Resuming Menses after Childbirth
Archived Q&A and Reviews
- I haven't gotten my period yet!
- Did you get your period while you were breastfeeding?
- How long have you gone without getting your period while breastfeeding?
- See also: Return of my period postpartum, return of herpes
- More Advice about Menstruation
I'm almost 7 months post partum and I haven't had a period yet. Is this normal? I have been breast feeding the entire time and have started to wean at this point. When will my period come back? Do I still have a risk of getting pregnant again if I don't use birth control? worried mama
Hi there, Just briefly, I got my first period when my daughter was 6 or 7 months old. I waited for the next one so I could start taking the pill again. 10 months later my second daughter was born. Apparently the deal is that for the first few cycles the egg might be released at any point, so it's really hard to pinpoint any 'safe' period (honestly, we had sex ONE TIME, a few days before I was expecting my next period, so I thought I was ok...oh well). So I guess that my answer is yes, it's normal not to have your period yet, but if you're starting to wean (I was too, not fully weaning, but definitely cutting down and my daughter was starting to eat solids and be less interested in nursing) then watch it. And having said all that I loved having two close together and would have done it again given the choice, so there you go. And the second time around it was at least 6 months before I got my period again. Abbi
A delay in your period is totally normal and yes you can get pregnant while breastfeeding. You can get pregnant if you're not getting a period. Anon
Night nursing suppresses ovulation. Please check La Leche League International (www.llli.org) for more information and personal stories. My period returned about three months after night weaning, when my baby was 25 months old. nursing mama
I didn't get my period until my daughter was 1. (Literally on her first birthday). And seems like that is somewhat common if you are still brestfeeding. And Yes, you are at risk of getting pregnant with that very first ovulation if you do not know it's coming. Don't worry
My baby is 6.5 months old and I haven't yet either- frankly I'm enjoying the break and not worried about it. My midwives told me that the first time you ovulate after being pregnant the signs are not always the same (pre pregnancy I always knew when I was ovulating) so you should assume that you could get pregnant as when you first ovulate you may not be aware that you are. anon
Don't worry--it will come back. Until then, consider yourself lucky for not having to deal with it. I didn't get mine for a whole year after birth. no worries
I have 2 kids, breast fed both, and got my period again about 8 months after the birth. You absolutely can get pregnant again before your period starts so use protection. I know of a few cases where a couple underwent intense fertility treatment to get pregnant the first time, then did not use protection in the first few months of that baby's life, and ended up pregnant again and therefore with 2 kids very close in age. Lisa
Don't worry. First of all, I didn't get my period for almost 18 months when I was nursing full time. I think 7 months without a period is very normal, everyone's body is different. If you're nervous take a pregnancy test just to be sure. There is still a slight chance that you could get pregnant before you start a regular cycle because you never know when that little egg may be released and fertilized. As you may know ovulatation occurs before your period begins- I would say use birth control if you want to be absolutely sure you don't conceive. In the mean time enjoy the ''vacation'' from menstruation! Ana
I nursed my son for two years and had a complete cessation of my period during that time. After I weaned him, it came back the following month, just like that. I have to say that was quite convienient not having to deal with the monthly cycle while trying to take care of a little one. My understanding is that you can still get pregnant, but that was not my experience. Me Too.
It varies from woman to woman and pregnancy to pregnancy, but with both my kids, my period came back about 2 months after I weaned them, even though I nursed one for 6 months and the other for 12 months. And yes, you CAN still get pregnant while breastfeeding -- it happens all the time. The further you are post-partum and the less you are breastfeeding (eg, if you have night-weaned), the more likely you are to get pregnant, but breastfeeding is never a reliable form of birth control. I'm sure you'll hear from several people who found this out the hard way! Your OB can give you a low-dose birth control pill that's safe for breastfeeding, or there's always condoms, etc. No surprises
Don't worry too much, I had my first period when my son was about 10months. But to answer your question, ''yes'', you still have chance to get pregnant if not using birth control. Hua
I didn't get mine for 10 months. and yes you may be fertile even without a period so if you don't want to get pregnant, don't forget the birthcontrol anon
I didn't get my period back until 13 months after having my daughter. I was breastfeeding up until then. I have read that you can still get pregnant so I was on a birth control pill. It was a low dose estrogen kind. I would not worry about the period thing. You will probably want to use some type of contraception, especially now that you are weaning. Amy
Mine took 23 months to return. Yes, you can get pregnant but only 2 weeks before your period would return, and you won't know ahead of time what month that is. So use protection if you don't want to get pregnant. anon
I didn't get my period until my son was 14 months old, even though at that point I was only nursing him twice a day. He is 18 months now and I still nurse him. According to one OB, some people just won't get their periods until after they stop nursing. HOWEVER, you just never know when it is going to show up, which means that yes, you could get pregnant accidentally at any point. I have two friends with kids 17-22 months apart to prove it! Nina
there are many factors to consider, such as length of non- nursing time. have you nightweaned, or is baby a ''good sleeper?'' by 7hrs since last nursing your prolactin has dropped to the level of a non-lactating woman's, so you might ovulate in response.
my first daughter was velcrochild: she nursed 10-20x/24hrs, rarely went more than 3hrs between nursings (and often ''fly by'' nursing every 10-20 minutes!) until i nightweaned at 28mos. i didn't get my period back until she was 21mos, and didn't get consistent fertile mucus or a long enough luteal phase to conceive until a year later, when she was down to 2-3x/day. with my second, we nurse less, because she sleeps longer and is busier chasing her big sis around. with her, even though i was 3 years older, i got my period back sooner (when she was 15mos), and recently got full cycle/mucus back even though she still night nurses for a total of 4-6x/24hrs. then there's my friend, with another round the clock nurser, who got pregnant when he was 13mos. and another friend who had one period when her daughter was 21mos (nursing round the clock), and got pregnant (trying) the next cycle...
so everyone's different, and if you want 100% reliability of contraception, you need to use something, or learn more about what to look for in your signs of fertility (fertile mucus is the biggy, temp can help). i liked ''Your Fertility Signals: Using Them to Achieve or Avoid Pregnancy Naturally'' by Merryl Winstein. http://www.epinions.com/content_37235232388
then there's good ol' kellymom: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/normal/fertility.html
and la leche league: http://www.lalecheleague.org/NB/NBMayJune04p114.html this page is about trying to be fertile, but the info is relevant anyway, and you can go on to search the site for other info. have fun learning! anon
I didn't get my period for 7.5 months. This is normal. Enjoy it while it lasts! You can get pregnant at anytime so use protection if you don't want to get pregnant now. Andi
Yes, it's common not to get your period for a long time after the birth of your child. But start using birth control if you don't want to get pregnant! You won't know when you're going to get your period until you get it. And before you get your first period, you will ovulate which means you can get pregnant because you don't know you're ovulating! anon
I am still breastfeeding my 1-year-old son 4-5 times a day (in the process of trying to daytime wean), and I have been having regular periods for 8 months. During my last annual exam, I mentioned this to my OB/Gyn, and he said that, while unusual, this doesn't indicate any problem whatsoever, especially since my periods are''normal'': not painful, of average length, and always right on time.
Has anyone else has the same experience? I'd just like a little anecdotal reassurance that this didn't indicate a hidden medical problem for you - especially a problem that might hinder a successful pregnancy in the future.
(A side note: I had an early miscarriage in 2004, and my regular periods kicked in again exactly 28 days after the miscarriage. Maybe this is just my body's way?) Nursing Mama
Lucky you! Quite to the contrary, getting your period so quickly after birth, even while breastfeeding, I believe is a sign of your fertility (as was getting your period 28 days after a miscarriage). At least that's what my gyno said when I got my period when my baby was just 4 months old, and I was 44 years old too! I think it's perfectly normal, and not a cause for worry. Sarah
I started menstruating when my 1st son was 3 months old and my 2nd was 9 mos. old. Still breastfeeding. I was told this is normal and not to worry about it but be sure to use birth control (ie: the myth that we can't get pregnant while we're breastfeeding). My boys are now 15 and 11 and I've never had any negative problems from that (now I'm in perimenapause...which is a whole different story). So, don't worry, but use birthcontrol!! anon
Nursing Mama, Some anecdotal reassurance: after the birth of both my children, I started my period after 4 & 5 months, even while nursing. My body runs like a clock, periods every 28 days as well. I've heard many similar stories & don't think you should worry! Also a nursing mama
Don't worry. I started menstruating 5 weeks after my child was born, and I was nursing a 9-pound, very hungry baby nearly-constantly. Maybe we are just extra fertile? I, too, had an early miscarriage long before I conceived my daughter--it happens to 1 in 10 pregnancies, according to research, but there is no known connection between early miscarriage and menstruation while nursing. It is more common for menstruation to be delayed for longer, but women with cycles like yours and mine are the BEST reason not to use nursing as a birth control method! I know of several women who were nursing, thought they were ''protected'' and got pregnant again within the first 4 months. Yikes! Signed, Fertile Myrtle
I also got my period a few months after the birth of my first child, who I was breast- feeding 24/7. It was a drag but didn't seem to mean anything, and I had no problem conceiving my second. Actually, now that I think about it, my second is four months old now and no period yet. So I guess it can vary even with one woman -not to worry
Forgive me, but I'm not seeing a problem. I breast fed two babies and started my period both times about 4 months after their births. Regular periods, normal ovulation cycles, etc. I don't even think it's that unusual and I'm fairly certain there's nothing wrong with it. What exactly are your fears? -Just curious...
Hi! Don't worry about menstruating! I just had my third child. After my first was born (almost 8 yrs ago), he was completely breast-fed and my menses began again only three weeks after the (six-week) post-birth bleeding stopped. I worked not to get pregnant again until last year, when I had my 16 month-old. When she was born, she was a fully-breastfed baby and again my menses began only three weeks after the (six-week) post-birth bleeding stopped. I conceived another baby when she was three months old - almost immediately... Now I have my third baby, fully breastfed, and my cycles started immediately again. What this means is that we are very fertile women!! Just be aware that if you become pregnant while breastfeeding, it is very possible that you could stop lactating or that the taste of the milk will change and your nurser might self-wean. This is what happened last year when I got pregnant with my third when my girl was 3 mos old, and upon research I found that it is very typical. On a personal level, I felt that it made sense since I was still so post-partum - how could my little body possibly sustain a baby via breastmilk, a new baby in utero, and my own old self?? I believe this is where wet-nursing comes in, or in my case it was organic baby formula. Please, be aware of your blessings!!! Peace~ A SISTER
Returning periods before weaning is not a medical concern, it may simply be an inconvenience if you're trying to avoid pregnancy. Every woman's body is different. After the first few months, if you pay attention to your body's signs (temperature, vaginal mucus), you can get a pretty good idea if your fertility is returning soon. Some women may have that when baby's six months, some at 18months. For more details or a broader picture of returning fertility while breastfeeding, I strongly encourage you to contact the Couple to Couple League online or by phone. Their counselors are wonderfully helpful & informative. Our bodies are wonderfully designed, purposeful & often pretty powerful! Let yourself be impressed with your woman's body, especially since you have your doctor's reassurance.
Motherhood's an amazing journey
It is normal for menstrual periods to start up again while breastfeeding. I think the average time is 14 months postpartum, which is when mine started, but that's just an average, with lots of people starting earlier, lots of people starting later, and some who don't start until they stop breastfeeding completely hope this helps.
Fret not. I got my period when my daughter was three months, and I was exclusively breastfeeding. I'm pregnant with #2 now and got pregnant on the first try. I wouldn't worry about any hidden medical problem. I think it's unusual to get your period as early as I did, but I chalk it up to being really furtile. I don't think it is really an indication of any underlying problems. Anon
My girlfriend nursed her baby ALL THE TIME (day and night) and still started menstruating when he was only a few months old (I think three mos old). Her midwife and OB said that everything was fine and that this happens sometimes. She then got pregnant when her son was 15 mos and had another healthy baby, so all went well. There is variation with women and you are probably fine. I got my period again when my son was 7.5 months and still nursing a lot. Sounds like your body likes being back to the old cycle. Anon
Hi I understand your concerns as I had the exact experience as yours. I think I resumed my period after three months, and nursed my now 16 month old until he was 14 months old night and day. I remember reading how rare it was to resume mentruation while breastfeeding, but my OB didn't think it was a big deal. Also, I miscarried in 2004 as well..and within 28 days my period returned. I haven't had any other issues, and we hope to try for baby # 2 in the new year..so hopefully all goes well. Perhaps we are just very regular?
My period also returned when my son was 4 months old, and I was feeding on demand. My son didn't wean until he was 22 months. I don't think this necessarily affects your ability to get pregnant again later, as I now have another child. Try not to worry! kim
I had my first period six weeks after giving birth. Just about the time the postpartum bleeding was almost done. THAT was unusual, and seemed really unfair. I was nursing almost constantly. I did get pregnant after that, so I don't think it's even relevant to fertility (though I'm older and suspect that starting a period right away/ovulating right away was my body's way of trying to get on with having more babies.) Friends of mine have two children exactly one year apart, and though she may not have had a period yet (I don't remember what she said but she wasn't trying to get pregnant), she obviously was ovulating. The whole thing about not having periods while you're breastfeeding is not something that everyone experiences. and those who do experience it have it for varying periods of time (no pun intended!) I think it's a myth!
I also resumed very regular periods about a year after the births of both of my children even though both nursed very frequently and at length (day and night) for years. I did have to try to conceive my second child for over a year though. At age 39, my doctor said that everything had to be ''just right'', and while some women conceive while nursing, it would be unlikely at my age. I weaned my first child on this advice, difficult as it was, and was pregnant within two cycles. Best of luck to you with your family! Long-nursing Mama
I'm just wondering how long some of you moms have gone without getting your period while breastfeeding? I have an almost 1 year old, who is a night (and day) nurser, and therefore, I've still no visit from AF. Can this go on, for as long as one nurses, primarily during the night? Just looking for averages from the community,,,
My little boy was an avid nurser night and day. He is 20 months old now and just started sleeping without me and ''tee-tee'' a month ago ( he did it on his own thank goodness). I started my cycles again when he was 15 months old. I too was surprised at how long it took. Everyone's different it seems, so I would enjoy the break while you can. Heidi
I exclusively breastfed for 6 months, but still got AF at 6 months post-partum. My friend didn't get hers back until 15 months post-partum. I've heard of some women going even longer, so I wouldn't worry. There seems to be quite a bit of normal variation. anon
I was surprised at the range amongst my friends as we breastfed our babies and when we got our periods back-- I, like you, went nearly a year before getting my period back. It was 10 months with my first and 9 months with my second. Lessening breast feeding at night did seem to coincide with the return of my period, though I did not wean them completely until after they were both 1 yo. Most of my friends got their periods back sooner than I did, but were still in the 6-9 month range. The only thing I'll add is that now that it's back, I can't believe how heavy my periods are-- not a welcome change. buying stock in Tampax
My son is 8 months old, and I just got my first post-pregnancy period (what the Sears book calls a ''warning menses'') last week. After I did some reading, I realized that my sore nipples- which I had attributed to his teething- were a sign of what was to come. My son nurses during the day, and occassionally at night. He is also eating solids. Anon
I too have wondered about this issue. I am nursing a 13 mos. old who really doesn't eat solids yet. My periods have not returned yet. We also co-sleep and nap-nurse. Melissa
I nursed both my kids until shortly past their second birthdays. With the first, my periods returned 18 months postpartum. With the second, I had 15 months off. Can't say I missed it. And what do you mean I have 20 more years? anon