Welcome to the three Bs of the postpartum period: blood, boobs, and babies.
The postpartum interval (typically defined as 6 weeks after giving birth) is the time immediately after giving birth for you to recover a little.
It can include all sorts of symptoms, ranging from difficulties with your waste management system (both of the pee and the poop variety) to experiencing pretty debilitating depression.
You’re somehow expected to deal with parenting a newborn, negotiating a body that keeps throwing surprises at you, and navigating all the complexities of producing milk from your boobs.
And here’s something else to add to the mix:
While you may have been enjoying the fact that your period has been on sabbatical for the last 9 months, this has been but a hiatus and not a permanent ceasefire.
Your first postpartum period is looming.
Hold on there, body! We’ve just had a baby.
Are you seriously thinking of having another one after what we just went through?
Yup, at some point, those ovaries of yours are going to get up to their usual shenanigans like nothing ever happened.
So here’s the first question: when can you expect your first period after pregnancy?
Well, the reality is there’s no simple answer to this question.
Different mamas, different bodies, different flows.
Having said that, there are a few factors that may help you determine when you can expect that first period after pregnancy.
In this article: 📝
- When do you get your period after birth?
- How long does it take to get your period after having a baby?
- How long is a postpartum period?
- Why did I get my period if I’m breastfeeding?
- What is the first postpartum period like?
- Beyond the postpartum period
When do you get your period after birth?
Your period is your body’s way of expelling an unfertilized egg.
During pregnancy, your body doesn’t have to worry about performing this task as your ovaries have been given strict instructions to stop releasing eggs.
Hence, no period during pregnancy.
Once your baby has decided to move onto their post-womb adventures, however, your body begins its return to its pre-pregnancy self, keen to get your first postpartum period flowing—but this takes a little time.
So, while you might bleed in the first ten days or so after you give birth, this is not a period, per se, as it doesn’t involve an unfertilized egg.
This blood typically comes from blood vessels that opened up when the placenta extracted itself from the uterus wall.
As your uterus repairs itself, the postpartum bleeding will slowly stop.
Hot tip: Use sanitary pads rather than tampons at this time to avoid infection.
How long does it take to get your period after having a baby?
If you choose to breastfeed, your postpartum period may not return for quite a long time ‒ usually the duration that you’re breastfeeding exclusively.
But if you decide to formula-feed, you can usually expect your first period after pregnancy to return in around 6-8 weeks.
It means that your body has prepared itself for pregnancy again, the egg didn’t get fertilized, and it’s now moving on out.
Before we go any further, listen up, mama:
You can get pregnant soon after giving birth—and even before you’ve had your first period after pregnancy.
By the time your postpartum period arrives, your body has already been through the ovulation process.
If there’s an eligible sperm out there, pregnancy could be on the cards again.
If this is not something you’re after, chat to your doc about birth control options.
So how long after birth do you get a period?
While all bodies are different, one factor that can influence how soon you get your first period after birth is whether or not you’re breastfeeding, and how frequently.
Can your period come back 3 weeks postpartum?
Yes, you can get your postpartum period as early as 3 weeks after giving birth.
However, this only usually happens if you choose to bottle feed or semi-breastfeed your baby.
If you do choose to breastfeed your baby and you notice some bleeding 3 weeks after birth, it’s likely not your first postpartum period, but instead, some postpartum bleeding, which is part of the healing process.
Can you get period 4 weeks postpartum?
Yes, you can get a postpartum period 4 weeks after birth, although this typically happens if you choose to bottle feed your baby.
Is bright red blood 4 weeks postpartum normal?
While it can look a little scary, you may notice you’re suddenly bleeding bright red blood around 4-6 weeks postpartum.
Again, this isn’t likely to be a postpartum period, but part of your healing process ‒ the place where the placenta was had scabbed over, and now that scab has come off while healing.
So you might see some bright red bleeding.
Is bleeding 5 weeks postpartum normal?
Yes, bleeding at 5 weeks after birth is totally normal, but it’s probably not your first period after pregnancy.
It’s more likely to be some postpartum bleeding, part of your body’s natural recovery process.
Is bleeding 8 weeks postpartum normal?
It’s a little less common, but bleeding at 8 weeks after birth can happen as part of your healing process.
If you choose to breastfeed, it’s not likely to be your first period after pregnancy.
Is bleeding at 9 weeks postpartum normal?
It depends ‒ some light spotting at 9 weeks postpartum is quite common, and part of your body’s healing process.
But if you notice a period-like amount of bleeding and you’ve chosen to breastfeed, it’s a good idea to check in with your doctor.
Is bleeding at 10 weeks postpartum normal?
Some spotting at 10 weeks after birth can happen while your body’s recovering, but if you see more blood than a few drops now and then (if you’ve chosen to breastfeed), we recommend speaking with your doctor.
How long is a postpartum period?
How long is a piece of string?
Your postpartum period will likely be irregular for a while, even if you never used to have irregular periods before pregnancy.
You know who we have to thank for that? Yup: hormones.
How long does first postpartum period last?
We really can’t say how long your first period after pregnancy will be.
There are so many factors to consider here that can impact when your first postpartum period will start and finish: your stress levels, whether you choose to breastfeed or not, your hormone levels, what your period was like before your pregnancy…
But we know you’re here for answers, so here’s a ballpark: your first postpartum period could last anywhere from 2-7 days.
Your postpartum period might be longer or shorter than usual, sometimes even starting and stopping ‒ your body’s been through a lot, mama, so it will take some time to recover.
Why is my first postpartum period so long?
Think of it like your body is having a spring clean after your pregnancy.
Baby’s made your uterus their home for the past 40 (ish) weeks, so there might be a bit to clean up in there.
So your first postpartum period could last longer than usual.
Is it normal to have 2 periods in a month after pregnancy?
Yes, it’s perfectly normal to have two postpartum periods in one month (or one typical cycle).
This is because your hormones are still regulating to get back to their pre-pregnancy levels, which can take some time.
How long are periods irregular after birth?
If you choose not to breastfeed, your first period after pregnancy could return in around 6-8 weeks, and then it could take a few cycles to get back to your pre-pregnancy period regularity.
If you choose to breastfeed, you may experience a more irregular postpartum period for longer, particularly as you wean baby.
Why did I get my period if I’m breastfeeding?
If you’re not breastfeeding, your first period after pregnancy is likely to arrive around 6 to 8 weeks after you give birth.
If you are breastfeeding, it’s a little more complicated:
There’s a chance that you won’t experience a postpartum period while breastfeeding at all.
As in, no period for the entire period. Period.
That’s because the hormone that gets your body to produce milk (prolactin) also stops your body from menstruating.
Simple enough? Except for the fact that bodies are never simple.
The reality is, in a supreme act of double duty, you may indeed have a postpartum period while breastfeeding, particularly if you’re not breastfeeding exclusively (as in only at night, for example, or just a few feeds a day).
You might first experience some spotting before your body commits to getting your postpartum period going again in full force.
What is your first period like after breastfeeding?
In a word: irregular.
Even if you’re used to regular periods pre-pregnancy, your postpartum periods after breastfeeding could be irregular ‒ longer, shorter, two in one cycle…
But it should only take a few cycles before your postpartum period returns to normal regularity, whatever that means for you.
Does getting your period while breastfeeding affect milk supply?
Your postpartum period can change a few things while you’re breastfeeding, like:
- Your milk supply may drop a bit. You might have to factor this into how you organize your feeding schedule.
- The taste of your milk might change. Those hormones of yours may be serving up a whole new menu for your little one. This might mean that you have to deal with a little bit of fussiness from your little peanut. Sorry, mama!
But you don’t need to stop breastfeeding if you have a postpartum period.
It’s perfectly safe for you and baby to continue.
How can I stop my period while breastfeeding?
Most people who choose to exclusively breastfeed after birth won’t have their postpartum period until they breastfeed less often, or introduce other foods to baby.
But if you are getting your postpartum period while breastfeeding, that could be totally normal for you ‒ after all, no two bodies are the same.
If you’re concerned at all about your postpartum period, speak with your doctor.
What is the first postpartum period like?
Your first few periods after birth may be quite different from your normal monthly visitor. You may experience:
- More irregular periods
- More intense periods with more cramps and a heavier flow (if period cramps are getting uncomfortable, you can always try cramp relief products, like the Oovi pulse therapy kit, which our Peanut mamas love)
- Periods that include blood clots
If you’re worried about anything at all, from incredibly heavy flow to large clots (especially passing lots for more than a few days), chat to your healthcare provider to rule out any issues such as fibroids or infection.
When should I worry about postpartum bleeding?
There are a few things to look out for when it comes to the postpartum period or other postpartum bleeding.
If you notice any of the following, speak with your doctor as soon as you can:
- Large blood clots (bigger than a quarter)
- Bleeding that fills a sanitary pad in an hour and continues
- Passing blood clots for more than 3 days
- Feeling faint
- Very painful cramping
If you’re 13 months postpartum, no period, or even 14 months postpartum, no period, that can be totally normal if you’re exclusively breastfeeding baby for that long.
If you’re not exclusively breastfeeding baby, and you haven’t for several months, it’s a good idea to check in with your doctor.
Can a postpartum period trigger weight loss?
Not typically ‒ your first period after birth won’t cause any weight loss by itself.
But breastfeeding can burn more calories, which can cause you to lose weight.
Beyond the postpartum period
And then there’s postpartum everything else.
Depression can make the postpartum period (whether of the time or menstrual variety!) really challenging because, of course, you’re concurrently busy with the job of parenting a newborn.
It’s important to note that postpartum depression is different from what’s known as the baby blues (feeling sad, exhausted, lonely, and weepy after childbirth), most specifically because it doesn’t go away on its own and typically requires treatment.
Postpartum depression is more common than you might think—it may occur in up to 1 in 7 women—and occurs in all sorts of mamas, regardless of age and ethnicity.
If you suspect that this is what you’re going through, don’t try to face it all alone.
Speak to your doctor, join a support group and allow yourself to rely on friends and family.
You’ve got this.
👶 More on postpartum life from The 411
Prostaglandins and Period Pain: What You Need to Know
The Lowdown on Period Underwear
5 Ways to Advocate for Yourself During Pregnancy and Postpartum
11 Postpartum Sex Tips From Real Moms
Postpartum Preeclampsia: Symptoms, Treatment, and More
Your Guide to Postpartum Swelling
What is Postpartum Thyroiditis?
Your Guide to Postpartum Anxiety Symptoms
How to Deal With Postpartum Gas
10 Ideas for a Nutritious Postpartum Diet
A Guide to the Best Types of Postpartum Massage
Postpartum Exercise Tips
An Intro to Postpartum Yoga
What are the Possible Postpartum Complications?
Postpartum Hemorrhoids: What You Need to Know
What’s Causing My Postpartum Headache?
How to Manage Postpartum Hypertension
What to Do About a Postpartum Rash
Your (Realistic) Postpartum Workout Plan
Why Do I Crave Chocolate On My Period?
The Menstrual Cup: Do They Really Work?