Menstruation and ovulation post pregnancy

  • By Team TDO

So, you have delivered the bundle of joy. Congratulations! Many of the things that changed in your body in the nine months of pregnancy will now roll back. These changes are once again a challenging phase. One such important thing is your menstrual cycle and ovulation, which stop during pregnancy.

What happens to the menstruation cycle immediately after delivery of the baby?

After the nine months break from menstruation, the bleeding is back with revenge. Initially, the blood is bright red with heavy flow which shouldn’t exceed a sanitary pad for four hours. The color later turns pink, and unlike normal periods, it continues for several weeks and gradually decreases. You will notice an odor which is strong, but not nauseous. The blood flow may last around six weeks, but it differs from woman to woman.

If you experience any of the following conditions, you must visit a doctor:

  1. A continuous red discharge
  2. Large blood clots
  3. Sudden bright blood loss
  4. Tenderness in uterus

When will the menstruation return after giving birth?

Nearly 80% women who don’t breastfeed get their periods by 8-10 weeks after delivery. For women who breastfeed, menstruation and ovulation can get delayed by more than 20 weeks, depending on when they stop breast feeding. However, it differs from woman to woman. During breast feeding the sucking of baby sends signals to the brain which prevents or suppresses the hormone responsible for ovulation.

When the menstruation does resume, the periods might be heavier or irregular. Menstruation and ovulation doesn’t always happen together. You may have a period without ovulation or you may ovulate, and then get your first period shortly after that.

When will ovulation start after giving birth?

There is little chance that you will ovulate in the first six weeks after delivery. During breast feeding, the body releases a hormone called prolactin. If you breastfeed frequently enough, then there are high enough levels of prolactin, which curbs or controls ovulation.

It is very hard to estimate when a woman begins ovulating. The longer you continue to breast feed and the lesser feeds your baby has (as the baby becomes older), the greater the chance of ovulation. For some women, they may not ovulate until they stop breast feeding altogether.

Sex is discouraged in first six weeks after pregnancy as the reproductive organs are still healing. A barrier contraceptive is advised or IUD after uterus is fully healed.

During breast feeding the sucking of baby sends signals to the brain which prevents or suppresses the hormone responsible for ovulation