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Retour de couche : tout savoir sur le retour des règles

Diaper return: everything you need to know about the return of periods

The return of diaper corresponds to the return of menstruation after childbirth. Often associated with the return of fertility – your menstrual cycle has resumed and you can become pregnant again – it can be questioning and is associated with different beliefs and false beliefs. What does diaper return mean? How does breastfeeding tend to be affected? Are we fertile from the first time we return to childbirth? We talk about it in this article.

What is diaper return?

If the expression “return of diaper” is often associated with a surprise pregnancy (“she had a return of diaper”), the return of diaper actually corresponds to the return of menstruation after childbirth . It is to be differentiated from lochia, these postpartum vaginal bleeding which lasts between two and four weeks after childbirth.

After fertilization of the egg and implantation, the menstrual cycle stops. Ovulation stops under the influence of hormones and the pregnant person no longer has her period (except in very rare exceptions, notably in cases of denial of pregnancy). After birth, the body gradually gets back into working order and, after a while, the periods return: the menstrual cycle has resumed and the new mother is (very) fertile again . Returning to childbirth is thus associated with very high fertility.

When does diaper return occur?

The return of diaper generally occurs between 6 to 8 weeks after giving birth if you are not breastfeeding. However, there is no reason to worry if this duration turns out to be longer: it can occur up to 3 months after giving birth without it being abnormal. In the case of breastfeeding, the return of diapers takes place a little later, before or after stopping breastfeeding, but it is exceptional for it to occur after 5 months.

The role of breastfeeding

The milk production necessary during breastfeeding is directed by prolactin, a hormone which tends both to stimulate the production of milk by the mammary glands and to prevent ovulation, preventing the young mother from becoming pregnant again directly after breastfeeding. 'childbirth. Breastfeeding tends to increase the production of the hormone prolactin and thus inhibit ovulation, thereby delaying the return of periods after childbirth.

This is why, generally, the return of diaper can occur only several months after giving birth if you are breastfeeding your child.

🚩Breastfeeding and prolactin production should not, however, be considered as a contraceptive solution. If you do not want to become pregnant, consider restarting birth control before resuming sexual activity, even if you are breastfeeding.

What are the signs of returning from diapers?

As is often the case when we talk about the menstrual cycle, periods and premenstrual syndrome, the signs of the onset close to the return of labor vary enormously depending on the menstruating person. However, there are certain signs that may indicate that the return of diapers is imminent: you may notice, they closely resemble the classic signs of PMS . Here is a list:

  • Abdominal and back pain: Abdominal cramps similar to those of periods are often a sign of returning to diapers. You will easily recognize them if you were sensitive to painful periods before your pregnancy. You may also have lower back pain .
  • Breast tenderness: The chest may become painful, as if swollen. This symptom will definitely be a little difficult to spot if you are breastfeeding.
  • Migraines or headaches: Some menstruators report headaches or migraines before returning from bed.
  • Changes in cervical mucus: The texture or color of cervical mucus changes with the onset of childbirth. It may become thicker or darker (pinkish, brownish or blackish, tinged with blood that begins to drain very slowly).
  • Irritability or mood swings: Certain hormonal changes can cause mood swings. The imminent return of childbirth is no exception!
  • Fatigue: Fatigue may increase due to hormonal fluctuations and the onset of sudden fatigue may accompany your return from bed.
  • Water retention: Problems related to water retention, such as leg pain , can occur as you approach your return from diaper time.
  • Transit problem, bloating: A disturbed transit can be one of the symptoms of an imminent return of labor .
  • Change in appetite: Food cravings, food cravings… No, you are not pregnant again! It's just your diaper loss that's showing up!
  • Return of libido: The libido is strongly affected by hormonal variations. This is why, as you approach your return to childbirth, you may experience a return of your libido, even though it has decreased postpartum.

Signs similar to your pre-pregnancy PMS? With the hormonal upheavals of pregnancy and changes to your body, it's entirely possible that your pre-pregnancy PMS symptoms will evolve or change completely. Some menstruators report that their abdominal cramps have diminished after pregnancy, while others report that they have gotten worse.

When to worry about a lack of diaper return?

The absence of postpartum periods is possible and normal beyond the 6-8 weeks generally observed in young mothers. However, it will be necessary to worry and consult your healthcare professional about the absence of your period if:

  1. you experience a total absence of return of diapers more than 3 months after giving birth (or more than 3 months after complete weaning if you are breastfeeding);
  2. AND you have a negative pregnancy test

The first period after childbirth

The first periods that return after childbirth are often longer and heavier than those you had previously. You may also notice blood clots -- known to menstruators with particularly heavy periods .

The first two cycles following childbirth are often disrupted. The influx of hormones in the body generally explains these disturbances. Returning to a regular cycle may take a little time. However, do not hesitate to talk about it with your healthcare provider.

How long does the return period last?

Just like the periods you have experienced throughout your life as a menstruator, the period when you return to your period generally lasts between 3 and 7 days.

What hygienic protections should I use?

We mentioned it: periods often return just a few weeks after childbirth, especially if you are not breastfeeding... but your vagina may still be weakened following childbirth. This is why it may be better for you to choose external menstrual protection, such as menstrual panties or menstrual pads, rather than tampons or cups. It's up to you to do so based on your feelings and the recommendations of your healthcare professional, if applicable.

My periods after giving birth have different symptoms. Is this normal?

After giving birth, the menstrual cycle, PMS and periods may change. Your cycle length may become shorter or longer , your PMS may change in symptoms, and your periods may change. This is not abnormal. Some young mothers say they suffer less from their periods after pregnancy, while others may develop postpartum endometriosis. There is no standard on this subject and it is impossible to know exactly what the profile of your postpartum menstrual cycle will be.

When to worry about your diaper return period?

There are two main reasons to be concerned about your diaper return:

  1. If your periods do not return more than 3 months after giving birth (or more than 3 months after complete weaning if you are breastfeeding) even though you are not pregnant (take a pregnancy test);
  2. If your menstrual cycle does not stabilize during the 3 cycles following the return of the diaper: it is generally estimated that it takes 3 cycles, or approximately 3 months, for the menstrual cycle to recover. If your cycle is very irregular and/or there are symptoms that are particularly ruining your life (pain, mood swings, etc.), do not hesitate to consult a doctor about this. The postpartum period is a tough time mentally and physically, and it's entirely possible that your body will take a hit–as will your menstrual cycle. You have the right to ask for help.

Diaper return and contraception

Contrary to what one might believe, the absence of the first period after childbirth does not mean that there is no ovulation. If you are not breastfeeding, ovulation can occur between the 15th and 20th day after birth. When breastfeeding, it is not impossible for ovulation to occur.

Hormones are agitated due to pregnancy and childbirth still approaching and it is not uncommon for young mothers to be particularly fertile at this time. This is why it is essential to think about your contraception quickly after giving birth, especially if you resume sexual activity and do not wish to become pregnant again.

Also read: How do I calculate my ovulation days? >

When to resume contraception?

If you have sexual relations and if you do not wish to be pregnant again, it is therefore necessary to resume contraception, - before the potential resumption of ovulation, i.e. 15 days after your delivery. Whether you are breastfeeding or not.

If you are breastfeeding, please note that some methods of contraception are compatible with breastfeeding. This is the case for the copper IUD, but also for various pills such as the estrogen-free microprogestogen pill. When you stop breastfeeding, it is possible to choose another estrogen-progestin pill.

Is it possible to get pregnant before giving birth?

Yes. Absence of periods following childbirth does not mean absence of ovulation. As the postpartum period is often associated with abdominal pain and bloody vaginal discharge, ovulation may take place in different conditions than usual... but that doesn't stop you from being fertile! You can completely get pregnant very quickly after giving birth, even if you are breastfeeding!

Also read: Symptoms of ovulation >

Beware of the myths around returning from diapers

Several myths and beliefs are associated with returning from diapers. Debunking operation to allow you to sort out fact from fiction!

Breastfeeding is a reliable contraceptive method.

As we have mentioned, the hormone produced by your body during breastfeeding, prolactin, actually has the role of blocking ovulation. Except that, as you probably know, hormones are not perfect and can have limits! Breastfeeding is therefore in no way a guarantee of not becoming pregnant and, if you have sexual relations, you will need to adopt a reliable additional method of contraception to avoid a short pregnancy!

If relapse occurs, breastfeeding should be stopped.

If breastfeeding can slow down the occurrence of the return of labor, in particular due to the presence of prolactin in the body which blocks ovulation, there is no scientific reason to stop breastfeeding when you have your first period after childbirth. Breast milk is, despite popular belief, in no way altered by the return of diapers and menstruation.

The return of diaper affects the quality of breast milk.

Although there is an urban legend that menstruation causes milk to go bad (even menstruating people cook! 😵‍💫), returning from menstruation and menstruation have no effect on milk production. breast milk and its quality. You can continue breastfeeding as long as you have milk, as long as you want, as long as your baby wants.

Returning from diapers is always painful and uncomfortable.

The return of the diaper corresponds to the return of the period... However, the period is, for many people who are menstruating, a special time to experience. They can actually be painful and uncomfortable, both physically and mentally. This being said: on the one hand, some menstruating people experience their periods well and on the other hand, the symptoms linked to periods and PMS can evolve after pregnancy. It is therefore possible that your periods will be less unpleasant after pregnancy.

Coming back into labor means that fertility has completely returned.

The return of the diaper means that the menstrual cycle is indeed in working order again: you ovulate, you expel in the form of periods. However: on the one hand, you can be fertile BEFORE you return to confinement and on the other hand, it is possible that your menstrual cycle remains chaotic in the first months following your return to confinement. (Your ovulation will not necessarily be as well regulated as it might have been before, for example.)

Breastfeeding always prevents the diaper from returning.

Although breastfeeding generally delays the return of diapers, it does not necessarily prevent it. Some women will have a return to labor despite breastfeeding in the few weeks following childbirth while others will have to wait until breastfeeding has completely stopped to experience a return to labor... This is very variable and can change depending on the situation. 'one pregnancy to another.

It is abnormal not to have a return of labor several months after giving birth.

The return of diapers usually occurs within 6 to 8 weeks of giving birth, or, if you are breastfeeding, within 6 to 8 weeks of stopping breastfeeding altogether. These durations and figures remain averages taken from testimonies, studies and observation, it may vary from one person to another. However, in the absence of a return of labor exceeding these durations, it will be interesting first of all to take a pregnancy test then, if it is negative, to speak about it with your healthcare professional. Several pathological and/or psychological reasons can be the cause of a failure to return to diapers.

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