During breastfeeding, usually, menstruation is absent. Breastfeeding helps to maintain milk secretion and inhibits menstruation during this period. It is also called amenorrhea specific to the lactation period. But there are situations when menstruation occurs earlier. Find out if the milk is affected and if you are still protected from an unwanted pregnancy!
Why does menstruation occur during breastfeeding?
Menstruation recurrence after birth varies from one woman to another. Some may take longer, others may take less. This is the sign that the body is recovering and is slowly starting to return to shape before pregnancy.
The appearance of menstruation during breastfeeding is influenced by several factors. It seems that the absence of constant stimulation of the mother's breasts (especially at night) - meaning frequent breastfeeding - can lead to ovulation and later menstruation.
Early onset of breastfeeding may also be due to hormonal changes after birth and how they affect the body of each mother.
Other factors that influence the early onset of menstruation after birth are:
• beginning the diversification of food;
• a greater number of hours of sleep of the child during the night;
• introduction of teas and syrups for calming colic;
• prolonged use of pacifier or pacifier.
In some women this can recur after only 11 weeks, while in others it may take up to 24 months to resettle.
There are other factors that can induce menstruation in breastfeeding women:
• activity level;
• diseases the mother suffers from (for example, thyroid problems);
• obesity, etc.
Vaginal bleeding immediately after birth is not menstruation!
Many mothers can experience vaginal bleeding immediately after birth. Even those born through Caesarean section can go through this experience. However, postpartum bleeding is not considered menstruation, but an immediate birth effect.
If this lasts for many days and is abundant, then you must return to the doctor for further investigations.
Do you need to stop breastfeeding your child with the onset of menstruation?
As long as you have milk, do it without any problem! It is even recommended to continue and not stop breast feeding of the child. It is possible that lactation may decrease quantitatively and this may make you unable to feed your baby so often. But this decrease is maintained only during the menstrual days, the secretion returning to normal.
Contrary to some people's opinions, menstruation does not affect breast milk. It does not change its taste nor lose its nutritional value during this period.
Are you still protected from pregnancy when menstruation occurs during breastfeeding?
The breastfeeding period has long been considered a natural contraceptive (lactation amenorrhea) method. But whether or not menstruation recurs, you are not fully protected from pregnancy when you have unprotected and breastfeeding.
The absence of menstruation does not mean that you cannot ovulate (ovulation is the period of the month when you can conceive a baby). But if menstruation reappears, it means that you have already had the first ovulation and therefore the first chance of becoming pregnant (ovulation or fertile period occurs before the menstruation begins).
The chances of becoming pregnant during breastfeeding are 1-2% in the first 6 months of breastfeeding. After these 6 months, the chances increase more and more.
But if menstruation recurs, you need to use contraception to protect you from an unwanted pregnancy, even if you are breastfeeding.
The recommended breastfeeding contraceptive methods include:
• implants, injections and pills containing only progestin;
• intrauterine devices;
• tying the tubes (if you do not want to have other children).
It is advisable to consult a doctor to find out which is the most appropriate and safe method of contraception during breastfeeding.