Everything You Need To Know About Your First Period After Pregnancy

<span class="copyright">FatCamera via Getty Images</span>
FatCamera via Getty Images

After having a baby, your body goes through an influx of changes. Whether it’s ever-changing hormones, breast milk production or night sweats (yes that happened to me for weeks postpartum), it can all be a surprise for first time parents.

During your pregnancy your period stops — this is because your uterus is no longer shedding each month, instead it’s staying intact to support your growing baby.

But once your have the baby, your period not only resumes, it can continue for weeks! However it’s different for every parent.

When do periods start postpartum?

Whether you breastfeed or bottle feed impacts when your period restarts. If you’re bottle feeding, or combined bottle feeding your period can start five to six weeks postpartum.

However, if you choose to fully breastfeed it could take until you reduce feeds for your period to come back.

Founder of LDN Fitness Mums Sarah Campus says: “If you choose to breastfeed exclusively, your first period may not return for several months. It can be 9-18 months postpartum, sometimes even once you finish breastfeeding.

“Weaning your baby will almost certainly cause your menstrual cycle to return, but most people find that they do not need to wean in order for their cycle to gradually resume.”

Are postpartum periods different?

Lauren Johnson Reynolds who is the founder of London Wellness Coach and an expert in nutrition, hormone health, fertility and PCOS says you should expect periods after birth to be different.

She explains that they can be heavier or lighter, flowing for longer than usual, or sometimes less regular — it very much depends on the individual.

“Sometimes you can be more regular than you were before, sometimes less. Its very much going to come down to the individual so its important to keep in touch with your GP if you are worried,” explains Lauren.

Lauren suggests to document your period and contact a healthcare professional if you are worried. She also says parents should be aware that although breastfeeding does impact ovulation — they can still get pregnant.

Is postpartum bleeding the same as a period?

Some parents may even experience postpartum bleeding — this can last from 4-6 weeks but it’s not to be confused with your period.

Dr Sarah Jenkins explains that the uterus is designed as an incredibly vascular muscle and as this contracts down after giving birth, it can cause bleeding.

She says: “But not every parent experiences bleeding and it may last for six weeks or less. Any postpartum bleeding is from the uterus contracting down to normal size and function. The reason it lasts up to 6 weeks is because that is how long it takes the uterus to contract down to normal size and shape.”