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First Postpartum Period

When will your period return after having a baby?


Updated May 16, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Mother holding baby girl (0-3 months) after bath.
Christa Renee/The Image Bank/Getty Images
After you've given birth you will bleed vaginally, whether you had a vaginal birth or a cesarean section. This is the site of your placenta healing and is known as lochia. This bleeding will last 6-8 weeks after you have had a baby and is not considered a return to your normal menstrual cycle.

Once this bleeding has stopped, you may notice that your first period after you have a baby follows fairly shortly, usually within a few weeks. About 70% of women who are not breastfeeding will have their period by 12 weeks postpartum. If you are nursing you will typically not have your normal period for many months, depending on the amount and frequency of nursing and the amount of supplemental feedings, if any. The risk of ovulating in the first six months after having a baby, while you are breastfeeding, is about 1-5%. Some women use a method of lactational amenorrhea (LAM) as a means of birth control.

Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. Gabbe, S, Niebyl, J, Simpson, JL. Fifth Edition.

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