The return of your menstrual cycle after birth isn't just back to business as usual.
As if new mamas don't have a steep enough learning curve already, one event takes most of us off-guard: that first postpartum period. After what was probably a hiatus of a year or longer, the return of your menstrual cycle isn't just back to business as usual. In most cases, the first periods after having a baby can be initially less predictable and stronger than when Aunt Flo used to come calling.
The good news? By preparing yourself for what is to come, the first postpartum period doesn't have to be so intimidating—especially if you also stock your drawer with THINX underwear, made specifically to absorb menstrual flow. Every pair of THINX undies is created with their signature 4-layer technology that is super-absorbent, moisture-wicking, odor-fighting and leak-resistant. Translation? You never have to worry about leaks or stains, even when your period is a surprise.
Here's the DL on those first postpartum periods:
1. When your period will return varies from woman to woman
The biggest factor that affects your first period after having a baby is whether or not you are breastfeeding. "If a woman is not breastfeeding, then the first menses usually returns at six weeks postpartum to three months postpartum," says Elizabeth Sauter, MD, Fellow of The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Among exclusively breastfeeding mamas, Sauter says it can be harder to predict when menstruation will return in full force: It's rare for your period to return until at least six months postpartum (at which point you've probably introduced some solid food to the baby's diet), but it may not return at all until you are done breastfeeding a year or more postpartum.
Before you get back to it, whenever that is, it can help to add some new undies from THINX, to your dresser drawer. We especially love the chic and practical Hi-Waist undies for postpartum—or any—bodies.
2. Your first postpartum period will probably be heavier than before
Whenever your period does return after having a baby, it will likely be in full force as it's not only the shedding of your uterine lining, but also the shedding of any clots or blood from the delivery process. (And you thought you got past that during the initial round of postpartum bleeding!)
While this can be a less-than-pleasant experience, Sauter says that many women eventually enjoy less painful and intense periods as they get farther away from their baby's birth.
If you experience very heavy bleeding—filling a pad or period underwear in an hour or two, having multiple clots or one clot that is the size of a golf ball or larger—seek emergency medical care immediately. Also look out for fevers, chills, lightheadedness, foul-smelling blood or discharge, belly pain, rapid heart rate or breathing rate or any other worrying signs, and seek medical care right away if you have them.
Because you are probably already getting up enough during the night, waking up to change a pad probably isn't high on your list of things you want to do. We love (like, love) that the most absorbent THINX undies can hold up to two tampons' worth of blood.
3. Your menstrual cycle may not be as easy to track
Again, whether or not you are exclusively breastfeeding has an impact on how reliable your period will likely be for the first year or so. As Sauter explains, mothers who had regular periods before pregnancy and do no breastfeed often fall back into that rhythm within a few months of the baby's arrival.
For breastfeeding mamas, even once your period returns after you give birth, it may not come back in exactly 28 days (or whatever frequency you were used to). However, for some women, this is a silver lining.
"Many mothers who had irregular menses prepregnancy in fact start more regular menses postpartum," says Sauter, adding the disclaimer this isn't always the case, especially for women with polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Like everything motherhood, soon enough you will be right in the normal routine of life with a period again—only now, with period-proof underwear by THINX, you'll find it's easier than ever to take on your period with confidence.
This article was sponsored by THINX. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.