Pregnancy is the time when women are free of their monthly menstrual cycle, for as long as nine months and more. But it surely returns after delivery. Whether you have a C-section or vaginal delivery does not have an effect on the restart of your period. It depends on breastfeeding and other factors. Momjunction helps you understand the return of your periods after cesarean delivery.
When Does Your First Period After C-Section Return?
The return of your period depends on breastfeeding and how soon your hormones return to normal. The levels of estrogen, progesterone and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormones drop post pregnancy, say Gordon Edlin and Eric Golanty in the book ‘Health And Wellness’.
However, the level of hormone prolactin does not drop if you breastfeed. So, it suppresses the reproductive hormones, and you cannot ovulate or produce an egg for fertilization. This means that you do not menstruate.
- If you are exclusively breastfeeding, the prolactin levels go high, preventing ovulation for at least six months, according to the book Maternal Child Nursing Care.
- If not breastfeeding, you will get your first period after six to eight weeks after delivery. (1)
Points To Remember:
- You might not get periods until you stop breastfeeding. But in some women, it could return in a couple of months (2).
- Also, the less often your little one nurses, the sooner you will get your periods. If your baby sleeps through the night without breastfeeding from an early age or if you supplement her with formula-feed, you may get your periods sooner than six months.
- Breastfeeding may not be a birth control method as there is no guarantee that you will not ovulate. So, if you do not take any birth control pills, you may become pregnant even before you get your first period. Do not have a wrong notion that you are not fertile when breastfeeding.
[ Read: Pregnancy After Caesarean ]
What Factors Affect Menstruation After Delivery?
The hormonal changes that take place in the body after delivery will have a significant effect on the first few periods. It depends on the:
- Health issues you had before pregnancy
- Changing hormonal levels
- Irregular menstruation before your pregnancy
There are a few other factors which affect your first period. They are:
- Weight loss or gain
- Thyroid disorder
- Irregular physical activity
Remember that c-section does not affect the start of your first period but it does change the way you bleed.
[ Read : Bleeding After C Section ]
How Is Your Period Different After Pregnancy?
The period after c-section or vaginal delivery will not be the same as the one you used to get before pregnancy. The body will be adjusting once again to the menstrual cycle, and therefore, you may notice changes such as:
- Small blood clots
- Stronger or lighter cramps than usual
- Irregular flow
- Heavy flow
These changes lessen with continuous cycles. However, until your hormones balance out and the body heals, your periods will be not normal. Sometimes, you may not get back your regular periods for months.
When To Meet The Doctor?
If your periods do not become normal even after a few months, and you notice certain unusual changes, you should check with your doctor. The causes for concern may be:
- If you had heavy bleeding for more than two to three cycles, meaning you are soaking through more than one tampon or pad in one or two hours. Your doctor may check for hormonal or uterine issues.
- If your period do not come back after six months or longer. Your doctor may check for secondary amenorrhea (3), pregnancy or any other conditions.
Did You Know?
1. C-Section Will Not Delay Your Menstrual Cycle.
Having a C-section has no effect on how quickly your menstrual cycle will resume. Your monthly period is solely dependent on hormonal changes. Once the levels come back to normal as they were during the pre-pregnancy stage, you will start your periods.
2. Your Period May Be Lighter And Less Painful.
For a few women, their first periods are lighter, less painful and shorter. The cramps are milder because of the stretching of uterus during pregnancy. Also, the high levels of progesterone hormone during pregnancy will ease the symptoms of menstruation.
3. Your Periods May Be Irregular.
Many factors will affect regularity: weight gain or loss, stress and thyroid problems. A few women will also experience irregular periods as they may reach perimenopause, which may start in their mid 30s, but most of them will reach in their 40s.
4. Bleeding After A C-Section Is Heavy.
Whether you deliver through cesarean section or vaginally, you will experience vaginal discharge along with bleeding, called Lochia (a Greek word which means ‘relating to childbirth’) in medical terms. It is not your period, but a general clearing out of the uterine tissue (4).
C-section delivery may cause heavy bleeding in the first few days (5). It may be due to incisions during the surgery and uterine wall repair. Do not use tampons for six weeks as they increase the risk of infection in the uterus and vagina. Though the flow is heavy, you should constantly check it.
You may check with your doctor if it is unusual, like foul smell discharge, along with fever, which can be a sign of postpartum infection, or sudden urge to urinate for almost a week after delivery.
You can share your post-natal bleeding issues and how you have overcome them, in the below comment section.
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