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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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.
3. Bloody Discharge is Common
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
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.