what you need to know about your first period after childbirth

9 Things to know about your first period after childbirth

You just had yourself a roughly 9-month reprieve from your monthly visit from Aunt Flo, but now that baby is here you have to worry about your first period after childbirth.

Yay.

Don’t be too scared of your postpartum period; once it comes back you’ll remember what to do. It’s kind of like riding a bike (but with more menstrual blood and discomfort, you know?!)

Your first period after childbirth isn’t quite the same as the regular, consistent period that you were once (possibly) used to and there are a few things you need to consider.

What you need to know about your first period after childbirth

You're awaiting your first period after childbirth, but you may want to read this first and get a little more prepared for what's to come.
  1. “Most” folks get their first period after childbirth at around the 6-8 week postpartum mark. However, this is different for each and every person and things like breastfeeding and stress may change that.
  2. It’s going to be unpredictable. Some folks can mark it in the calendar exactly when they’re going to be getting their period or they have sure-fire signs that it’s about to grace them with its presence. Your body is still in the process of returning organs back to their original place before baby moved them, so things internally are a little out of whack. You may end up with some symptoms that you think are premenstrual but are just normal post-baby body things.
    You may find that your periods are off-track for quite some time and take a while to regulate again. For the first year especially you may experience some periods that are longer than others, fluctuating lengths of your cycle, and periods that are heavier than others.
  3. Your first period after childbirth may take longer to come back if you’re breastfeeding. Your hormone levels continue to fluctuate significantly when you’re breastfeeding. This can have an impact on when your menses might start up again after having baby.
  4. Depending on when you get your first period after childbirth you may not want to jump back into using tampons, especially if you’re closer to the 6-8 week postpartum mark. This is something that you’ll need to base on your comfort level, but it’s also worthwhile having a chat with your midwife or doctor in one of your postpartum visits to get their insight on when tampons are appropriate.

    **If this is your first baby and you wanted to give the Diva Cup a go-round make sure you read about which one is going to be best for your vagina now that you’ve had a baby or if you’re over 30. I highly recommend the Diva Cup but recommend you have a bit of patience learning how to get that sucker in properly. It takes a bit of practice but at the end of it you won’t be afraid of getting all up in yourself-I promise.**
  5. You don’t need to be as prepared for your first period after childbirth as you might think you do! If you’re used to unpredictable periods you probably have gotten into the habit of carrying hygiene products around with you wherever you go. Now that you’re carrying around a BABY and everything that they need you may have gotten out of that routine. Fortunately for you, you’re likely carrying around the ultimate premenstrual pad with you at all times: a diaper! (Unless you’re me and you forgot diapers all the friggin’ time and had to ask random folks with or without babies if they happened to have a spare diaper on them. It worked better than you might think). Seriously, if you’re in a pinch take that tiny little diaper out, remove the tabs, and shove it down your pants. It’s less bulky than you imagine and is way more absorbent than any pad I’ve ever encountered.
  6. Your first period after childbirth may affect your breastmilk! Okay, don’t freak out. It’s usually not a major impact, but you may notice that your baby is acting a bit out of sorts. Your menses can alter the taste of your breastmilk, as well as the quantity you make. These slight changes shouldn’t shift your ability to breastfeed.
  7. Your first period after childbirth may be a little more intense than you’re used to. You may find that your cramping is a little more than before (you have a uterine lining that is still being shed) and you may have some small blood clots that can be a bit alarming. If you feel that it’s too intense and you’re concerned don’t ever hesitate to go to your midwife or doctor as soon as possible.
  8. Lochia is not our first period after childbirth. Lochia is vaginal discharge after you’ve given birth that consists of blood, mucus, and uterine tissue. This is a normal output after a vaginal birth or cesarean birth and can last up to around 10 days with continued spotting up to 6 weeks.
  9. There are some things that you need to watch out for with your first period after childbirth (as per Healthline Parents):
    -soaking through a pad every hour
    -sudden fever
    -bleeding continuously for more than 7 days
    -bleeding that’s accompanied with sudden, severe pain
    -blood clots that are bigger than a softball
    -foul-smelling discharge
    -severe headache
    -trouble breathing
    -pain while urinating
    These symptoms may indicate an infection and require immediate medical attention.

I got my first period after childbirth with my fourth baby in the middle of my Grandmother’s funeral. Thank Goddess I was wearing black and THANK GODDESS I actually had diapers with me that day. That little tidbit of info about the shoving the diaper down the pants thing…ya, that came from experience.

Do you have a funny “first period after childbirth” story?

how to prepare your vagina for childbirth

How to prepare your vagina for birth

You’re nearing that time when your baby might possibly be arriving.

Ya, that entire 6-week stretch when you constantly have people saying ignorant comments to your ginormous belly like “Oh, you STILL haven’t had your baby?”. (No judgement from me on how you respond to this one, by the way.)

You’ve done all the things to prepare for the arrival of this tiny human:

-premade meals and stuck them in the freezer

hired your postpartum doula

-washed the baby clothes

got yourself a lovely wrap (this is the one thing I will highly recommend to all new parents, FYI)

-figured out where baby will sleep

-decided if you’re breastfeeding, formula feeding, or bottle feeding and set up accordingly

-made sweet, yet to the point signs for the front door directing people to “Kindly fuck off. I just had a baby and you shouldn’t be just showing up like this.”

-done vagina yoga

Yep. I said “vagina yoga”.

Let’s face it. Your vagina plays a pretty significant role in this whole childbirth thing and you should probably prepare her for what’s about to come (’cause it ain’t nothing like the cum she clearly already knows!!)

Your house may be ready, the clothes may be ready...but is your vagina ready? Here are some tips from a doula and mom of 4 on how to prepare your vagina for childbirth!

How to prepare your vagina for childbirth

Become acquainted with your bod

Your body is capable of some pretty freakin’ incredible things, namely growing and expelling another human from it. Get to know your anatomy so that you are aware of everything that’s going on throughout your pregnancy and during labour. When the midwife tells you that your cervix looks great you’re going to want to know what they’re talking about (also, having a cervix that “looks great” when you’re in labour is a really good thing.)

Having an understanding of what’s going on and when will give you an opportunity to prepare for what the next phase might be in your labour.

Kegels, kegels, kegels

Unfortunately, between your kiddo living in your pelvis for the last 3 million months of pregnancy and the extreme pressure of childbirth your pelvic floor can become damaged.

Often times, when this pelvic floor is damaged the result can be incontinence, which is actually a lot less fun than it sounds.

Talk to your midwife or doctor about how to properly do a kegel. Building these pelvic muscles during pregnancy can prevent you from embarrassing situations such as peeing when you’re laughing, sneezing, running, coughing, walking, sitting, breathing….you get my drift.

(On that last note, if urinary incontinence is becoming an issue and impacting your daily life make sure to see a pelvic floor physiotherapist. Those peeps know what’s up and can help you immensely.)

Embrace that your vagina will never be the same again

That said, it won’t be all that different. It’s a safe assumption that after a ginormous baby passes through your perfectly sized vagina (yes, I said that to reassure everyone that they have a perfectly sized vagina) that your vagina will resemble a gaping black hole.

Not the case.

Assure your partner(s) that your vagina will go back to normal (or at least pretty darn close to it) and they won’t be throwing a hot dog down a hallway *insert eye roll here*

You will notice a physical difference if you’ve had tearing and/or an episiotomy. The scars will fade considerably, but you may have some tenderness for quite some time. If you’re planning on some sexy time just make sure you’re using lots of lube and going slow (especially in the first while after giving birth.)

**Pro Tip*

Check out your vagina with a mirror. Yep, I’m talking prop up a leg or lay in the bed with a handheld mirror between those divine legs of yours. Check out what you look like before and after (take a photo, if you’re so inclined). Mostly, this is helpful when you’re checking on your stitches so you can make sure that everything is A-ok down there. If it’s not and something is visibly or physically “off”, make sure you get checked out ASAP.

*Yeah, I’m a Pro. I’ve done this 4 times, people. My vagina has tales to tell.

Speak kindly to your vagina

For real. Your vagina is able to do this. Childbirth seems obscene. Like, ‘Are you freakin’ kidding me that’s going to come out of there?’ obscene, but you’re going to be fine.

Our brains listen to the things we tell it. Keep telling your vagina that things will be okay. Visualize your vagina opening up to allow for your baby to come into the world. This is some real hippy-dippy shit, but true story…it’s legit.

Do vagina yoga

Yes. This is the one that everyone’s been waiting for.

Vagina yoga.

Well, vagina yoga isn’t actually a thing-it’s a phrase I made up, but Perineum Massage is most definitely a thing.

Basically, you’re going to be slooooooooooooowly stretching the perineum (the area between your vagina and anus) over time so that the skin is a little more soft and “stretchy”. This can be done on your own or with a partner.

Here’s a little video explaining exactly what you need to do.

How prepared is your vagina for birth?