First Period after C Section: 7 Things You Need to Know

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firstperiodaftercsection

You’ve endured pregnancy for nine months and welcomed a new baby into the world – congratulations! Your life has changed in so many ways and amidst the chaos of having a newborn in the house, you’re dreading the return of something a bit more familiar: your period.

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At this point, you may be wondering what to expect. Will your period be lighter, heavier, more painful? Here’s what you need to know about your first period after C section delivery.

1. A C-Section Will Not Delay Your Period

Many women wonder if it will take longer to get their period after C section delivery, and the answer is no.

Your menstrual cycle is dependent on hormonal changes, so the timing of your period’s return will not be affected by a cesarean delivery. Once your hormone levels return to the same levels they were before pregnancy, you will get your period once again.

2. Prolactin Levels May Prevent Ovulation

Whether you have a cesarean or vaginal delivery, your progesterone, estrogen and hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) levels fall dramatically. But there’s still one hormone that may stick around: prolactin.

Prolactin levels will only drop if you don’t breastfeed. If you bottle-feed your baby, your period will likely return within 12 weeks of delivering in most cases. If you breastfeed exclusively, prolactin levels will remain high. Prolactin actually suppresses ovulation for six months, on average.

Please note: Breastfeeding is not a foolproof form of birth control, so make sure that you’re using contraceptives if you are not ready to have another baby.

3. Bloody Discharge is Common

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About 4-6 weeks after delivery, you can expect to pass some bloody discharge, which is known as lochia. This discharge will present itself whether you have a vaginal or C-section delivery, so be ready for it and know that it’s completely normal.

Keep in mind that this discharge is not your period. It should be light in color and should not last as long as a typical period.

4. Bleeding After a Cesarean Can Be Heavy

Many women who have C-section deliveries experience very heavy periods at first. This is partly due to the surgical incision during the procedure and the repair of the uterine wall.

While your flow may be heavier than normal, it’s important to keep a close eye on how heavy it gets.

When to See a Doctor:

  • If you’re soaking through one or more pads/tampons every hour or two.
  • If the bleeding is accompanied by pain that’s severe and sudden.
  • If the bleeding is accompanied by a fever.
  • If the bleeding lasts more than seven days.

5. Your Period May Be Different

Woman charting tampon on toilet
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Regardless of how you delivered your baby, your period will probably be different in color, odor, regularity and flow. Eventually, your periods will return to the way they were before your pregnancy, but until your body heals and your hormones balance out, expect your periods to be unusual.

6. Your Period May Be Lighter and Less Painful

For a few lucky women, their first (and subsequent) periods after delivery are less painful, lighter and shorter. Strangely enough, many women with endometriosis see a positive change in their periods after having a baby.

High levels of progesterone during pregnancy are partly responsible for the easing of menstrual symptoms. The higher levels of progesterone keep estrogen levels in check. Estrogen causes extra uterine cells to grow.

7. Your Cycle May Be Irregular

It’s not uncommon for women to have irregular cycles after pregnancy. Some women’s go straight back to their typical 28-day cycle, while others have a cycle that’s a bit more erratic. A lot of things are at play that can affect regularity. Stress, weight gain, weight loss and thyroid issues can all affect your cycle.

For some women, irregular cycles may also be a sign that you’re heading into perimenopause, which can kick in as early as your mid-30s – although most women won’t reach this phase until they’re in their 40s. After delivering your baby, it won’t be too long before Aunt Flo returns and things get back to normal. Your period may be heavier and longer after a C-section delivery, but remember to keep a watchful eye on the heaviness of your flow. As always, see your doctor if you feel that something is wrong or doesn’t feel right.

24 COMMENTS

  1. I had cs delivery on 25 Jan 2017, but on 28 Feb 2017 my bleeding started again with bright red could it be my period. am not breast feeding.

  2. this is my 3rd c section February 27th, and bleeding off and on like crazy is the norm for me. ugh I can’t wait to be back to my normal self. I’m 5 weeks post partum tomorrow

  3. I am 3 months pp and still no period. I had a csection with twins and am not breastfeeding. Beginning to wonder if I’ll ever return to normal. I have taken a couple of tests and lines are faint thinking maybe my levels still haven’t dropped all the way. I have had 5 pregnancies and the 4 previous ones I went back to normal the next month. Any advice would GREAT. Thanks?

    • HI, my 2nd daughter is 9months old (10 in bout a week) my period returned yesterday. 9 months without a period was great! (Plus 9 months during pregnancy with no period) it’s really heavy! Hoping it will return to its previous lightness and short duration! I say enjoy it while you can 🙂

  4. I have a c section last NOv 22 2016. my period resumed 1st week of april, but i this May i did not had my period again. is this normal?

  5. I am 4 weeks pp and I started heavy bleeding again. It has been on and off since my C-section. Do you think this is my period??

  6. I had cesarean on March 10th 2016, I started bleeding straight after and didn’t stop until April 14th 2017 throughout the whole year I had 8 days in total that I didn’t bleed not all together they were spread out throughout the year would stop for one day ever now and again, sometimes they were really heavy some days light.

    After about a month without any bleeding I started what I thought was my period but looked like coca cola very dark brown watery like, had weird smell then after 4 days they went back to normal period blood for 3 days then began to fade 2 days later was only noticeable when wiping but started getting clear stringy sometimes bloody mucus then periods began again very heavy, I called nurse and was told would have to wait till bleeding stope to do an examination

  7. I had a c section 30th April I stopped bleeding for a day beginning of June then I got a period. I went back on my pill after my 6 week check up I am now on my 7 day break from my pill and no sign of period when should I expect them wud anyone now?

  8. I had my second c section March 28, 2017. My bleeding stopped and came back around the end of April, beginning of May. Not sure if that was my period or blood from having my son. My son is almost 4mths and still no period. I was off and on breast feeding for the 1st 2 1/2mths. So is it normal to still not have my period yet? I’m not pregnant bc I haven’t had sex since I found out i was pregnant with my son.

  9. I had C.S since 8 april 2017 almost getting to 4months now i still have discharge coming out like mucus am very worried cos people are saying it is not suppose to exceed 6wks and am 15wks already what could be the problem?

  10. Joy you should not worry that happened to me on my first and second c section the discharge will eventually go on it’s own thanks

  11. I had a csection on the 16th March 2017 and a week later I was bleeding and it was very heavy which i thought it was my period but it lasted for several weeks. After that I didnt get my period til now (28 September 2017) also Im breastfeeding. Last time I went to check with the doctor he told me its normal for women who are breastfeeding to not have their period for two months but its been more than two months and i still havent had my period. What could this mean? Is there something wrong with me?

  12. Hi all 🙄 I had a c section just over 7 weeks ago now. My discharge stopped a few days ago so thought I was back to normal. I’m beast feeding my little one and it looks like iv come on? Is this normal? It started of very dark in colour. I’m slightly worried something could be wrong. Has any one else experienced this. Thanks guys x

  13. Hi, this is my second c section i gave birth in ely july and i had a bleeding for 2 weeks and went off ,the problem is nw am seing again a light bleeding wth a bad odour if i put my nose o it and its nt too much i dnt even use a pad only a pantyliner wat worries me is that its been 2 weeks seing this and its coming wth a sharp pain there by the abdominal place of c section cut,wat wil be the prob if someone knows plz help.thnx

  14. IS this normal, I had a c section Jan 26, 2018. This would be 2 nd c section, my first one I didn’t breastfeed just pumped and I bled for about 3 month. So with this one, I am breastfeeding and 5 days later I am no longer bleeding.

  15. Hello I had my c section last october 10, 2017. The lochia bleeding ended sometime 2nd week of november. I had my first period january 12, 2018 but is only light. But after four days it went super heavy and i am still bleeding heavy until today. I dont feel any pain or whatsoever. But im quite worried because im bleeding for more than a month now. Any inputs?

  16. I had my c section 26 January 2018 . My bleeding stopped 1.5 weeks later . I got my period today . Exactly 3 weeks 3 days later . This is my second c section . After My first c section I didn’t get period for 8 months . I was exclusively pumping milk . For this baby also I’m not directly feeding from breast but pumping and feeding . Not sure if that has any effect. But I’m sure what I got today is period .

  17. Comment: I gave birth through cs, saw my period after nine months of child birth now expecting the one for second months which is six days late, I’m yet to see it, hope all is well?

  18. Hey I had a csection dec 30th 2017. I code hemorrhaged and took them 4 hours to stop the bleeding. I ended up getting blood and fresh frozen plasma. I had the lochia for awhile. And i got what I thought was my period feb 19. it was really heavy and lasted 8 days. I am now waiting on my period for March. its 8 days late. I took a pregnancy test yesterday morning and it was a BFN. Im not breastfeeding(wasnt producing) Uggh!!!! used withdrawl like twice.

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