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Menstruation after giving birth is a topic that many mothers are concerned about. After giving birth and breastfeeding for the first 1-2 years, a mother’s menstrual cycle can be irregular, with some months having periods and others not. The amount of menstrual blood may also vary, sometimes heavy and sometimes light, and the color of the menstrual blood may change to bright red, brown, or dark black. Additionally, common symptoms include menstrual cramps and prolonged periods.

The timing of menstruation’s return after giving birth

If a mother exclusively breastfeeds, menstruation is usually delayed, typically occurring 7-8 months after giving birth. However, it is difficult to determine exactly when a woman will start experiencing her menstrual cycle after giving birth and while breastfeeding. Some women may have their periods return after 2-3 months, whereas others may have to wait for 8-10 months. This is completely normal.

Menstruation will not return until the baby shows signs of weaning if the mother exclusively breastfeeds. Only when the baby starts sleeping longer at night, reduces the number of breastfeeding sessions, and begins to eat solid foods, it is likely that menstruation will return.

When the baby starts eating solid foods, it indicates a reduction in breastfeeding. This is a sign that menstruation will resume.

While breastfeeding, some mothers may experience bleeding for a few days followed by a period of no bleeding. This is completely normal and does not mean that menstruation has resumed. If the baby is not breastfeeding, the earliest that menstruation will resume is after 12 weeks postpartum.

Causes of postpartum menstrual irregularities

Women can have their periods return after 6 weeks postpartum because, at that point, their bodies have returned to the pre-pregnancy state. Hormones such as progesterone, estrogen, and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) have also returned to normal levels. However, the time when a woman starts to have her menstrual cycle return after giving birth depends on factors such as breastfeeding, hormone levels, and lifestyle.

Breastfeeding exclusively can inhibit ovulation and delay the return of menstruation. Women who exclusively breastfeed may have their periods return after 6 months or even later. Women who do not breastfeed may have their periods return around 6 weeks postpartum.

The irregularities in postpartum menstruation are caused by the changes that occur in a woman’s body during pregnancy. Not only does the body need to develop to nourish the fetus, but it also produces breast milk afterward. All of these changes are driven by hormones.

Women who have previously experienced hormonal imbalances are more likely to experience irregular periods after giving birth. Hormonal imbalances commonly occur in the first few months after childbirth when the body is still recovering. Menstrual cycles may be irregular and heavier than usual for 3-4 months.

The stress of taking care of a newborn can lead to constant stress, tension, and occasional mood swings, causing hormonal imbalances and menstrual irregularities.

5 signs of postpartum menstrual irregularities

  1. Irregular menstrual cycle: The most noticeable sign is a deviation from the normal menstrual cycle, which is usually 28-32 days. A menstrual cycle typically lasts 3-7 days, depending on the individual. Therefore, a cycle shorter than 28 days or longer than 32 days, bleeding lasting less than 3 days or more than 7 days are indications of postpartum menstrual irregularities.

  2. Clotted or abnormally dark menstrual blood: Menstrual blood that clots or has a dark color, combined with late or irregular periods, can also indicate postpartum menstrual irregularities.

  3. Excessive delay in menstrual return: For women who have had a cesarean section, menstruation usually resumes after 2-3 months, while for those who have had a vaginal birth, it can take longer, around 6 months to 1 year. If a woman has not had her period return 1-2 years after giving birth, it is a clear sign of postpartum menstrual irregularities.

  4. Severe abdominal pain: Women usually experience abdominal pain before and during the first day of their menstrual cycle. For women who have given birth, the pain experienced after childbirth may make menstrual cramps no longer as intense. Therefore, if a mother feels severe, debilitating abdominal pain that limits her activities, it could be a sign of postpartum menstrual irregularities.

  5. Breast tenderness: Breast tenderness or soreness is a symptom of endocrine disorder and, by extension, menstrual irregularities. This is a common sign of menstrual irregularities, not exclusive to women after giving birth. Additionally, fatigue, back pain, and headaches may accompany these symptoms.

Abnormal menstrual irregularities

Menstrual irregularities in postpartum mothers who breastfeed exclusively are considered normal physiological changes. However, if they are accompanied by the following abnormal symptoms, immediate medical attention is recommended:

  • Prolonged periods lasting 8-14 days, with heavy blood flow and the formation of clots. This could indicate damage to the uterine lining or reproductive organ inflammation.
  • Irregular vaginal bleeding with a foul odor. This could signify a gynecological condition.
  • Itching and discomfort in the genital area, especially pain during sexual intercourse. If a mother experiences this condition 2 years after giving birth, it is advisable to seek medical attention for timely diagnosis and treatment as it could be a sign of a serious gynecological issue.

If none of the above symptoms are present, there is no need to worry excessively. These changes in the menstrual cycle and hormone levels are normal for postpartum and breastfeeding women.

Treating postpartum menstrual irregularities

Here are some tips for treating postpartum menstrual irregularities:

  • Improve your diet, get enough rest, and maintain a balanced lifestyle.
  • Engage in regular physical activity and consider gentle exercises, such as yoga, to promote relaxation and postpartum weight loss.
  • Avoid stress and tension. Keep a positive mindset, engage in conversations with your child and loved ones to prevent postpartum depression.
  • Avoid using birth control pills as they can have side effects and disrupt your menstrual cycle after giving birth.
  • Limit the use of stimulants such as alcohol, beer, and cigarettes.
  • If necessary, hormone supplementation can help treat postpartum menstrual irregularities. However, it is crucial to consult a specialist to ensure the proper dosage and administration.

Does postpartum menstruation affect breastfeeding?

When breastfeeding, the body releases the hormone prolactin, which temporarily inhibits ovulation. It is challenging to determine exactly when ovulation will resume.

As long as a mother continues to exclusively breastfeed, ovulation will not occur. Once the baby shows signs of weaning, the mother’s body may begin ovulating again. Sometimes, even after weaning, ovulation may not resume immediately.

The return of menstruation does not mean that breastfeeding should be discontinued. Menstruation does not change the taste or quality of breast milk.

However, it is important to note that when menstruation returns, the amount of breast milk may temporarily decrease. Mothers may notice that their babies are hungry more frequently. This decrease in milk supply typically occurs a few days before menstruation starts or during the first few days of the menstrual cycle. If faced with this situation, mothers should not worry as this change is temporary and related to hormonal fluctuations during menstruation.

Once the menstrual cycle returns to its regular pattern, hormone levels will stabilize, and breast milk supply will increase. To prevent hunger due to decreased milk supply during menstruation, mothers can breastfeed their babies more frequently.

Interestingly, before menstruation, babies may detect subtle changes in the taste of breast milk. They may show their refusal to latch or exhibit other “uncooperative” behaviors. Babies are sensitive to these changes, but they quickly adapt to the new taste.

Postpartum menstrual irregularities are normal physiological changes unless accompanied by abnormal symptoms such as unpleasant odors, itching, pain during sexual intercourse, which require medical attention to rule out thyroid disorders or life-threatening conditions if they persist.


The information provided in this article from is for informational purposes only and should not replace medical diagnosis or treatment. Patients should not self-administer medication. For an accurate diagnosis, patients should visit a qualified healthcare professional for direct examination, diagnosis, and appropriate treatment protocols.

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