After you give birth, you'll enter the postpartum time, which lasts approximately six weeks, according to the Cigna website. During postpartum, your body gradually returns to its prepregnancy state. Eventually, your periods will resume, too. Your first postpartum period will vary in arrival time, depending on your body.
Time Frame of Period Return
Every mother is different, so the precise time your period will return will be unique to you. In general, however, new mothers who are not breastfeeding usually have periods begin again between six and eight weeks after childbirth, states the March of Dimes website. If you are breastfeeding, the time table for your periods returning varies widely. Some new moms have periods begin again on a schedule similar to non-breastfeeding mothers, and other breastfeeding moms won't have periods resume for months or until after weaning.
The First Period
Periods after childbirth often return with a vengeance. You might notice more painful cramps and discomfort with your first period, warns the Women's and Children's Health Network. The first period often involves a heavier flow than normal. Subsequent periods after the first period should be more typical of your normal periods.
Return of Fertility
After your period returns, your fertility typically returns as well, according to Marquette University. If you are at least 56 days postpartum or you have had at least two consecutive days of bleeding, you should assume that your fertility has returned. Ovulation could occur prior to the first period after childbirth, which means you could become pregnant before your first postpartum period.
Unrestricted breastfeeding often delays the return of periods, states La Leche League New Zealand. Unrestricted breastfeeding involves feeding a baby on demand around the clock without supplementing with formula or solid foods. If your baby sleeps through the night or if you supplement with formula, your period may return earlier than if you breastfeed your baby during the nighttime hours and do not feed her other foods. At six months postpartum, periods could return, whether you supplement or not. A baby who satisfies the need to suck with a pacifier may breastfeed less frequently, which could affect when periods return, but this is not always the case. The way breastfeeding affects fertility and the return of periods is individual for every mother. When periods do resume during breastfeeding, some mothers notice a slight decrease in milk supply during menstruation, states the Sutter Health CPMC website. You can remedy this by increasing your fluid intake and breastfeeding frequency.
- Cigna: Postpartum: First 6 Weeks After Childbirth
- March of Dimes: Your Body after Baby
- Women’s and Children’s Health Network: New Mums
- Marquette University: Return of Fertility After Child Birth
- La Leche League New Zealand: Breastfeeding and Fertility
- Sutter Health CPMC: The New Mother -- Physical Changes