It’s one of the perks of pregnancy — no periods! At some point, though, your period will come back. But here’s a spoiler alert for you: There is no such thing as a standard postpartum period. 

Just like the newborn phase, periods after pregnancy can be confusing. Many new moms are surprised to find that their period symptoms have changed.   

Your period may be heavier or lighter, your cramps may be stronger or weaker and your cycle may be longer or shorter than it used to be. This sort of irregularity is normal for new moms.1 Over time, these symptoms improve for many women, but it may take up to a year for your period to regulate — especially if you are breastfeeding.1  

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What to Expect When You’re Expecting Your Period

There are a lot of reasons why periods can change after childbirth:
  • The uterus taking time to return to its normal size
  • Hormone levels shifting
  • Breastfeeding affecting hormone levels2

If you’re not breastfeeding, you will likely see your period return six to eight weeks after delivery. If you are breastfeeding, the timing is less clear. It might be six to eight weeks, several months, or a year or more.1 

For those who breastfeed, you likely won’t have a period while you’re breastfeeding — at least not for a few months. In order to produce breast milk, your body produces higher levels of the hormone prolactin, which typically means you won’t ovulate (your ovaries won’t release eggs).3 So, you could continue to be period-free for some time.

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Your New Normal 

Typical periods arrive every 21-35 days, with bleeding lasting two to seven days.3 Especially in the months immediately after giving birth, it is common to have shorter, longer or irregular cycle lengths, so it could take your body some time to get back in this sort of rhythm.1,2 

Your first postpartum period will likely be the most different. From hormonal imbalances that can affect your mood to a heavier-than-usual period,1 some of the symptoms you may experience are: 

  • Intense cramping 
  • Bloating and water-weight gain 
  • Headache, backache and general muscle aches 
  • Fatigue and generally just feeling blah
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Note that if you experience extremely heavy bleeding (more than one pad per hour), pass any large clots, or find yourself in severe pain, contact your doctor immediately. You’re navigating a new normal, true, but these are warning signs that may indicate an infection and should not be ignored.

Help for Your New Period Symptoms

Midol® can help manage the new aches and pains you’re experiencing. You have a new baby to care for, after all — you don’t have time for period symptoms to slow you down. Take our quiz to find the right Midol® product for you and check out our tips for feeling better fast.  

1.   “What to Expect from Your First Period After Pregnancy.” Healthline. Accessed March 24, 2020. 
2.  “First period after having a baby: What to expect.” Medical News Today. Accessed April 8, 2020.
3.  “Do Your Periods Change After Pregnancy?” Cleveland Clinic. Accessed March 24, 2020.