Is Heavy Period After Pregnancy Normal?

After giving birth, a woman enters postpartum which goes on for a period of six weeks. The periods start again after some time as well. The arrival time of the first postpartum period might vary and depends on the body type. Since all mothers are different, the exact time when the period will resume again is not the same for everyone. However, generally speaking, the periods of new mothers who aren’t nursing their baby resume after six to eight weeks of giving birth. Most women will experience heavy period after pregnancy and they wonder if it’s serious.

What’s First Period Like After Pregnancy?

Periods that occur after childbirth are more vengeful than the ones that had occurred before. Women’s and Children’s Health Network warns that the first period after pregnancy usually is more discomforting and comes with painful cramps. It even has a heavier flow as well. Periods after the first one though are not that heavy and resemble the normal periods you had before. A heavy period after pregnancy isn’t concerning unless you start soaking pads within an hour or begin exhibiting signs of a medical condition or infection.

Spotting Before the Period

As your breastfeeding becomes lesser, your periods will resume shortly. You would begin “spotting” when your baby’s feeds are reduced to three times a day. Spotting is characterized as an irregular and light period that shows up as spots of blood only.  

If periods resume while you are nursing, they would usually be irregular. It is normal for the menstrual cycle of a woman to slow down or quicken while she is nursing. Sometimes women who are nursing don’t have periods at all or have them after many months.  

Blood Clots

Having blood clots in periods after childbirth are a common thing for most women. It is usually not alarming and might be caused by the body’s self-healing. However, if you experience too much blood loss than normal or continue to have blood clots in the period for more than a week then speak with your GP, health visitor or midwife immediately.   

Heavy Period After Pregnancy: What Others Have Experienced

I think that it is normal for women to experience a heavy period after baby especially if they are suffering from some medical condition like fibroids or making use of certain types of contraception like the coil. If you are using too many towels or tampons or both for your period then I recommend that you visit your GP to find out the underlying cause for this or discuss the treatment options you can use.   

I have 15 month old son who I breastfeed till today. I had my first period after childbirth around 3 days ago and it was quite heavy. Although the blood flow was heavier, I think it’s normal as the body is returning to its normal position. I haven’t had a period this late although I am a mother of 6. I do recall that after the birth of my 4th son, I had a heavy period after pregnancy but the flow wasn’t this heavy. If you do think that something is wrong then just give a call to your doctor.    

I had a C-section about 12 weeks ago and the periods that I have been having since then are quite heavy. For 12 successive days, I have gone through around 2 packs of super strength maxi pads within an hour, had big clots and haven’t been able to come out of the bathroom because of the heavy bleeding. I have tried tranexamic acid which is to be taken only for heavy bleeding for four days but it hasn’t worked. The bleeding has been going on for 2 weeks now, making me anemic and I am on iron tablets. It feels like a tap has been turned on and the blood just flows out.      

How to Deal with the Heavy Flow and Cramping

1.       How to Regulate Your Cycles

Hormonal birth control can be used to control the changes in your cycle after pregnancy. For instance, if the heavier flow is interrupting your lifestyle, the hormonal birth control can help in regulating the cycle and might even make the flow less painful and lighter too. Ask your gynecologist regarding the type of birth control that is right for regulating your cycle.   

2.       Daytime Strategies

It is better to have an emergency bag ready when going out. It must have:

  • At least 2 additional pairs of panties
  • An additional pair of jeans
  • A jacket or long-sleeved sweater in case an accident occurs
  • Panty liners, tampons and pads

3.       Nighttime Suggestions

  • Since blood is not easy to be cleaned from sheets and clothes, it’s in your best interest to avoid leaks while you are asleep.
  • Fold a dark-colored towel and put it underneath your bottom as a safety measure for accidental leakage while sleeping.
  • Sleep on an old blanket to keep the sheets safe from being ruined. The blanket can absorb the blood if any of it leaks through the overnight pads.  
  • Make use of tampons that have panty liners during daytime and menstrual cups while sleeping. 

4.       Tips to Relieve Cramps

  • Don’t stand for long. Either sit down or increase blood flow by moving from one foot to the other. Don’t sit cross-legged as it will reduce blood circulation in legs.
  • Go up on tiptoes for a few seconds and down again to stretch your calf muscles during the day and before going to bed.
  • During cramps, flex your toes in the direction of your nose while straightening your leg to reduce the pain. When in a relaxed position, try slowly circling your ankles in one direction and then the other.
  • Try massaging yourself with lavender or chamomile oil, which are also known as aromatherapy oils. Use these oils after mixing them in grapeseed oil. Chamomile can reduce inflammation while lavender can relieve pain.
  • Drink lots of water and take a warm bath before going to bed. It will improve circulation and ease tensed muscles. You can also use a warm compress or water bottle to relax the sore muscles as well.   

When to See a Doctor

There isn’t need to get concerned if you a heavy period. However, it becomes important to consult the doctor if: 

  • You get exhausted pretty quickly.
  • You feel fatigued after doing a little work. You can get anemic if you are having very heavy periods. Anemia is referred to as the deficiency of red blood cells which are responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body.  
  • You experience leakage through a tampon within an hour, also known as “flooding”. See a doctor immediately if the consistency of the periods change and they get even heavier. The doctor might use cyclical progesterone or give oral contraceptives to you for regulating your periods if no correlation is found between the heavy flow and a medical condition. 

A Word About Fertility After Pregnancy

Getting fertile again soon isn’t impossible after a pregnancy. Do keep in mind that you can still get pregnant after a pregnancy even if your periods haven’t resumed yet. The reason for this is that women ovulate or release an egg every two weeks before a period.      

So, it is possible that you become pregnant again without you realizing it. Women who don’t want another pregnancy soon after childbirth need to take contraception pills when having sex no matter whether their periods have resumed or not. You can take advice from your midwife, health visitor or GP on this matter.    

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