Childbirth is a miracle. However, women go through a lot of physical changes not just during the pregnancy but even after that. Therefore, one could say that surviving the aftermath of childbirth is a miracle, too. One of the most common things that women who give birth experience are irregular or a delayed menstrual cycle following pregnancy or birth.
The latest medical innovation has enabled women to control or delay the periods when required, but the situation after pregnancy is different.
Once the first postpartum period happens, a person's menstrual cycle goes through a very unpredictable schedule. This consists of periods coming earlier than expected or later than usual, and this can go on for months. Now, naturally, this is a considerable cause of concern for people who have just gone through pregnancy. And, just like a normal person would, they rush to consult their doctors. However, there is a perfect explanation for this irregularity.
Are Irregular Periods Normal After Birth?
First and foremost, it is crucial to comprehend that childbirth drastically changes some hormones in the body. Accordingly, such hormones that are supposed to ensure a regular period between menstrual cycles stop working. There is nothing to worry about, and it is quite normal for women to experience changes in the frequency as well as the flow of their monthly period following the delivery. There are several factors that come into the picture that significantly contribute to the delay or irregularity of periods.
Common Reasons Behind Irregular Menstrual Cycle After Pregnancy
The process begins from the time of conception. So, from the beginning, a woman's body goes through a ton of changes, including the rapid changing of levels of hormones. As a result, one is left with an altered menstrual cycle. But, there are some other external factors that also play a role in making your periods irregular following delivery.
1. Fluctuation in Weight
We all know that pregnant people tend to gain weight during pregnancy and continue to be on the higher side of weight for a few months, even after delivery. This is something that everyone has seen or experienced in their lives. However, on the other hand, there are some women who drastically lose weight. This is primarily due to a lack of proper diet and sleep. In both cases, the common denominator is weight. So, we can directly link weight to the change in hormone levels occurring in the body. Consequently, the mother's weight continues to be a prominent parameter in deciding the time frame within which she starts having a regular menstrual routine.
2. Breastfeeding a Child
Mothers who breastfeed their children are prone to ovulating after a specific time – especially much later, post-delivery. This is because the hormone responsible for inducing the secretion of milk from the mammary glands (prolactin) is known to suppress the process of ovulation. Due to this, as long as a mother breastfeeds her child, the hormone tends to remain in circulation, which further contributes to the prevention of the ovulation process. Simply put, only flourishing ovulation culminates in menstruation; consequently, your periods begin later than usual.
3. Alteration in Hormone Levels
It is common knowledge that an expecting mother's body often begins the process of altering the levels of hormones as a form of anticipation of the pregnancy. Now, these hormones prepare the mother for the acts of childbearing, birthing, as well as breastfeeding. Unfortunately, the hormone levels do not return to the levels of normalcy immediately following delivery. There is a way to speed up the process, though. Factors like diet, exercise, sex, breastfeeding and weight decide the pace at which the hormone levels return to normal.
4. Pre-pregnancy Conditions
If you have ever suffered from conditions such as Endometriosis, PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), Hypo- or Hyper- Thyroidism, or any other condition that can be held responsible for the fluctuation in hormones, then you may be bound to experience irregular periods after pregnancy. More specifically, if you already faced problems with the regularity of your menstrual cycle before pregnancy, that might cause irregular or delayed periods after birth.
The Bottom Line
Delaying periods for a woman is perfectly normal, and so is having irregular periods after delivery. It often occurs due to various hormonal changes in the body. With the passage of time, the body settles down to its 'normal' routine. However, keep in mind that the time frame for this process varies significantly from person to person.