Home > You > Why Are My Periods So Painful After Giving Birth?

You’ve had your baby, and spent nine months adapting to a gazillion changes, then birth happens, you hit the 4th trimester and a whole load of other experiences occur. 

Oh, and suddenly your period is back! 

But for some women, the strangest thing is that our familiar ‘time of the month’ can sometimes feel anything but familiar. And lots of mums report that their period is heavier and more painful than before. 

Sounds like you? Read on to find out why it’s happening and if there’s anything you can do. 

Why are my periods heavier?

If you were taking the pill before you got pregnant, and doing it for a long time, you might have forgotten what it feels like to experience your natural cycle. This is because contraceptive methods can suppress periods and make them lighter and less painful. So, for many who have been on the pill since their late teens or twenties, the discovery of their real cycle can come as a bit of a shock. Plus, changes women experience with their periods post-birth can also be due to a larger uterine cavity, which stretched to grow your baby. As it’s bigger, your uterus now has the capability to produce more endometrium (the mucous you shed during your period). And because there’s more, your cycle can feel heavier and more painful.

Can they naturally improve?

It’s very common for women to experience a few heavy or irregular periods after giving birth. It is incredibly normal for your cycle to fluctuate in length, time and intensity – especially if you’re breastfeeding. As your uterus begins to shrink back in size your cycle should start to feel more regular.

Can I do anything about my heavy periods?

Of course, you can buy over the counter painkillers to ease the issue – we don’t need to tell you that. But if you’re finding your period pain really difficult to deal with, it’s time to speak to your doctor. Your GP can check your estrogen levels and see if there’s an imbalance, test you for anaemia, and they can also prescribe you medication to reduce blood loss or increase iron levels. It’s also possible that they will offer treatments to alter your menstrual cycle.

Can I try anything natural to help with the pain?

Your liver and kidneys are put under a lot of pressure during pregnancy to help your body deal with removing toxins and chemicals. The liver especially, is tasked with detoxifying excess estrogen, which can be responsible for a heavy crampy cycle. So, helping your liver work more efficiently could be another way to help. You can do this by introducing a better variety of foods into your diet, increasing your fibre, staying hydrated and avoiding fatty, sugary and salty foods. If cramping is a real issue, you could be deficient in magnesium, which helps muscles relax and if you experienced restless legs in pregnancy then you will already be acquainted with the benefit of taking this as a supplement. Either way, it’s always a good idea to chat to your doctor first, especially if you’re breastfeeding.

Has gaining weight got anything to do with heavier periods?

You’re in the minority if you didn’t put on weight in pregnancy or when healing/inhaling cake post-partum, so don’t feel down about it. You just grew a human – so you eat those cookies and celebrate yourself. But yes, it’s true that if you put on some extra pounds, you will produce more estrogen in the new fat cells of your body, and this increased level can have a steer on how long and heavy your periods are.

Does everyone experience heavier periods?

Like all things pre and post-partum, it completely differs from person to person. You may even feel that your periods are lighter and shorter.

When will my periods return?

between 6-10 weeks after you give birth. If you’re breastfeeding, then the time it returns can vary as the hormone your body produces (prolactin) can stop you from ovulating and having a period.

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