Your Period After Pregnancy: What’s Normal & What’s Not

You’ve just had your baby, and the first few weeks have been a whirlwind of baby snuggles, kisses, and healing. Chances are you’ve hardly had any time to think about yourself, but now that you’re nearing your six week check-up with your midwife or OB, you may be starting to wonder: What’s the deal with getting your period after pregnancy?

Here’s everything you need to know, including:

  • When should you expect to get your period after pregnancy?
  • What’s the difference between postpartum bleeding and your period?
  • Can breastfeeding affect your period?
  • What are some natural ways to regulate your menstrual cycle?

When Can You Expect to Get Your Period After Pregnancy?

You may be surprised to learn there’s really no concrete answer. Some women get their period as little as eight weeks after birth, others may not get their period for a year or longer—that’s a pretty big range!

Our bodies are all different and countless factors can influence when you get your period after pregnancy, such as:

  • whether or not you’re breastfeeding (& if baby is sleeping through the night),
  • hormonal imbalances,
  • stress levels,
  • your body’s own homeostasis,
  • and endless other triggers!

What’s the Difference Between Postpartum Bleeding and a Period?

Immediately after childbirth, you’ll experience bleeding, but this isn’t the same thing as a period.

Postpartum bleeding: Lochia

Bleeding after birth is called lochia. Lochia, which means “relating to childbirth” in Greek, is made up of blood and tissue that’s being shed from the uterus.

Unlike a period, lochia can last for several weeks—even up to 12 weeks.

It can also taper off and then start up again, which can lead to confusion. If lochia stops and starts again, some women may think wrongly assume they got their first postpartum period. You may not know definitively if it was your period until the bleeding returns (or not) the following month.

First period after birth

Your first period after pregnancy may be very scant—or super heavy—as your body continues to slough off tissues leftover from pregnancy. Note: If you pass big clots, speak with your medical provider to rule out any issues.

Don’t worry if your first period seems different from your pre-pregnancy periods.

Your body may need a few months to regulate itself. And don’t be surprised if your period doesn’t seem to be the same as it was prior to pregnancy: The length or flow of your period may never return to how it was. 

Will I Get My Period While Breastfeeding?

You can get your period while breastfeeding, although it is typically much later than non-breastfeeding moms. Both research and anecdotal evidence show that most breastfeeding moms do not get their periods until at least 3-6 months after birth. Why?

Prolactin, the hormone responsible for milk production, has the ability to suppress the hormone that manages periods. This is called lactational amenorrhea.

If you are formula feeding or supplementing, you’re more likely to get your first period sooner—sometimes as early as 8 weeks after birth. If you are exclusively breastfeeding, nursing through the night, and not supplementing with any formula, you might not see your first period until baby’s first birthday. Some breastfeeding women don’t get their first periods until they wean their children!

Things That Affect When a Breastfeeding Mama Gets Her Period After Pregnancy

1. Baby’s sleep schedule

The more baby wakes up at night to eat, the more milk mama continues to produce, and that milk-producing hormone, prolactin, works to suppress menstruation. When baby starts to sleep through the night, mama’s body slowly produces less prolactin and milk, which in turn can trigger mama’s period to return.

2. Introducing solids

Introducing solid food can also affect periods if baby eats a lot of solid food and nurses less. When baby eats more and nurses less, this signals mama’s body to produce less milk, and that little shift can be enough to trigger menstruation. Many babies start solid foods around six months.

3. Mama’s hormonal makeup

Despite the averages, our bodies are all different, and each mama must take into account her own hormonal makeup. Some moms may be nursing all through the night, but still get a period two or three months postpartum. Other moms may wean their child and not see a period for months. If you have concerns about your hormones, speak with your doctor or midwife.

Don’t Be Surprised If Your Period Comes and Goes…

To confuse matters even more: A breastfeeding mama’s period may come and go. If your baby starts sleeping through the night at three months, mom may get her period back. But, if baby’s sleep pattern changes (4 month sleep regression, anyone?!), mom’s milk production and hormones will change and her period can stop again. It will return once baby starts sleeping longer stretches at night.

Can You Get Pregnant While Breastfeeding?

Some moms rely on exclusive breastfeeding as a method of birth control Called lactational amenorrhea method (LAM), this method of NFP was shown to be 98% effective in one study. Keep in mind that this study is 20 years old and was only effective when the following conditions were met:

  • Baby must be six months old or younger
  • Baby must be exclusively breastfed
  • Baby must be nursed consistently through the day and the night (at least every 4 hours during day and every 6 hours at night)
  • You must not have had your first postpartum period.

If those conditions are not met, LAM is not reliable. 

Further, a review of other studies on LAM found that many women are not meeting the above criteria, and therefore, not using this method of NFP correctly, which, of course, decreases efficacy.

So, yes, it is possible to get pregnant even if you are nursing—and even if you haven’t had your first postpartum period! That’s why LAM is not foolproof—there is still a 2% chance of pregnancy. It is possible to ovulate even before you get your first period, which would make pregnancy a possibility. (It’s important to know the signs of ovulation!)

Irregular Periods After Pregnancy

If you haven’t had your period in awhile, but want to get pregnant again, you may be anxious for your cycle come back. It can be especially frustrating if you’ve always had periods that operate like clockwork!

First, know that some irregularity is completely normal in the first year postpartum. Remember your body just went through huge hormonal changes during pregnancy, labor, delivery, postpartum healing, and breastfeeding.

Here are some common irregularities:

  • A change in flow: You may experience a scant or heavy first period after pregnancy
  • Longer than normal cycles: Your first cycle may be 45 days, then 40, then 35, and so on until eventually your cycle returns to normal
  • Changes in the number of days you bleed: You may bleed for 4 days now instead of 6, or vice versa

Natural Ways to Regulate Your Menstrual Cycle

Although irregularities are normal, you may want to get yourself back into balance. This will help you with natural birth control or with trying for another baby.

Luckily, there are natural ways to regulate your menstrual cycle:

  • Optimize your diet: Eating a healthy diet helps the body function to the best of its ability. Ditch the processed foods and aim for organic, whole foods.
  • Get enough zinc: One study found that zinc deficiency disrupts normal ovulation. The takeaway? Adequate zinc levels play a key role in healthy ovulation. Getting enough zinc can prevent menstrual cramps, too.
  • Get enough magnesium: Magnesium is invaluable to women’s reproductive health. During pregnancy, doctors administer magnesium to counter eclampsia seizures or to stop premature labor, but magnesium also plays a role in menstruation. Studies show that magnesium reduces PMS symptoms, such as lower back pain or lower abdominal pain. Learn more about magnesium supplementation here (and how to incorporate some magnesium-rich foods, too.)
  • Improve your circadian rhythm: Studies show that your circadian rhythm can affect your endocrine system, and because periods are hormone-controlled, it makes sense that if your circadian rhythm is out of whack, it may affect your menstrual cycle. Avoid blue light around bedtime, and if you’re reading on your Kindle during midnight nursing sessions, set it to the “night mode” which features an amber screen.
  • Take cod liver oil supplements: Studies have shown that cod liver oil’s omega-3 fatty acids boost fertility and even support proper fetal development. You can read about this and other fertility boosters in this post.
  • Camu Camu powder: A supplement high in vitamin C that also regulates periods? Yes please!
  • Reduce stress levels: Try practicing mindfulness, exercising, yoga, meditation. 🙏🏻

When to Talk to a Doctor

When should you talk to a healthcare provider about irregular periods or a period that hasn’t returned after pregnancy? You should contact your provider with any questions or concerns during the postpartum period, but you should absolutely talk to your doctor if you experience the following:

  • Any period that requires you to change your tampon, pad, or cup every hour
  • Bleeding that lasts more than seven days
  • Clots larger than a quarter
  • Missing a period after you’ve already had a few
  • Mid-cycle spotting

If you are formula feeding and haven’t had a period three months after birth or if you are breastfeeding and haven’t had a period three months after weaning, it’s time to see your doctor.

How about you?

When did you get your first period after pregnancy? How long did it take to regulate? Share with us in the comments below!

About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 75,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.


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  1. 14th of September I had my menstruation again after 14months of childbirth but I can’t see it this month (October). Could it be that I’m pregnant or it’s normal to miss it?. Still breastfeeding🇳🇬

  2. hi. so my baby is 2 about to turn3 months had my pieriod last month and have not had it yet. im fully breastfeeding him can that be why.. help plz

  3. So …. I’m in a very frustrating zone now! Need some advise please…!
    I’m fully breastfeeding now ( was supplementing for first 4 weeks lighly)
    I had exactly 40 days pp bleeding which was on the light flow side. Exactly 2 weeks after then I got bleeding which I consider a period …?!
    After 11 days since that period ^ finished, I started to bleed AGAIN! And it’s fairly a period-like flow.
    What should I do…. considered this a period as well? I’ve been fully bfeeding my baby for the past 4 weeks. He does feed every 1.5-2 hrs during the day and about 3 times at nights!
    He’s just over 2 months old now…. it seems like a roller coaster of bleeding on n off! HELP!!!

    • The first period of bleeding could have been what’s called “breakthrough bleeding” the second time could have been your period. I would keep an eye on things, see how next month goes and contact your provider if you’re concerned.

  4. My baby is 5 months I have been fully breastfeeding feeding him until I started working 2 months ago. I pump at work once or twice and I feed him when I get home a couple of times before bed time. Then I feed him once or twice in the middle of the night. And before I go to work and no period yet. Does anyone one know why?

    • Sounds like the routine I had. My daughter is 22 months and my first postpartum period only came last week Thursday. It was same as before I was pregnant (5 days, no cramps, normal flow).

      I still breastfeed on mornings, once or twice during the night and pump once during the day even though she has a healthy appetite for solid food.

      I was initially worried but began to enjoy not seeing my period. Seems as though the breastfeeding helped. Don’t worry.

  5. My baby is 16 months old. He hasn’t been breastfed in months. I still haven’t gotten my period! I had light spotting for one day and then that was it! I’ve even took another pregnancy test 🤷🏻‍♀️ Anyone had this happen?

  6. I had my first baby six months ago and started having a pretty regular period about two months after baby came. I am now two weeks late and have taken three pregnancy tests and they are all negative. With my first pregnancy I had a positive test a week after my missed period. Is it possible I’m pregnant again? Or is it possible it’s something else? Breastfeeding wasn’t an option and I only breastfed for a week before we switched to formula.

    • I’m going thru the same thing, but it’s my second baby I was due on the 19 for my period haven’t gotten it yet I did 2 PT they were negative I was bloated and cramping but no period

  7. My baby is 5 months old and I got my period it started off very light now it’s just constant 3 weeks and still going 🙁 . Makes me feel so depressed. Gp said it’s normal but I just don’t know .

  8. This article was soooo helpful. My son started sleeping through the night around 5 months and I went back to work, so now he is getting bottles at daycare during the day. I nurse him in the morning and a couple times in the evening before he goes to bed. I got my period back when he was about 6 months old, but I am currently on cycle day 42 (it was always pretty consistently around 28 days before I got pregnant). Helpful to know it can come and go and cycles can be longer at first. He has had some nights that he was sick and woke up, so that might have made a difference on extending my cycle and when I will ovulate again. Its so nice to know it can look different for a little while after it returns! No one really talks about that, so thank you!

  9. my baby is 10mos old by a Caesarian section his into mix formula and breastfeed. and my period is still not coming.. is it normal?

    • My baby we be 2years next month and I weaned him for a year but since Jan this year that I stoped breastfeeding have not had a normal period I spot mainly and have done series of blood test and I was told am OK but my period is still not coming and am period spot

    • If you’re breastfeeding, yes.

      • I got my period just yesterday but the pain is worse from abdominal to lower back and stomch? Is it normal like dysmenorrhea feeling but a bit strong pain?

  10. My babe turned eight months on 12sep. We had sex after a year ,two days ago. Since this morning I m seeing the blood drops while peeing and a few early this morning when i got up. I have menses like cramps n lower back pain as well since morning. I was planning to take a morning after pill today coz its the third day we had sex. Now, I am confuse is it my menses returning or what is happening?
    Should I still be taking morning after pill or drop that idea. Goodness, m scared. My body is still healing the c section I had in January. (I had infection in the scar site which turned into a boil n bursted. Now its drying out n it looks like two navels on my tummy)

    Can someone please please advise, what do I do.

    • Please contact your medical provider.

  11. Hello…. I have 1st period on exact 45 dys after delivery… I know it’s normal even in my 1st pregnancy also the same…but this time again after 16 dys I have spotting…so is dis normal or I have to consult doctor immediately? Pls give me suggestion

    • The first bit of bleeding you experienced could have been whats called breakthrough bleeding. Some woman experience this after lochia stops for a while. The spotting now could be your period returning. Of course, if you have questions or concerns, a call to your provider is always a good idea, that’s what they are there for! Good luck.

  12. It’s been a year after my delivery that I did not get my periods back. I am worried please guide me if anyone can

    • Are you breastfeeding? If so, it’s normal not to get your period back until you’ve weaned.

  13. Is it okay if I still haven’t my monthly period after giving birth? I already have it last August 10 and not yet for this month. Is this what they called irregularity? I took PT last day, and thanks it’s negative. I am not allowed to get preggy again. that’s why.

    • Are you breastfeeding?

  14. I had my third dd almost 14 months ago. We breastfeed and table food feed. She is a great eater, in 98th percentile for height and 75th percentile for weight. She is long and lean, running around getting into everything. I had after-birth bleeding for 8 weeks. My period bleeding was weeks at a time, with only days in between. At my 6mos checkup, I had not bled for 15 days total. This June, I bled 29 days, had 9 days off, then 10days of bleeding, 4 days off, then spotting. And it seems like every time I have sex it starts another ‘period.’ The nurse practitioner I saw would not give me birth control because I’m still nursing. I am so sick of this. Fees like my body is sabotaging me.

    • The exact same thing is happening to me right now i had irish twins my baby is 5months old had pp bleeding for 6weeks then 1wk break bled another week started b.c missed a day then bled 4wks then had a month break got my period bled 3wks stopped a day got an iud in that day had spotting for a week and have been bleeding another 2 weeks I’ve called my cnmw and she says to wait untill the bleeding stops and i get my period again! And wait till that stops and can take the pill along with iud I am NOT breastfeeding were you able to get any answers

      • I am having the same issue! My Ob said he will only do the mirena. I feel like I’m bleeding every day with no break whatsoever.

        • So glad I am not the only one but sorry that we are going through this. I feel like my hormones are all out of whack.

  15. My son just turned a year old yesterday and I started what I think is my period today. He has been exclusively breastfed and just recently started on solid foods for every meal and he doesn’t nurse as much at night now. From this article it sounds like this is all normal. This article was very helpful. Thank you 🙂

  16. I’ve been breastfeeding my son for 15 months and just got my first period back today. We have always done part breastmilk part formula and then moved to solids and eventually whole milk. He still nurses a couple of times a day and at night. So I’m definitely confused on why it came back even though we Still do everything the same.

  17. I’m still nursing my almost 18 month old daughter and I haven’t had my period yet. I’m hoping it will come soon as we are ready to have another child.

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