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"Can childbirth throw one's period off?"
Ever since giving birth to my son (my first child, at age 28) my periods have been somewhat irregular. It's nothing severe, but I used to be very regular. Is it possible that pregnancy or labor has in some way 'thrown off' my menstruation?
The answer to this question depends on two important factors, how long it has been since you gave birth, and if you are breast feeding. These two factors are important in determining when your periods will return. I'll explain below. After birth, the female body begins to make the hormone prolactin which is responsible for milk production in the breasts. Prolactin, has the ability to inhibit the hormones that normally regulate the your periods. Thus, it is very common for your first period to be delayed after birth. If you are breast feeding, prolactin will stick around to help keep making milk for your baby which can further delay your periods from returning. After several months, your periods may return, but they may be sporadic until you are done breast feeding. A second possibility is Sheehan's syndrome. In this syndrome, the gland that normally produces the period regulating hormones is destroyed during labor. This is rare, and almost always occurs with a catastrophic birth with massive blood loss. I suggest that you schedule your post-partum follow up appointment with your OB / GYN if you have not already. He or she can discuss your period frequency with respect to your particular situation. Good luck.
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