Different women have different menstrual cycles and as you must have guessed, these differences are informed by factors such as smoking habit, diet, weight, breastfeeding, stress, and the woman’s choice of contraceptive.
Even though you can conceive as soon as three weeks after birth, we usually advise women to wait and give a space of at least 1 year before getting pregnant again.
How Fertile Are You After Having A Baby
According to research, when you get pregnant again, with only about 6 months between both pregnancies, you are at a higher risk of having a premature birth and generally having negative results for both you and your newborn.
In this article, we will be discussing the various factors that affect your fertility after having a baby, as well as the signs of fertility after having a baby. Read on!
Factors That Affect the Return Of Fertility After Birth
A woman’s fertility can return as soon as one month after birth or as late as 12 months after birth. Of course, there are factors that affect the return of fertility and delay normalcy of menstrual cycle. Here they are:
Breastfeeding is sometimes used by a number of women as a natural birth control. This birth control method is known as lactational amenorrhoea method, also called LAM. Breastfeeding is one of the most common factors that affect the return of fertility after birth.
This is because as you breastfeed, the levels of the hormones responsible for fertility and reproduction reduces, thereby making you less likely to conceive. The higher the frequency of breastfeeding, the lower the levels of hormones get.
Women who opt for exclusive breastfeeding are more unlikely to get pregnant as their hormone levels are very low during the period of breastfeeding.
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Breastfeeding can affect the return of your fertility as it can cause a delay in your menstrual cycle returning to normal for about 5months or even more. After this period, you are likely to begin to see your regular menstrual period.
There is no actual telling when exactly a woman will start seeing her regular period after birth since every woman has different levels of hormones and this greatly determines when a woman will see her first period after birth.
Some women may not get their period until about 10months after birth while others might see theirs within 4 to 6 weeks after birth. For the first few months after your period resumes, they are likely to more irregular and heavier than your normal flow.
Postpartum bleeding is usually a heavier flow than your regular menstrual period and a brighter shade of red. Postpartum blood flow becomes less heavy anytime from after the first week. It also turns into a paler shade of red and as the days go by, a brownish shade of red and finally, a yellowish-white discharge, just before it stops.
Note that as much as you are expecting a heavier flow of blood than your normal period, if it becomes too heavy, needing you to change your sanitary pad in less than 4 hours, you should get it checked.
Although the heavy blood flow is very likely to reduce to a lighter flow after one week, you may continue experiencing the light flow for up to six weeks after birth. If this is the case for you, it is not abnormal and should not cause you to worry.
To alleviate any fear or worry that might have arisen, it would be wise to see your doctor for professional advice. You should observe a strong but inoffensive odor coming from the blood discharge. This is normal too.
Ensure not to use tampons after birth i.e. during postpartum period. Instead, use sanitary pads. This is simply because tampons inhibit blood flow and the blood stores instead of flowing out freely. This can breed bacteria and at the long run, cause infections for you.
Bacteria grows very quickly and for this reason, it is important that you clean up and change your sanitary pad once every 3 to 4 hours.
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Signs Of Return Of Fertility After Birth
Close observation is important in order to actually identify the signs of return of your fertility. Here are some signs to look out for concerning the return of your fertility:
One sure sign that your fertility is returning is that you have a heightened sex drive. This is because after the period of breastfeeding, your hormone levels (libido) increases.
There are different stages of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Going through your menstrual cycle, your cervical mucus changes at different stages. After your regular menstrual period, you do not get any mucus. You are literally dry at this point and this typically means that you are at your most infertile period.
When you begin to see sticky cervical mucus, this is still an infertile period. Wet cervical mucus indicates only a degree of fertility i.e. you are only quite fertile at this point. When your cervical mucus changes to egg-white- like discharge, you are at your most fertile period.
This egg-white-like mucus is considered to be the fertile mucus. This is different from the semen you discharge after sex.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Soon After Birth Can You Get Pregnant While Breastfeeding?
In answer to this question, as soon as three weeks after birth, it is possible for you conceive even while breastfeeding. The frequency of breastfeeding is what determines how likely you are to get pregnant while breastfeeding. If you decide on exclusive breastfeeding, your chances of getting pregnant are very slim.
The fewer the times you breastfeed your baby and the longer the intervals between feeds, the less prolactin is released and the higher your chances of ovulating and getting pregnant while breastfeeding.
However, for some women, even after reducing the amount of times they breastfeed their baby, they still do not ovulate until after they have stopped breastfeeding completely.
As a note of reminder, although breastfeeding is considered to be a natural birth control method, it does not always work and cannot be relied on if you are trying not to get pregnant.
Also bear in mind that you do not need to be have your period before you get pregnant. Some women get pregnant even before seeing their first regular period after birth.
Although you are fertile any moment from three weeks after birth, you should avoid getting pregnant immediately, until after 10 to 12 months. Use contraceptives to ensure that you do not get pregnant as breastfeeding cannot be totally relied on.