First period after childbirth

Within 10 week approximately 80% of women find their period has returned. Breastfeeding can delay menstruation and ovulation for 20 weeks or more, but it is not uncommon to find your period returning sooner, or much later, than 20 weeks.

There are differences among individual women and their hormone levels, so it’s difficult to say when a period will recommence after childbirth. Some women find their period returns the very next month after the birth and at the other end of the scale, some women don’t menstruate until well after twelve months.

Your period may return about six to eight weeks after you give birth, if you aren’t breastfeeding. If you do breastfeed, the timing for a period to return can vary. Some women who practice exclusive breastfeeding might not have a period the entire time they breastfeed. “Exclusive breastfeeding” means that your baby is receiving only your breast milk. But for others, it might return after a couple of months, whether they’re breastfeeding or not.

When periods resume, it’s common for them to be heavier and/or more irregular than normal – often for months. Some women find that their first periods after baby are so heavy that they need to use both pads and tampons.

If your period does return quickly after giving birth and you had a vaginal delivery, your doctor might recommend that you avoid using tampons during your first menstruation post-baby.

This is because your body is still healing, and tampons could potentially cause trauma. Ask your doctor if you can return to using tampons at your six-week postpartum checkup.