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The return of diapers is the resumption of cycles and the return of the first period some time after delivery. When does it occur? Is it delayed in case of breastfeeding? Our specialists answer these questions.
The return of diapers, what is it?
- When your pregnancy starts, your menstrual cycle has stopped and your periods have stopped temporarily. After giving birth, your body starts again: your cycles will resume and your rules come back: it is the return of diapers.
When does it occur?
- If you do not breastfeed your baby, the return of diapers takes place between 4 and 8 weeks after delivery, which varies from one woman to another depending on the regularity of pre-pregnancy cycles. This delay allows the uterus to heal and retract, as well as your body to resynchronize: if you do not breastfeed, the fall of prolactin (hormone that promotes the rise of milk and maintenance of lactation ) will allow the progressive recovery of gonadotropin secretions, hormones from the thyroid gland, and the ovarian cycle will resume.
- Be careful not to confuse the return of diapers with lochia, brownish and rather odorous losses that take place just after birth and can last several days, even weeks, sometimes even until your return to your period. These blood losses are composed of wastes from the uterine lining and vessels that fed the placenta during pregnancy.
And in case of breastfeeding?
- If you breastfeed your baby exclusively or not, the prolactin secreted by the pituitary will, in principle, block ovulation and return of diapers until the end of breastfeeding. In theory, you have a good chance of being quiet for a while, especially in case of exclusive breastfeeding. In theory only because your body is likely to play tricks: it is estimated that one breastfeeding mom in ten will return diapers before weaning of her baby, due to ovulation anticipated. This is why breastfeeding, however exclusive, should not be considered as a means of contraception. If it is rare, the risk of pregnancy is very real.
I have enough blood loss two weeks after giving birth, is it already the return of diapers?
- Again, this is not your rules, but what doctors sometimes call the "small diaper return" or "false return of diapers". These more abundant, bright-colored bleeds are a sign that your uterus heals, but may go unnoticed, especially if lochias are still strongly present.
How long does the return of diapers last?
- Lochia, little diaper, diapers ... you can not see the end of these bleeds anymore. Rest assured, after five or six days of particularly heavy menstruation, it will be over. Until the next month ...
Is pregnancy possible before my diaper return?
- It is rare, certainly, but not excluded! After pregnancy, your body needs time to restart your cycles, but ovulation may occur before your period comes back. It is for this reason, if you are not breastfeeding, that at the exit of the maternity hospital the doctor will probably prescribe you a estroprogestative pill to take three weeks after your delivery or when the return of diapers, once your cycle left .
- If you wish to resume contraception as soon as possible, you may be prescribed a microprogestative pill without estrogen, which will have fewer risks of venous complications than a pill for estrogen / progestogen.
If I had a cesarean section or twins, will my diaper return be more painful?
- Do not worry, if you have a caesarean or multiple pregnancy, it will not be more painful or longer than for another mother. As for its occurrence, it will also occur between four and eight weeks after birth.
If I'm breastfeeding, when should I take a contraceptive?
- As breastfeeding does not guarantee an absence of ovulation, it is strongly recommended to take a contraception if you want to avoid a "surprise baby". On leaving the maternity ward, your doctor will prescribe a microprogestative pill, most often Cerazette. Without estrogen, it is safe for your baby because it does not pass into the milk. Only drawback: to be effective, it must be taken at very regular hours. For the IUD, whether you are breastfeeding or not, it is best to wait two or three months until your uterus returns to its normal size and firmness. Put too soon after birth, he might be expelled.
For my diaper return, which protections to choose?
- Tampons or sanitary napkins, it's up to you! There is no medical contraindication to use tampons, even in case of episiotomy. When the diaper returns, your scar will have plenty of time to heal. Only advice: do not forget that these "first rules" are likely to be abundant. Be careful to avoid disappointments ...
After my pregnancy, will my period be different?
- It's entirely possible. A pregnancy sometimes sets the "hormonal" counters to zero: a woman who had previously painful periods may no longer feel pain and vice versa, ditto for abundance. But be reassured, in general it is rather improving, especially for pains. Indeed, in a woman who has not had a child, menstruation pain is mainly caused by contractions of the uterus on the uterine isthmus (a kind of narrowing between the uterus and cervix) that allows the flow of blood. In a woman who has already given birth, the isthmus is no longer so tonic and will in principle open more easily under the pressure of uterine contractions during menstruation. Good news, no?
I still have not got my diapers back, when to consult?
- Nothing alarming, but if your period has not returned three months after giving birth, when you are not breastfeeding and you are sure you are not pregnant again, make an appointment with your gynecologist so that he makes sure everything is fine.
Testimony: "I did not immediately realize"
"My diaper return took place exactly 28 days after the birth of my daughter, but I did not realize it immediately because I was still bleeding slightly after delivery, but this bleeding was more abundant. When it stopped, a week later, I realized that I had just had my diaper back. "Magalie, Louann's mother, 15 months old.
Stéphanie Letellier, with the collaboration of Dr. Olivier Multon, gynecologist-obstetrician, and Alain Tamborini, gynecologist, author of 800 questions to the gynecologist, ed. Marabout.