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When will my periods start again after pregnancy?

If you bottle feed your baby, or combine bottle feeding with breastfeeding, your first period could start as soon as five to six weeks after you give birth.

If you fully breastfeed and do not combine bottle feeding with breastfeeding, it is possible that your periods may not start again until you stop breastfeeding. This is your body's way of preventing additional pregnancies while you have a small baby.


When you start to breastfeed less, your periods will usually start to return. As your baby starts feeding less often, around three feeds a day, you may start "spotting". Spotting is a light and irregular period that usually appears as spots of blood.

Blood clots

Many women experience blood clots in their periods after giving birth. This is not usually a cause for alarm and may occur as a result of your body healing inside. However, if you have had blood clots in your period for a week or have a much heavier blood loss than you've had before, you should speak to your midwife, health visitor or GP.

If your period does return while you are breastfeeding, it may be irregular. It is not unusual for a woman's menstrual cycle to go quicker or slower than normal while she is breastfeeding. Sometimes a woman who is breastfeeding will skip periods altogether, or have months in between periods.


You may become able to get pregnant (fertile) again soon after pregnancy. After pregnancy, it is important to remember that you can still be fertile even though your periods have not yet returned. This is because a woman releases an egg (ovulates) about two weeks before she has her period.

This means you may become fertile again before you realise it. If you do not want to become pregnant again, it is essential that you use contraception when you have sex, whether your periods have returned or not. Speak to your GP, health visitor or midwife for advice.

Find out about options for contraception after birth.

After having a baby, your periods may be either heavier or lighter than before. If your periods become irregular, or you are not fully breastfeeding and your periods have not returned after a few months, you should speak to your GP or health visitor for advice.

This advice also applies to women who have had a stillbirth.

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 24/03/2015

Next review due: 28/02/2018