Does Your Period Really Change After Pregnancy?
It is not uncommon for women to say their body is never the same after a pregnancy. Some women find it difficult to lose weight after a pregnancy and their bodies hold on to baby fat for years while others’ bodies seem to snap back as if they were never pregnant at all. Some women experience stretch marks, sagging breasts, weight gain and a host of other changes post-pregnancy.
Why Your Period May Change Post-Pregnancy
But did you know that your period can change as well? If you’re one of the fortunate ones who gets a light period with little to no menstrual cramping you’re probably blissfully thinking that your period will always be that way. It is logical, right? But unfortunately it's not always the case. This is because during pregnancy your body produces about 100 times more estrogen than it normally did. (The body also increases its production of other hormones like, progesterone and human chorionic gonadotropin, as well.) These changes can cause lasting effects on your menstrual cycle.
When to Expect to See a Change in Your Period Postpartum
Most women who do not breastfeed usually see their periods return after about 10 weeks postpartum. While women who do breastfeed usually see their monthly menses return about 20 weeks postpartum. (You can thank the hormone prolactin being produced by your body for that delay in ovulation.) But if your period doesn’t return in that time don’t panic, every body is different and some women’s periods won’t return for about a year.
When your period does return, be prepared for a possible change in how your period behaves. Many factors can influence how your period behaves but a major one is weight gain.
How Weight Gain May Affect Your Period Post-Pregnancy
Can you believe the extra baby weight you put on while carrying your baby could influence how long your period lasts and how severe your menstrual cramping is? According to Dr. Doug Black, who was previously a practicing OB/GYN in Ottawa but now practices in Doha,Qatar, it can. “If you put on weight, you produce more of your own estrogen in the fat cells of your body, and this can influence how long and heavy your periods are, ” says Black.
What to Do if Your Period is Worse After Pregnancy
If your period goes haywire when it returns it is recommended that you seek the medical attention. A doctor can rule out any abnormal hormone imbalances or other issues which could be causing the drastic change. They may recommend a vitamin supplement, like magnesium glycinate or iron, or may recommend that you go on some form of birth control to help you regulate your period.
And to add to that, keep in mind that each pregnancy is different. Meaning that the hormones you produce during one pregnancy can differ in quantity causing your body to react differently than it had before post-pregnancy. After your first pregnancy you may experience a heavier period, severe menstrual cramps and agonizing nausea whereas after your second pregnancy you could have a very light period with little to no other symptoms.
Whether you have frequent spotting, light periods or even a heavy flow, period panties can help. You can use them alone or with your favorite method of menstrual protection--pads, tampons, cups, sponges, etc--and you’ll always be protected from unexpected leaks. Learn more about period panties here.