Nearly 32% of women in the world give birth through cesarean section. The hormonal disturbances throughout the pregnancy and later after delivery alter the menstrual cycle. The first period after a C-section occurs after 6-8 weeks if you are not breastfeeding. The postpartum periods can be extremely painful and heavy with blood clots and lasts longer than usual.
- The first post-partum periods occur after 6 weeks in non-lactating women
- In breastfeeding women, the periods return after almost 6 months
- The first periods after C-section are heavy contain blood clots, last longer than usual, and are extremely painful in some females
- Consult a gynecologist if the periods cause severe complications after delivery.
After delivery, whether by C-section or vagina, women often experience heavy bleeding after 2-3 weeks. This contains blood clots and uterine tissues that are not required in the body after pregnancy. This discharge is known as Lochia and should not be confused with the first periods after delivery.
When will the First periods after C-section start?
The time for the first periods after a C-section varies for every woman. It usually begins within 8 weeks if you are not a nursing mother. They can be different than the periods before pregnancy. Some women experience heavy fresh red blood accompanied by intense cramps during their first periods after C-section.
First periods after C-section in non-breastfeeding women
If you are not lactating, it is likely that your first periods begin within 6-8 weeks after the C-section. The time for the first periods to begin after delivery may be different for every woman. However, if your periods were not regular before pregnancy, there is a high chance that they will be not regular even after delivery.
Also read: The first period after miscarriage
First periods after C-section in breastfeeding women
During breastfeeding, prolactin hormone is released for the production of milk. The milk hormone suppresses the reproductive hormones and the reproductive cycle pauses. This delays the first periods after delivery in nursing mothers.
Menstruation occurs after pregnancy but it is unexpected to tell when will the first periods begin. In some nursing women, the periods begin after 6 months while the time differs in others.
Breastfeeding is also considered natural birth control, especially during the first 6 months as it increases prolactin levels which suppresses ovulation hormones.
Read Also: Early signs and symptoms of pregnancy.
How long do the first periods after the C-section last?
The first post-partum periods can be extremely heavy and lasts longer than usual. They can last up to 10 or 12 days.
The menstrual bleeding lasts longer than usual after c-section particularly due to the surgical scarring and the stretched uterine walls which are still under repair post-surgery.
The substantial blood flow to the vagina also contributes to the intense bleeding during the first menstrual cycle after delivery.
Read Also: How to stop periods overnight
The anticoagulants which contribute to the end of the periods are also not produced by the body immediately post-cesarian section. Due to this, the periods last longer the usual and are heavier than before.
Consult a gynecologist immediately If the bleeding does not stop after 10-12 days or is causing low blood pressure and nausea.
What are the Factors affecting the First periods after C-section?
The periods after vaginal or cesarian delivery returns are based on different underlying factors. Some of these are discussed next;
Weight issues: If you are overweight or had other hormonal issues including PCOS and endometriosis, it is likely that your menstrual cycle will be altered even after childbirth
Lack of rest: The uterine walls are scarred during the c-section surgery. The uterus takes time to heal. Depending on the recovery time and the uterine scarring, the vaginal bleeding alters.
Stress levels: Post-partum depression (PPD) and stress after childbirth contribute to irregular cycles after C-section or vaginal delivery.
Hormonal levels: The progesterone and estrogen fall back to the normally low levels and prolactin secretion is increased. These hormonal shifts may affect the time your first periods return after delivery.
Birth controls: The types of birth control affect the normal menstrual cycle. Some women undergo tubal ligation immediately after c-section to prevent pregnancy in the future. This type of permanent birth control method can affect the time of your normal menstrual bleeding. Provera shots can also delay the first periods after c-section for almost a year as it hampers the normal ovulation cycle in females.
Read also: Early pregnancy discharge
How will your first periods after C-Section be?
The periods are usually different after a c-section than before. Some women experience very heavy flow accompanied by severe pain and abdominal cramps. The menstrual flow may also be increased owing to the increased blood flow and uterine scarring during surgery.
During the initial months, the cycle is irregular as it takes time for the hormones to return back to normal.
The periods become easier for some women after delivery as the uterus is stretched out and relaxed. They feel less heavy flow and slight discomfort during the menstruation days
Also, read to know how to get rid of a hanging belly after a C-section.
The first periods after C-section are often confused with lochia as both are accompanied by blood secretion and abdominal cramps. However, lochia is usually pink or brown in color and has a sweet smell. Lochia after delivery also increases the sex drive in females.
If the periods were irregular, light, or heavy before pregnancy, chances are high that they will be the same even after c-section or vaginal delivery.
For any complications, consult a gynecologist.
Do periods affect breast milk?
The periods after c-section affects the breastmilk taste and secretion owing to the hormonal changes.
In lactating women, ovulation occurs as usual but the menstrual bleeding takes time to return due to the prolactin hormone. As soon as the periods return in lactating women after 6-8 months, the taste of the breastmilk is changed. Your baby may also responds differently to nursing when the periods return.
The decrease in the secretion of breast milk is also reported in some females as the progesterone and estrogen levels during periods affect the milk hormone levels.
How to manage first periods after a C-section?
- The doctors recommend using normal sanitary pads during the first post-partum periods.
- However, gynecologists over don’t recommend using tampons after delivery for a few months.
- It is recommended to take as much rest as possible to avoid complication
- Maintain good hygiene to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
The first periods after c-section may take 6-8 weeks to return in non-nursing mothers. The first periods in lactating women occur after 6 months but you can still get pregnant even if not menstruating. This is because ovulation still occurs but the hormone levels are not sufficient to cause bleeding. First post-partum periods can be irregular, heavy, long, and painful. Consult a gynecologist if you experience fever with menstruation, if you have unbearable pain, or if the periods do not return after the given time.
1. Do periods feel different after a C-section?
The periods are often heavier and more painful after c-section due to uterine scarring. If your periods were irregular before pregnancy, they will still be irregular. However, menstrual pain gets improved in some women post-cesarian surgery.
2. When will you get your second periods after a C-section?
The normal menstrual cycle takes time to resume. The periods date and the duration of the menstrual bleeding might vary every month post-delivery.
3. Why you are not getting your periods after the C-section?
If you are breastfeeding, the periods can take up to months to return. This is due to the secretion of the prolactin hormone which reduces progesterone and estrogen levels in women. Although you can still get pregnant, menstrual bleeding will occur after almost 6 months.