Even when things are going great, pregnancy can be full of all sorts of unpleasantness. But a silver lining through all the cramps, bloating, tender boobs, nausea, and waddling is that you go for months without ever having to deal with a period. Nothing plugs up your menses like a fetus! Look, I'm not anti-periods or anything, but they're also pretty annoying and can be difficult to deal with. But, like bad karma, they pretty much always come back. When do you get your period after birth, you ask? Well, I asked when moms got their first postpartum period, because while no two bodies are alike having some idea of what you're in for as a new mom is always helpful.
If you aren't breastfeeding, you can generally expect your period to return six to eight weeks after giving birth. So, basically, you'll finally stop all that postpartum discharge, wait a few days or weeks, and then have to deal with a period. Yay! Having a functioning uterus is so much fun, right?!
If you are breastfeeding things are a little less predictable. Some new moms don't get their period again until they stop breastfeeding (though, in my anecdotal experience, these women are unicorns). Others may delay the return of their period a few months, particularly if they're exclusively breastfeeding. But some people may exclusively nurse their little ones and still get their period back right away.
Miracles. Our bodies are such miracles. #blessed
My first postpartum period lulled me into a false sense of security the second time around. After I gave birth to my first child, I was able to stave it off about 10 months (around the time my son started reliably incorporating solids into his diet and I started pumping less while I was at work). So with my second baby, who was exclusively breastfed (I was home with her so there was no need for me to pump), I thought to myself: "Sweet! I'll go years without needing a tampon!" Ha. Five months in my body was like, "Surprise!"
But again, no two bodies are alike. So if you're wondering when your period is going to return postpartum, here's what other moms experienced when the time came to "fulfill their blood oath."
"I was on a mommy's internet board and had been forewarned. I thought that made me prepared. Wrong. I wound up having to use jumbo everything and towels just so my mattress did not get ruined. I did ruin a pair of jeans 10 minutes after putting in a new jumbo tampon with a pad as extra protection. Dude, crime scene."
"So first of all, I bled for nine weeks continuously postpartum with both of my kids. With one there was a piece of placenta no one found until eight weeks, then I needed a D&C to get rid of it And with the second I was just very unlucky I guess. Then I had three to four weeks off, at best, before starting my period. At that point I didn't even care."
"Six weeks post birth. Both times. I exclusively breastfed and everything. #sobetrayed"
"I was at work and thought I was safe because I was only four months postpartum and exclusively breastfeeding. You know sometimes when you sneeze on your period and you can tell you've destroyed a pair of underwear? It was like that, only I didn't sneeze. I bled through my skirt and on the chair. I was mortified and had to waddle down to Duane Reade to buy pads and new underwear. There's still a small stain on my chair. Most people would never notice it, but I do."
"Is it weird I have no memory of this? It’s probably because I’ve blocked it all out."
"I kept my period away by exclusive breastfeeding and it was awesome, but then my body was like, 'We're going to make up for all that time you weren't bleeding by turning your vagina into a crime scene every month.' My periods have been crazy heavy ever since."
"I skipped it by getting pregnant. Remember ladies: if you want to space out your pregnancies, wait until that six week appointment to get your birth control prescription, otherwise you join me in the Irish twins club."
"Ugh! Right away! My postpartum bleeding hardly ended before I got my first postpartum period. My doctor told me it was probably just residual postpartum bleeding, but nope: 27 days later like clockwork and then every 27 days after that."
"I got it about a year after I gave birth and I was absolutely relieved. I don't like getting my period any more than anyone else, but I like knowing I'm not pregnant! My birth was so traumatic that I was paranoid I was pregnant all the time, even though I was on birth control and barely having sex. I was constantly stressed out, so finally getting back to my cycle was good for my mental health."
"I had nightmare periods before I got pregnant and after they've been much better. The first time I didn't even think I'd gotten my period because it was so much lighter and shorter than it had been before — I thought it was heavy spotting or something, but then it kept happening. And for the first time in my life my periods are regular! Hey, I'll take it! No complaints!"
"I had lots of warning with the debilitating cramps I got days before. I think my uterus hated me for not having a baby in there."