Breastfeeding and Menstrual Cycles

on Mar 13, 2013

by Dr. Renee Hanton, MD

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When you breastfeed, it will usually suppress the onset of your menstrual cycles from anywhere from 6 months to 2 years postpartum, depending upon the exclusivity of the breastfeeding and the frequency.

Breastfeeding showers a number of benefits on your child as well as on you. One of the pleasing benefits of breastfeeding that you will experience is a few period-free months! Yes, breastfeeding successfully delays your menstrual cycles and you can breathe freely for a few months postpartum. If you don’t breastfeed, you will have your first periods in no longer than a few weeks postpartum. If you breastfeed, you won’t have to endure it for a few months. This is another reason why you should definitely breastfeed your newborn! Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here

Why does breastfeeding delay menstruation?

The reason why breastfeeding affects menstrual cycle can be explained at the hormonal level. A hormone is responsible for the production of milk in your body. This hormone plays a dual role. While aiding the milk production, it works to suppress the hormones that are responsible for ovulation and subsequent menstruation. The hormone is named prolactin. When you breastfeed, the levels of this hormone go up and thus, you won’t have your period. If you stop breastfeeding, its levels will go down and you will have your first period.

When will I have my first period after delivery if I am breastfeeding?

If you are breastfeeding, you might have your first period postpartum after six months of delivery or even after a good two years. That is the normal time frame. However, it is not necessary that your body will stick to this time frame. There have been numerous cases in which breastfeeding women get their first period much before six months or much after two years. How often you breastfeed and for how long you breastfeed will play a role here. When your baby is old enough to sleep the entire night without the need to breastfeed him and when he starts consuming solid foods, the hormone levels will come down. This is when you will get your first period. Switch to complete weaning and you will have your period.

Preventing pregnancy while breastfeeding

It has been established that breastfeeding and ovulation are linked and that breastfeeding has a major effect on the menstrual cycle in your body. This is why you can use breastfeeding as a contraceptive or a way to avoid pregnancy. Avoiding pregnancy through breastfeeding is known as lactational amenorrhea method. But you should be very careful because it is not guaranteed. You can rely on it until your baby is six months old and if you haven’t gotten your first period until then. Also, the frequency of breastfeeding should be high. You should breastfeed every three hours in the day and at least every six hours at night. Before relying on this method, it is ideal to talk to your doctor.

Irregular cycles

Know that your periods will most likely be irregular for a certain period of time especially if you are still breastfeeding your baby after the onset of your period. It might get difficult to get pregnant while you are breastfeeding because of the hormonal changes as explained above. The chances of getting pregnant will increase once you start weaning your baby and once the frequency of breastfeeding goes down considerably.

You can still get pregnant

Having said that, know that it is not impossible to get pregnant while breastfeeding. If you want to prevent pregnancy, you should be extremely careful. Taking it for granted that you will not get pregnant while you nurse your baby is wrong. Talk to your doctor about the options you can use for birth control, which are safe during breastfeeding.

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Breastfeeding and Menstrual Cycles, 5.0 out of 5 based on 3 ratings

Dr. Renee Hanton is ConceiveEasy's Senior Physician with expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of infertility. Dr. Hanton specializes in the endocrine causes of infertility, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

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    my period came 5 weeks after birth but has delay in the 8 month am i pregnant the delay is a week now

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