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First Postpartum Period: What to Expect & Timeline

Even though you’re definitely capable of handling whatever your period throws your way, being pregnant has been a nice little vacation. Once your baby arrives, it’s only a matter of time before you begin having regular monthly periods again. 

Even if you are breastfeeding, your period will eventually come back. Being prepared for that day is important. 

Your first postpartum period may be a little different. We’ll tell you what to expect, help you prepare, and give you some tips and tricks to keep you feeling strong through it all. 

When Will I Get My Period Again?

Everyone wants to know when their period is coming. The last thing you want is to be caught off guard. 

Normally, it will take between six to eight weeks for your period to return, but remember that every body is different. You may get your period sooner-or later-than the average. 

Your doctor (and your besties) have probably explained to you that if you’ll have a lot of postpartum bleeding that isn’t your period. Even if you have a c-section, you will still have bleeding once your baby arrives. 

While this isn’t technically your period, it’s likely the first time you’ll have vaginal bleeding since becoming pregnant, so it’s important to know what to expect. 

What Causes Postpartum Bleeding?

Your uterus has provided a safe little home for your baby the past nine months. 

After your baby arrives, the uterus naturally sheds the extra material that was being used to keep the baby healthy and safe. This shedding causes vaginal bleeding and discharge called “lochia.” 

Postpartum bleeding will start within hours to a day of you having your baby and can last up to six weeks. You’ll have more bleeding during the first two weeks after having your baby. Your flow will gradually become lighter, although you can still experience lochia for up to six weeks postpartum. 

Tips for Postpartum Bleeding

If you have your baby at a hospital or birthing center, they’ll likely have hospital grade pads you can use. However, if you come prepared, you can avoid using them altogether. Period underwear are great options to help control postpartum bleeding.

These disposable undies collect as much as four regular pads, which means you won’t have to waste time making trips to the restroom. Supremely comfortable, they’re completely non-irritating on your most sensitive areas, which is especially helpful if you’ve had a vaginal delivery. 

You shouldn’t use tampons to take care of postpartum bleeding, even if you’ve had a c-section. You’ll need to stick with period undies and/or pads and liners until your body heals. 

Can You Get Your Period When Breastfeeding?

Yes. You can get your period while you’re breastfeeding, despite what you may have heard. Some women won’t have their periods while breastfeeding, and you may not get your first period until later than women who aren’t breastfeeding. 

Breastfeeding produces prolactin, a hormone that is needed for milk production. Prolactin suppresses the reproductive hormones that cause you to ovulate. Without ovulation, you don’t have a period. 

If you do get your period while still nursing, it may affect the way your milk tastes to your baby. The fluctuations in your hormone levels can cause milk to taste different, and can even change your supply. You may notice a decrease in your supply, but don’t worry. These changes usually disappear quickly. 

First Period After Childbirth: What to Expect

It’s been a while since you’ve had your period, and getting back into the routine is different now that you’ve got a baby to care for, too. Your body has done a lot of changing during pregnancy, and that means your periods will be a little different than before you had your child. 

The first time you get your period after you’ve had a baby, you might notice the following changes:

  • Heavier than normal flow.
  • Blood clots (small, usually no larger than the size of a dime).
  • Spotting, or a flow that seems to stop and start.
  • Irregular periods and cycles.
  • Increased cramping.

The first period postpartum can seem a little reminiscent of the first time you had your period as an adolescent. This is all because of the changes in your hormones that have helped you grow and support your baby. 

Even if your first period comes weeks after you’ve finished with postpartum bleeding, you may still feel some residual effects of your uterus cleaning itself and bringing back regularity. Normally, your periods will return to normal within a few months. 

Can You Get Pregnant the First Period After Childbirth?

You can most definitely get pregnant the first time you have your period after childbirth, which is why it is extremely important you speak to your doctor about appropriate methods of birth control, unless you want two babies in two years time! 

Your doctor will likely recommend you abstain from sex for at last six weeks postpartum. This is important to give your body a chance to heal. Remember, even if you had a c-section, your uterus needs to heal, and getting pregnant right after having a baby doesn’t allow your uterus to fully repair itself. 

When you talk about birth control with your doctor, keep in mind you may not be able to use the same form of birth control you were using before you got pregnant. For instance, if you were using an estrogen birth control pill, you shouldn’t use one while nursing. 

If you used an IUD, you’ll need to have it replaced. There are plenty of methods of effective birth control that can keep you from becoming pregnant, and your doctor can help you find the best option. 

How to Have a Great First Period After Birth

You’ve got a lot more on your plate than you did when you had your last period. A baby is life changing, and adjusting to this new responsibility can be a big challenge. You may not feel ready to have your period; in fact, you may wonder how you’ll even make it to the restroom to change a pad! 

Breathe deeply. You’ve got this. After all, you just created a new life. Your first postpartum period is nothing you can’t handle. All you need is a little preparation and the right products to keep you protected and comfortable.

Whether your first period comes within six weeks after having your baby or later, here’s what you need to take the best possible care of yourself. 

Periods Within Six Weeks Postpartum

When you get your first period within the six weeks immediately following childbirth, you won’t be able to use tampons or menstrual cups. Even if you’ve had a c-section, your doctor will likely advise you to keep these products off limits until you’ve fully healed. 

Thankfully, you’ve got some great options for keeping comfortable. 

  • Cotton Reusable pads. Rael’s cotton reusable pads are the perfect solution for the first period postpartum. Crafted with 5 layers of moisture-wicking organic cotton, nothing is more gentle on your most sensitive area, even after you have your baby.

    Our reusable pads don’t contain any hormone disrupting chemicals or toxins that could irritate your body. These pads are the most natural thing you can put against your body and help protect you from leaks for hours.
  • Reusable period panties. Rael’s reusable period panties are great options for new parents who are trying to get as much sleep as possible. The last thing you need after you have a baby is a non-baby related wake up call. 

    Using our period panties (by themselves or with a pad) helps make sure you don’t have to get up (again) just to change your pad. Period panties keep you dry through the night, so you can get as much sleep as possible.  

Reusable period protection is a great way to care for your body naturally and keep you comfortable longer. 

Periods Past Six Weeks Postpartum

If your first period comes after you are six weeks postpartum, you will likely be cleared to use tampons. However, you may find you prefer the comfort of pads and period panties instead. Many women find they are still relatively sensitive six weeks after having a baby. 

If your doctor says you can use tampons, we recommend organic cotton tampons made with no chemicals, bleaches, or toxins that could interfere with your hormones or your body. Rael’s organic tampons are even available with plant-based applicators, so you can trust they are gentle on your body. 

The Takeaway

Your body will decide when you get your first period after having your baby. Normally, it’s between 6-8 weeks postpartum. You’ll have postpartum bleeding that seems like a period immediately after having your baby, which can last for several weeks.

When you get your first period, it may be different than the periods you were used to. That’s okay. You’ve got everything you need to have a stress-free period with Rael. 

When you get your first period after your baby, you look for ways to save time and stay protected longer. Rael has you covered, naturally. 



Sources:

Do Your Periods Change After Pregnancy? | Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic 

Bleeding After birth: 10 Things You Need to Know | NCT.org 

When to Expect Your First Period Postpartum | Very Well Family 

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