Written by: Phindile Le Bris Sithole-Spong
Giving birth has many unexpected twists and turns. Some known and some unknown. One of the biggest surprises for me after giving birth was how much my menstrual cycle changed. For starters I did not get my period for several months after giving birth. When I spoke to my doctor about it. He told me that it was probably because I was breastfeeding. The change is due to a hormone called prolactin, that you need to produce breast milk but which also stops you from ovulating and therefore a period. It was only two months after I stopped breastfeeding that my period come back. When it did come back however, I was surprised by how much my actual period had changed.
The second noticeable change in my menstrual cycle was how much more painful my ovulation cycle was. As someone who has never really felt or even noticed when I was ovulating. This new symptom was both unexpected and a little surprising. If you are someone who is used to ovulation cramps, then you must know that it is a welcome relief to get that note from your body that of where you are in your mensural cycle. It is also a good reminder to take the pill (if you are on one) or use other contraceptive methods if you are not wanting to fall pregnant. Whilst the cramps are uncomfortable. They are not unbearable and I can usually treat them with a mild painkillers.
Lastly my period pain changed. Before I tell you how I must point out that before I fell pregnant I had the worst period pains. Period pains that got so bad sometimes that I was physically ill. I would throw up and could not do anything except lie in bed for a few days until my period was done. However, when my period returned post baby and breastfeeding. The pain had lessened. Whilst my flow is still on the heavy side, the pain of my period has declined considerably. After doing some research and talking to some doctors I learnt that this is a well known and common side effect. However, I was sad to find out that because I was diagnosed with endometriosis before birth. My doctors think that the there us a high chance the painful periods will come back.
For now however I am enjoying the lessened pain and hoping that by some miracle my periods stay this way. How did your periods change after giving birth?