Pregnancy
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Periods after Pregnancy: Your first period

Introduction

Pregnancy is obviously known to be such a beautiful experience, not necessarily easy but beautiful for sure because the product is a human life. Apart from all these amazing emotions of becoming a mother and bearing life inside of you, there’s one thing which makes pregnancy an even better time, the absence of periods! That’s right, the one phenomenon that bothers women for majority of their life, completely vanishes for 9 months. But what happens when the baby is born and our body is now preparing to go back to its normal cycle? Periods after pregnancy, a discussion that needs to happen more.

Periods after pregnancy

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  • When does it start? Periods should resume between 45-90 days after child birth. The number of days it takes to resume, defers from person to person based on many factors. On average is found that women start their periods 70 days after child birth. If your periods do not resume within 90 days (for non-breast feeding mothers) then it is important to visit you gynaecologist as there may be some issue with your body post pregnancy.
  • Is it different from previous experience with periods? Yes. But again, it’s different for different women. Some observed that it gets easier and they have a much better feeling period while some say that they experience a heavier flow and more cramping. In general women observe more clots and a change in colour of blood. The cycle may also be irregular based on different hormonal factors but it is scientifically proven that the cycle more or less goes back to normal (i.e., pre pregnancy periods) in the long run.
  • Will there be irregularity? The answer is yes, especially if you have PCOS or are breastfeeding. Even otherwise irregularity is normal as it takes a while for the uterus to return to its original shape after childbirth. It also depends on the medication given to you post pregnancy, for example if you had a C section then the doctor may have prescribed some medicines to probe healing which may affect the period regularity.
  • Can we get pregnant immediately after childbirth even if there are no periods? YES! Many women who went for their 6-week post-partum check-up return home with a little surprise that they are pregnant again. It is important to remember that the ovulation stage comes before the bleeding/shedding stage, so for all you know, if you have sexual contact before the bleeding/period stage then there might be an egg in there waiting to get fertilised. Hence why doctors advise that you hop back on to birth control as soon as you resume sexual contact with your partner without waiting for your periods to start again. In general couples are advised to wait 4-6 weeks before intercourse as that’s how long it takes for your vagina to heal completely after pregnancy, especially if you had a normal delivery. If you don’t want to get on to birth control measure like pills or implants as they may affect hormone levels and breastfeeding, then opt for temporary measure like condoms to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

Breastfeeding/ Nursing and periods

What connection does breastfeeding have with periods? Does it affect when and how your get your periods post-partum? The answer is yes. Breastfeeding closely affects when you get your periods as Prolactin, the hormone required to produce breast milk, suppresses reproductive hormones. Consequently, there’s lesser chances of ovulation and therefore lesser chances of periods. Breastfeeding women usually don’t get their periods for months but if and when they do, it does intervene with the process of breastfeeding. On the days of periods, milk secretion might be lower and the taste of the milk may change due to hormones because of which you may see your child fussing slightly more than usual.

If you are not breastfeeding and opting for formula milk then chances are you will get back to menstrual cycle sooner. Like we’ve already mentioned if you are not breastfeeding and still don’t get your periods within 90 days of child birth then do visit your medical health expert, there might be a secondary problem there.

Food and Lifestyle

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The female body is pretty fragile post pregnancy and hence what you eat is very important to bring it back to its original strength and give it the ability to deal with menstruation. Opt for protein rich balanced diet. Be sure to include fruits, vegetables, dairy, lean meats, fish, poultry etc. Try and avoid caffeine, alcohol and junk food. 

As for lifestyle it may be helpful to start including light exercises, yoga etc into your regime to kick start the weight loss process to help return to your pre-pregnancy body. It also helps in strengthening the muscles back and helps in inducing better sleep, which most new mothers lack. Breathing exercises may also help in relaxing and contracting the muscles which usually expand during pregnancy in order to make room for the growing baby. Having said this, remember that one must feel no pressure to lost post pregnancy weight. It is a beautiful and taxing process and little bit of weight is the sign of success. You brought a life into this world and you should be proud of yourself for doing that.

Conclusion

Periods after pregnancy is just way of your body to say that it is ready to back to normalcy and hence it is nothing to worry about. You’ve done this before; you can do it again. Change is the only constant, especially with the human body, so embrace that change and do what you can to ease yourself into it.

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