There will be a lot of changes in your menstrual cycle after pregnancy. To make sure you know your body is healing properly, here is a guide to the different stages of bleeding and what to expect.
Once you’ve given birth you’ll experience bleeding known as lochia – this is your body getting rid of the lining of the uterus. It can flow like a period, though more heavily, or it can come out in gushes. It’ll change color as it progresses and eventually end up as a discharge. You may then experience light blood loss for around 6 weeks after giving birth, though it differs from woman to woman.
You should only use sanitary pads, and not tampons, to absorb the bleeding. This is to help prevent any infection and avoid obstructing the flow of blood.
When Will You Start Your Normal Menstrual Cycle After Pregnancy?
Your menstrual cycle will usually resume about 2 months after giving birth. However, there is no way of telling when ovulation starts again, so you should always use contraception (see below). If you’re breastfeeding then your period could take longer to get back to normal, and may not even start again until after you’ve stopped breastfeeding. If it does return, it could be irregular or shorter/ longer than usual.
Many women also experience blood clots in their periods following pregnancy. This is perfectly normal. If they last for a long time, however, you can ask your doctor for advice. You should also speak to your doctor if your periods haven’t returned after a few months.
Thinking About Having Another Baby? Or Not?
It’s important to realize that if you have sex after giving birth there is always a chance of getting pregnant. Even though you may not think you are fertile or having periods again, you can still get pregnant. It’s advisable to wait at least 6 weeks to start having sex again, in order to give your body time to recover. When you do, make sure you use contraception.
Many women believe that they cannot get pregnant if they are still breastfeeding, but this is not true. Although the sucking sensation does send signals to stop your body ovulating, this is never guaranteed so you should always use proper contraception.
The menstrual cycle after pregnancy really does differ from woman to woman. The important thing is that you seek advice from your doctor if you are worried.