When you’re a new mom, even though you have so much to think about, to do, and to learn, at some point you starting wondering when your period will come back. You’ve had 9 months without it, but as the postpartum weeks and months pass you might start to wonder what’s going on with your cycle. The first thing to know is the return of your period after baby is different for every woman and even different with every pregnancy. There are a few factors involved in getting your period back after baby, including whether you breastfeed or formula feed your newborn, your hormonal baseline from before you were pregnant, and your age. Your menstrual cycle will respond to all of these elements and respond with when it returns, how it changes, and how it makes you feel.
Ovulating after baby
Important note! Before we move forward I know one of the reasons you might be worrying about the return of your period is because you’re keen to not get pregnant again too soon! Be aware that you will ovulate BEFORE you have your first post-partum period. Whether you’re breastfeeding or not, you will ovulate earlier than you start menstruating again. There are ways you can keep track and pinpoint when you start ovulating again, but it’s important to use contraception like condoms during this time to protect yourself from another pregnancy, especially if you’ve had a caesarian section as it’s not recommended to have too-close together pregnancies after such surgery.
Your period post-birth
You can expect your experience of your cycle to be somewhat different to what you were used to before your pregnancy. You shouldn’t have very heavy or clotty periods for more than 3 cycles postpartum. Then, your period may be lighter, a little irregular at first. Once this transition time is over, you should be having a more even, less problematic period experience – normal bleeds, less cramps, shorter periods…this is the result of your uterus strengthening as a part of pregnancy and labor.
Getting my period back postpartum
So, what is normal? There isn’t really a normal here, it varies from woman to woman. I personally did not get my period back until about 7-9 months after I gave birth. I was breastfeeding and I still plan to until my daughter is 2 years old, so this delayed the return of my period somewhat. For women who don’t breastfeed, your period will usually show up about 4 months after you’ve had your baby.
I’m sure you’re wondering how I did cycle syncing™ when I didn’t have a menstrual cycle during this time. Post-pregnancy I didn’t start cycle syncing™ my meals until I got my period back. I did, however, eat a special post partum diet, which I’ll be sharing more about in the future. You want to be “performance eating” almost like an athlete to rebuild your micronutrient resources and rebuild your hormones, not to mention making good quantity and quality breastmilk.
I was 210 pounds after I gave birth to my daughter, but within 6 months I had lost all the weight without depriving or starving myself and without causing any hormonal symptoms. I ate lots of super nourishing, nutrient dense foods. I actually ate a whole lot and filled up on good fats. Take a look at my post-pregnancy meal plan. I did this with my health in mind, as well as knowing this would help me to breastfeed as long as I wanted to. Luteal phase foods will boost your progesterone levels and protect you from the pitfalls of progesterone deficiency that can happen post-pregnancy (read on for more on this).
Breastfeeding moms – getting your period back and your hormones
If you decide to breastfeed, you may not see your period for some time. This is normal and nothing to worry about. However, you might want to focus more on how you FEEL during this time. Breastfeeding suppresses estrogen levels and increases progesterone levels. The longer you breastfeed, the more you may start to feel the effects of low estrogen over time.
I’m in the second year of breastfeeding now, and I personally feel a little less juicy, youthful, more tired, while I’m breastfeeding, because of my low estrogen levels. This is definitely normal and low estrogen during this short time even has protective properties against breast cancer and other health benefits.
However, if you find you have signs of low progesterone too – like brown staining before your period, spotting before and after your period, PMS, low moods, anxiety – then you will want to make choices to support your body to make more progesterone. You can double up on eating progesterone supportive foods – like those from the luteal phase of the Flo Living protocol.
Formula-feeding moms – getting your period back and your hormones
If you’re not breastfeeding and using formula instead, or even supplementing with formula, you will likely get your period back sooner than I did. The main factor in when you’ll get your period and how you will feel in this situation is your age.
If you’re under 35 you need to make sure you’re taking care to avoid stress and implement self-care strategies. You also want to have great sleep hygiene habits. This will help your hormones to bounce back to healthy levels and keep you feeling happy, calm, and energetic. If your period seems to be taking a little too long to make its appearance, examine your stress levels and sleep issues as these two areas are usually the source of a delayed, irregular menstrual cycle after pregnancy.
If you’re over 35 and your period hasn’t come back as quickly as you expected, then you may need to take further steps to ensure you regain your menstrual cycle and fertility. Technically you are in your life stage of perimenopause (happens to us all post-35) and your body is naturally producing less hormones on its own. Your body might struggle to make enough hormones to create a cycle and support ovulation. You can follow my specific recommendations for women over 35 and consider supplementing with maca root powder.
In both cases, it’s also a good idea to get your thyroid evaluated as this commonly gets stressed postpartum and can disrupt your cycle.
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!
to your FLO,
Good things come in threes:
I want to hear from you!
First, are you post-partum?
Second, are you breastfeeding?
Third, everyone you know is hormonal – spread a little good ovary karma and share this article on social 😉
Feeling Frazzled, Bloated, and Unsexy?
If you’ve noticed more distance between cycles…or some periods are light and some are super heavy…your sex drive is flat…and you’re more moody in general (anxious, depressed, or both)…and especially if you’re in your mid 30’s and up…
Your hormones may be aging faster than they should. But you can start reversing this process by adding one key micronutrient that you’re likely missing.
Get your free report: The Magic Missing Micronutrient to Get Your Sexy Back.