ARE YOUR PERIODS IRREGULAR AFTER CHILDBIRTH?
Understand your cycle after pregnancy and delivery
Your menstrual cycle abates during pregnancy and it resumes a few months after giving birth. While some women experience an otherwise regular cycle, there are a few who face various issues and abnormalities with their period. M&B helps you understand your cycle and how to deal with unexpected problems
Being pregnant and giving birth to a baby brings a whole lot of changes in a woman’s body. One of the most important questions asked by women concern their menstrual cycle. Menstruation is the prime indicator to understand the health of a woman. Dr Monica Agarwal, consultant obstetrics and gynaecology, Paras Bliss, Panchkula, says, “Having a child completely changes your life. Physical, mental and psychological changes are common. However, a woman’s hormone levels are completely altered during pregnancy, and can sometimes result in various issues. Irregular periods is one of them and the most common symptom is amenorrhea or the absence of menstruation.”
There is no need to panic if your periods get delayed, are irregular or even disappear for some time. This is a natural phenomenon. The cycle depends on a lot of factors such as physiological parameters of hormonal levels, stress and if you are breastfeeding or not. Read on to know more about the particularities of irregular periods and its implications.
Irregularity post birth
Menstrual cycle after pregnancy becomes uncertain, and there is no specific time limit for when your period will resume. The time of its occurrence depends on an individual’s hormonal levels. Dr Agarwal says, “Immediately after birth, you may have a bright red and heavy blood loss for 10 to 15 days. Then the colour becomes light to pale pink or reddish-brown. It then converts to a discharge of a yellowish-white colour, before it stops altogether. It can also have a strong odour. This on-and-off bleeding and discharge can last for about six weeks. It differs in women and it is advisable to consult your healthcare provider, if anything unusual occurs.” She further advises that one should not use tampons or any other unhygienic products during this time, as an infection can occur. “You should use cotton-covered sanitary napkins or maternity napkins, specially designed to help you deal with an increased blood loss after birth. Change your pad every four to six hours, as bacteria can grow easily in the rich lochia.”
The characteristics of one’s period differs from woman to woman. Some women experience an immense pain during their cycle. This is due to the fact that the body needs some time to return to its normal state, and is caused by the reluctance to full recovery, stress or inflammatory processes in the pelvis, or strong contractions of the uterus. However, for some women who experience pain during their menstruation before having a baby, have found that their cycle has now become painless. This is due to the change of the position of the uterus, eliminating obstacles and resulting in the normal outflow of blood.
This shouldn’t be a cause of worry. Instead of panicking, it’s important that you are aware of the causes.
According to Dr Agarwal, “If you are not breastfeeding, periods will usually return as quickly as 10 weeks. Breastfeeding can delay periods for a year and in some cases, even up to a year and a half. Not menstruating does not mean that ovulation is not occurring. The hormone Proclactin, produced in the pituitary gland during breastfeeding, usually suppresses ovulation but contraception should be used to prevent a pregnancy. Sometimes, women become pregnant in lactational amenorrhea or the temporary postnatal infertility period.”
Weight gain or loss:
Some women gain excessive weight during pregnancy that can lead to irregular periods, heavy or long periods and the absence of ovulation. On the other hand, losing weight can cause periods to become scanty, shorter or longer than normal. Maintaining a healthy diet during and after pregnancy is highly recommended.
Dr Agarwal says, “Several other causes include infections, stress, weakness, tumour and thyroid disorder. In these cases, if the issue is not resolved soon, it is advisable to consult your doctor.”