What happens to my periods after giving birth?

After giving birth, you may have a little vaginal bleeding, officially known as ‘lochia’. It's like a menstrual period and happens when your uterus sheds the remaining cells and tissues after you’ve had your baby. These cells and tissues come from where the placenta was attached to the uterine wall and so aren’t needed any more.

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Periods can start again at any time. They often start 5 - 6 weeks after you swap to bottle-feed or when you combine bottle-feeding with breastfeeding.

If you continue breastfeeding though, your period might not re-start until you stop altogether because breastfeeding is known to interrupt the ovulation process.

It’s hard to predict when your periods will start again as it takes a while for your hormones to settle down. It might return after a month of giving birth or not for another year. Both are normal.

If you're worried, speak to your doctor and also be aware that even if you're not menstruating there's still a chance you might get pregnant if you're not using contraception.

Whether you’ve had a natural birth or a c-section, pregnancy can weaken your pelvic floor muscles, which can cause urine incontinence or reduced sensitivity during sex.

As you won’t want to visit the ladies every couple of hours, experts suggest some pelvic floor exercises after the birth to strengthen the muscles again. In the meantime, pant liners are a great way to avoid any unexpected leakage.

Right after the birth, expect some post-natal bleeding (lochia) that may last for a couple of months. Pads are recommended during this time.

As the wound found at the uterine wall may not have healed yet and your muscles are much weaker, tampons are not recommended for a little while until you’ve visited your doctor or midwife for your 6 week post-natal check-up. They will advise you on when you can begin using tampons again.

It’s not unusual to find your periods are much heavier or irregular for a while though so you might want to use a combination of pads and tampons until it returns to normal. Lil-Lets have designed pads with a soft cover to make them ideal for use after giving birth.