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Resuming periods after delivery is a challenge, and a new mom needs support for it, along with the bigger challenge of caring for a baby.
Childbirth is a life changing event for a woman. And we all know the hitches that come tagged along with periods every month. Now imagine a time in your life when you have to deal with periods along with a new born baby by your side plus the postpartum issues. Sounds like a spine chilling experience right?
The funny part is that although the newborn child has a set of parents, it is the mother whose life turns upside down. Of course the biology has a huge role to play here, but in our Indian society, the role of a father all along has not been more than to pay for the hospital bill and other miscellaneous costs.
Pregnancy is not just a period but it is a journey, an experience of a lifetime for a person. And one of the best perks of this journey is – during those nine months, we are free from the hassles of the monthly menstrual cycle.
Right after delivery, it is normal to have period-like bleeding for almost 2 months. This happens as a result of uterus contracting back to its original size. This bleeding is heavier in comparison to the regular period bleeding that happens every month.
The colour of blood during the postpartum bleeding is dark red in colour with some clots and changes to brown before it completely stops.
It should be noted that this bleeding is not to be confused with menstruation.
But if the bleeding is so profuse that you need to change the pad every 1 to 2 hours, medical assistance should be taken.
After delivery the absence of periods does not mean that the person is infertile. It should be kept in mind that it is just a temporary phase and soon the periods will be back. Also, in a menstrual cycle of 28 days, ovulation usually occurs around 14-15 days before the periods begin.
Unprotected intercourse during this time can lead to pregnancy which is not healthy either for the mother or the newborn baby. Lack of periods does NOT mean ‘natural contraception’.
Mostly the doctors prescribe to avoid having intercourse for at least 6 weeks after delivery.
Post 6 weeks also, precautions should be observed while having sex even if your periods have not returned.
Regular periods after delivery return depending upon the breastfeeding pattern being followed for the baby.
They can come back in between 6 to 8 months after giving birth. But there can be a delay in the resumption of the menstruation cycle for women who are exclusively breastfeeding. This is very normal and there is no need to be anxious about the delay.
The very simple logic behind this delay is the presence of the hormone – Prolactin. One of the many functions of this hormone is to produce breast milk in humans. It is produced by the pituitary gland in our body.
I do remember my baby getting really cranky once my periods had resumed. A tired body longing for sleep, a tiny baby who would never sleep and keep crying along with aunt flow back in business. God those days were a real nightmare.
It must be noted that once the periods return, there can be a some reduction in the breast milk supply. Also there can be changes in the taste of breast milk to some extent. The difference in taste of the breast milk will cause your baby to be perturbed as he is not being able to satiate his hunger.
But it is only a temporary drop in the milk supply, and you should not be worried about it medically. The breast milk flow should go back to normal once your body adjusts to this and your periods are regulated.
If the breast milk does not resume to its regular flow even after one or two weeks, consultation with your doctor should be considered.
Every woman observes certain changes in her periods after delivery. For some the flow becomes heavier and the duration of their menstruation increases with a surge in pain. While for others, the periods become shorter and less painful after delivery. Getting back regular periods as it was before your pregnancy is also a possibility.
It is difficult to predict how childbirth will affect the periods of a person. But breastfeeding women definitely get a longer break from regular periods.
So the change in pattern of a woman’s periods after delivery can due to any of the following factors:
Menstrual period is not a new phenomenon in the life of woman. So even after giving birth when the periods resume, most of the times people do not pay attention to the struggles the new mother might be facing with this change – she has not had the periods for about 9 plus months.
Getting back the periods after delivery is like another milestone in the life of a new mother. It is an important event in the journey of motherhood.
While everyone is busy attending to the needs of the newborn, it is extremely important to support the new mom with her challenges which are not related to the baby. The husband and immediate family should be supportive of her needs.
There is a famous saying which goes like – “It takes a village to raise a baby”
In our culture we have always believed in family support for one another. But with changing times and nuclear unit concepts taking over, it has become very taxing for the new moms to take care of both the newborn and herself after delivery. So, it is absolutely necessary for the husbands to step up and shoulder responsibilities which they might not have had in earlier family setups.
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