she will usually receive a break from endometriosis issues.
However, this condition can and often does come back full force when ovulation resumes, and it's devastating to try to raise a child while struggling with the pain and bleeding that endometriosis brings. Though some women find that pregnancy cures them permanently, many women find it just gave them a slight break. There are also women who don't have symptoms of endometriosis until after they have a child, opening a new painful chapter of their lives as they try to adapt to motherhood.
14Baby Number Two?
Getting pregnant once means getting pregnant twice, right? Not always, unfortunately. Women don't expect infertility to strike after they have already successfully conceived and given birth. However, secondary infertility is real and affects women who are already moms on a regular basis.
Period problems are usually the first sign of a problem. Mom may not start her period again after weaning her child, or she may have a never-ending period that causes her to feel faint. Whatever happens, things just don't go back to normal, and mom can't predict her ovulation or manage to get pregnant again.
Secondary infertility can also strike men as they age and their sperm are less quality. It's worth having both partners checked out, but if mom is already having issues with her period, that's likely the cause of the infertility. With a doctor's help, mom's ovulation can sometimes be regulated, leading her to be able to conceive again.
13Horror Show Bleeding
Women report a change in bleeding after having a child. There's that first six weeks or so where mom bleeds postpartum, and that is an intense time to survive. Moms get used to the reprieve offered while they aren't ovulating, but as soon as their periods start again, they notice the bleeding is intense.
Women report passing clots that are big enough to be concerning, and the bleeding sometimes doesn't let up. Women may bleed for weeks, causing them to feel dizzy or sick and making them wonder why things have changed.
The issues that cause heavy bleeding are many, and while some are innocuous, others are not. Mom will likely find herself back in her OBs office looking for answers, especially if she is barely getting any time between when one period ends and the other begins. Doctors may try to solve this problem using birth control pills or other methods, but they will likely test mom for certain conditions first.
12Running Low On Progesterone
Progesterone is an important hormone that the body needs when pregnant. In fact, progesterone levels that are too low can lead to infertility. What many women don't know is that progesterone levels matter even when we aren't pregnant, and if they are off our periods will be weird.
A woman whose progesterone levels are too low may not experience a period at all, but she may have all the symptoms that one is coming, such as headaches, moodiness, and bloating. Without the progesterone, she may feel like she stays stuck with the symptoms, and no relief comes because no period shows up.
Too much estrogen, issues with insulin, and a ton of other issues can mess with progesterone levels, but it's important that mom works with doctors to get it regulated. Being too low on progesterone long term can cause more health issues down the road.
For women who don't breastfeed or who have already weaned the baby, a missing period can cause some concern. Why isn't it coming to visit on a normal schedule? Is it going to start when mom is out and about and forgets to bring tampons? Why can't it just show up already?
Women report asking these questions after babies are born because their periods get weird. There are many reasons mom's period may go MIA, including stress, but how is mom supposed to know what is causing her period to bail?
This is also a major problem if mom wants to try to start having another child. Tracking ovulation is hard when mom has no idea when her period is supposed to start, and getting pregnant is even harder.
Low progesterone, over exercising, and a host of hormone problems may be the culprit. Hormones are especially suspect after birth because they have trouble regulating in many women, causing problems with periods, big feelings, and even exhaustion.
10Float The Bloat
Women report feeling much more bloated when they get their periods after having babies. This is not fun news for women who are already doing everything they can to fit back into their pre-pregnancy jeans and who just want to get over the fear of looking down at their stomachs.
Hormones, as usual, may be to blame. So can loose skin that stretched so far during pregnancy that it didn't exactly come back. Women also experience bloating in other parts of their bodies, such as their breasts and sometimes their feet. It's uncomfortable, and most of mom's clothes will probably not fit during this delicate time every month.
There are measures that can be taken to decrease bloating, such as getting more rest, avoiding too much sugar, and trying to work out regularly. However, these are all of the things that are difficult to do when on our periods because we crave chocolate and the couch.
9Bye, Bye Pill
Birth control pills are reliable friends for many women during the pre-baby years. They regulate mom's period, her moods, and they let her know exactly when she is going to start each month. These pills have side effects and shouldn't be used long-term, but many women enjoy the predictability they offer, and some use them to regulate conditions such as endometriosis.
Women who are breastfeeding often don't want to go back on the pill because they don't want the hormones in the pills to affect their babies. Though there are low-dose pills that doctors can offer, women often don't risk it, and those who want to get pregnant again in a year or so may not thinks it's worth it.
What many women don't expect is the major changes that occur when mom has to go through a period off the pill after being on it for so long. It's a new, unbridled experience, and it can mess with mom emotionally why she tries to adjust to the change.
8What's Left Behind
Our bodies are different after we have kids, and not just on the outside. We may feel pains when we get a period that we've never had before, and that could have to do with what our bodies went through while having a child.
Women who have C-sections will be left with scar tissue, and this can make menstrual cramps much worse. Women who needed episiotomies during birth may feel more tender down there when on their periods. Though we've gone through the ultimate pain while giving birth, that doesn't keep us from falling victim to cramping that is worse than it was before.
Scar tissue is often a permanent problem, especially if mom has had more than one C-section. There are surgeries that remove scar tissue, but they can cause more scar tissue in the process, so it's risky to try and may not solve mom's problem.
7When Is This Happening?
Relying on nursing for birth control is not a good idea. A woman has to ovulate before she can start her period, which means women who are nursing and not getting periods can ovulate at any time. The period doesn't signal them being fertile again; the ovulation that takes place before the period does. That's why not using birth control is risky business.
Even women who aren't nursing often feel safe those first few weeks after birth. They just had a baby, they haven't gotten a period yet, and they fall into a false sense of safety.
Waiting on that first period can be torture if mom is using a natural family planning method for birth control because she won't have any idea where she is in her cycle. It is possible to get pregnant in those early days after birth, and women get pregnant while breastfeeding all the time. That's why mom needs to take an extra careful approach to intimacy when she hasn't started yet.
6That Was Quick
Some lucky women find they actually have shorter periods after giving birth. We should all be so lucky. These women are often surprised about these abbreviated cycles, and most believe it is too good to be true until it keeps happening month after month.
While bleeding for a shorter period of time is awesome, women in this situation aren't exempt from other issues. They may still have intense cramps and pronounced PMS symptoms. Some even feel like they need to bleed longer, but low progesterone may mean they don't cycle as long as usual. This can leave women with a bloated feeling that lingers longer than the bleeding.
This may be a perfectly normal change, but some women actually find themselves asking their doctors about why they aren't bleeding as long. It's worth investigating if mom is experiencing other symptoms that make her think there may be a problem.
5Is This The End
The last thing most moms are thinking about after giving birth to a baby is menopause. Menopause can take years to finally get through, but it can start with a few irregular periods and hot flashes, and mom may not realize that that's what is happening to her.
With women waiting longer to have children, it's no wonder that some go straight from the fertile years to the menopause years. It's not a particularly easy transition, and we imagine women much older than us going through it, but women do not have to be advanced age to start the pre-menopause process. Very early in this phase, mom's period will change.
Doctors can sometimes test levels to try to figure out where mom is when it comes to menopause, but mom will likely know before she gets the results that something is off. She will then have to make decisions about whether or not to take hormones while still buying diapers for an infant.
Women sometimes choose intrauterine devices(IUDs) for birth control after having a baby because they are highly effective, and mom won't have to remember to pop a low-dose birth control pill daily while sleep deprived. However, IUDs can change mom's periods, especially after birth.
IUDs boast of offering less cramps and shorter periods, sometimes even stopping mom's period altogether. However, they can also do just the opposite, causing more bleeding and pelvic pain than normal, and this could be a real issue for women struggling with scar tissue after pregnancy.
Changes to our uterus may also make the fit of an IUD uncomfortable, and many moms don't use them because they tend to be long-term birth control. A woman who wants to get pregnant again in a couple of years won't want to take the chance of irregular periods and more severe cramps with the IUD, anyway.
One of the biggest frustrations when dealing with after-baby periods is the irregularity. Women who used to predict when their periods would arrive down to the hour now don't know when to expect them. Will it be every 28 days or every 21? Will mom have one this month or three tiny periods? Will mom get a period at all this month, or better luck next time?
When the body is trying to get back on track, nothing is out of the realm of possibility. Wanting a normal cycle is liking hoping to see a rainbow colored unicorn walk through the living room. It just doesn't happen for most moms, especially in the beginning.
Hormones, stress, and lack of sleep are easy to blame, and they probably all share the blame for how erratic periods are in the beginning. Things usually level out, but by then most women are ready to try to get pregnant again.
Premenstrual syndrome is joked about often, but it's real. So is it's angrier older cousin premenstrual dysphoric disorder, better known as PMDD. When PMDD hits a woman, she knows because it is like PMS on all kinds of drugs with a crazy attitude problem and no limits. It will make her lose interest in her life or hurt so bad she doesn't even feel like she is living.
Women who never experienced PMDD before may find it hits them after pregnancy, and it can bring with it severe pain, suicidal thoughts, and the loss of interest in everyday life. Women have lost their jobs due to PMDD symptoms keeping them from being able to function, and some women choose hysterectomies over enduring month after month of this condition.
Women can seek help for PMDD, and they should. There have been women who feared they were bipolar because their PMDD was so severe, but doctors were able to properly diagnose them and offer help.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a cause of infertility, and for many women secondary infertility. Due to hormone problems, women who suffer from PCOS may notice that their periods are irregular, and they may also have issues with too much hair growth in the wrong places and acne.
No one knows for sure what causes PCOS, but there are women who had no issues getting pregnant the first time who then struggle because they developed it. It can be a fertility killer, and it has to be dealt with before many women can conceive.
Irregular periods can just be a sign that mom's body hasn't quite regulated after pregnancy, but combined with other symptoms it can signal PCOS. That's why women have to pay attention to the signs their bodies give them via their menstrual cycle. Following those clues can lead to discoveries that can be treated to help mom stay healthy.
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