Pregnancy is a wonderful experience that shows women the power of their bodies. There are so many changes women go through during pregnancy, including increased breast size, weight gain, hair loss, food aversions or cravings, or fluid retention. The changes don’t stop after pregnancy either, as women’s bodies adjust to postpartum life.
A major change during pregnancy is the 9-month pause on menstruation. Unfortunately, this is not permanent because eventually your period will return after childbirth. How and when your period comes back depends on a few different factors, but you may be asking will it be different?
When to Expect Your Period?
There is no hard and fast rule about when menstruation will begin after the birth of a child. However, the biggest influence on when your period will start is breastfeeding. Women who exclusively breastfeed their babies, meaning they do not supplement with formula, will generally not have their period for a few months up to the entire time they breastfeed. For women who do not breastfeed or breastfeed but supplement with formula, their periods usually return between four to eight weeks after childbirth.
You may be wondering why breastfeeding has such a strong influence on your menstruation. When women lactate their bodies produce prolactin, a hormone essential to the production of breast milk. Prolactin can interfere with reproduction hormones resulting in your body not ovulating or releasing eggs. You will not have a period if your body does not release an egg for fertilization. This reaction to the prolactin hormone has been thought of as your body’s way to prevent pregnancy so your baby can receive all of the nutrients from your breastmilk.
One thing to keep in mind is that just because you have not had your period after childbirth does not mean you cannot become pregnant. Before you period returns you will ovulate which means you will be able to conceive. Talking with your doctor is an important step during this time.
The First Period
During pregnancy, your body made adjustments to promote the healthy growth of your baby, but after pregnancy your body begins to prepare itself for ovulation so you are able to conceive another child. However, your body will probably not be completely healed from childbirth before your period begins again.
As the baby grows so does your uterus and it can take months for your uterus to return to its’ pre-baby size. The change in your uterus creates more uterine lining and when your period comes it means more uterine lining needs to be shed. This can cause a variety of uncomfortable or painful symptoms, such as:
- Changes in cramping (stronger or lighter than pre-pregnancy)
- Passing of small blood clots
- Heavier flow
- Periods that seem to stop and start again
- More pain than usual
- Longer or shorter periods than before pregnancy
It is important to keep in mind that while these symptoms are common, everyone does not experience them. Some women report that their first periods after childbirth were not different or that their menstrual symptoms improved. Like pregnancy, every woman will have a different experience when her period returns.
If you think your periods are not “normal” we encourage you to take our symptom-checker quiz to find out if you have uterine fibroids.
Period Complications After Pregnancy
After pregnancy, your period may fluctuate and change quite a lot, which often makes it difficult to know what is considered normal and what is abnormal. Consulting your doctor and monitoring your symptoms is important in order to determine if it’s just your body returning to your regular period, or if it could be an underlying condition.
For most women their periods regulate after a few months, but for others they may develop complications with their periods. The most common conditions are:
- Fibroids: non-cancerous tumors that develop in the uterine wall and can cause symptoms like heavy bleeding, painful periods, or abdominal pain.
- Adenomyosis: this is when the endometrium (uterus inner-lining) grows into or within the uterine wall causing painful or heavy periods.
- Sheehan’s syndrome: severe blood loss damages the pituitary gland and prevents your ovaries from functioning properly, reducing or stopping your periods.
- Asherman’s syndrome: scar tissue that forms in the uterus or cervix that causes them to stick together and shrink the size of your uterus.
These period conditions are not the only complications that can occur after childbirth. This is why it is important for women to pay attention to their bodies to avoid any serious conditions. If you experience any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor immediately:
- Sudden fever
- Passing blood clots that are bigger than a golf ball
- Bleeding through one pad or tampon every hour
- Severe headache or trouble breathing
- Painful urination or urinating frequently
- Fatigue caused by anemia
- Severe or sudden pain during bleeding
- Pain during intercourse
Your Period, Fibroids, and Pregnancy
According to a recent study, 30% of 4,500 women who had fibroids during pregnancy said they experienced bleeding and pain during their first trimester. This is why it’s important to be in contact with your doctor to monitor your fibroids’ growth. Pregnancy induces estrogen production, which can sometimes can fibroids to change in size.
Fibroids can also affect your period before and after pregnancy. Symptoms may seem to “come and go” in waves, which often makes women think their fibroids have gone away. For some women, fibroid symptoms may become worse after pregnancy, while others may see an improvement in their pain or bleeding. It’s important to see a fibroid specialist after pregnancy to see if you are a candidate for fibroid treatment. If you want to learn more about uterine fibroids and pregnancy, visit our page by clicking below.
Treating Adenomyosis and Fibroids After Pregnancy
Life after pregnancy can be a difficult transition, so you shouldn’t have to worry about your periods on top of everything else. If you are experiencing any complications with regards to your period make time to speak with your doctor about your treatment options.
At USA Fibroid Centers, we specialize in non-surgical uterine fibroid and adenomyosis treatment. Our Interventional Radiologists are experienced in providing care for women who are suffering from painful uterine fibroid or adenomyosis symptoms. Take control of your body and find relief from your symptoms so you can get back to what really matters: You and Your Family!
Visit our website at www.usafibroidcenters.com or call us at 855-615-2555 to schedule your consultation today.