How soon after giving birth can a woman get pregnant again?

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Are you a mother who recently gave birth and now finds herself wondering when the postpartum period will arrive and the possibility of getting pregnant before it does? You have landed on the right page! This blog has everything you need to know about how soon a woman can get pregnant after giving birth!

How soon after giving birth can a woman get pregnant?

Once the baby has popped out of the tummy, it is possible for a woman to conceive again even before the arrival of the first postpartum period. The arrival of the first postpartum period, however, varies with all women and while it can be as early as four weeks after delivery in some women, it might also be as late as 24 weeks after delivery. The first postpartum period, it should be noted, depends heavily on the breastfeeding (exclusively, partially, or not) pattern of a mother.

So does that mean you can get pregnant even before your first post-delivery period ?

In one word: Yes. A woman can conceive a baby again, even before she has had her first post-delivery period- if their body happens to ovulate before the arrival of the period. However, the mantra does not apply to all women as some may not start ovulating even during their initial period cycle, (sterile periods), let alone conceiving a baby.

Right after giving birth, it is common for couples to not be sure about what would come first- the net period or the egg- and hence, family planning should be taken seriously.

What are the chances of getting pregnant right after giving birth ?

There cannot be a sophisticated percentage or a ratio number to determine the chances of getting pregnant after giving birth. Pregnancy relies on ovulation and ovulation relies on breastfeeding. Hence, while breastfeeding moms may not ovulate for the first three to six months after giving birth, non-breastfeeding moms may ovulate as early as six to 12 weeks after delivery.

As all women are different, determining the first postpartum is nearly impossible. In plain words, unless a woman is using contraception, it is not possible to determine the chances of getting pregnant after giving birth.

This, however, does not mean that you should not have sex after giving birth. Practicing safe sex after giving birth is usually OK. Your healthcare provider would ideally suggest when is the right time to start having sex after delivery (typically four to six weeks after delivery).

Is it possible to get the first postpartum period while breastfeeding ?

Yes, it is possible to get your first postpartum period while you are breastfeeding your newborn but there’s a catch: the arrival of the said period is reliant on the hormonal balance of the mother.

The hormones responsible for signaling the body to produce breast milk are the same hormones that signal the body to stop the production of ovulation-causing hormones. Therefore, theoretically, breastfeeding women should not get periods until they stop feeding the baby exclusively with their own milk. That means that if you are a woman who is alternating breastfeeding with formula milk or are in the transition of introducing your baby to solids along with breast milk, the odds of ovulation and the following period go up.

The first postpartum period of a mother, it should be known, is not a sure sign that you’re ovulating or that your period has permanently returned. Until the hormonal balance is regained, regular periods should not be wished too hopefully for!

Is it possible to get pregnant while breastfeeding ?

It is true that hormones that accelerate the production of milk required for breastfeeding tend to suppress the ovulation-causing hormones. However, in the end, it is hormones we are talking about and they cannot be relied on like a contraception pill.

It is possible to get pregnant not only while breastfeeding. Besides, in a few odd cases, it is possible to get pregnant even after the arrival of the postpartum periods (regular or irregular) and even before the arrival of the first postpartum period! The only way out of a back-to-back pregnancy is to practice protected sex and to sit down with your partner for a serious family planning talk.

How long should you wait for a second baby: When is it OK to get pregnant after giving birth ?

According to the professionals at Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the March of Dimes, “a couple should wait for at least twelve to eighteen months before conceiving a baby again.”

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), on the other hand, suggests to “wait at least six months or more after your last baby’s birth before getting pregnant again.” ACOG also advises cautions against the risk of a quick next pregnancy, i.e., a pregnancy sooner than 18 months after a baby is born. Mothers who conceive another baby without spacing over at least 18 months of giving birth are vulnerable to several complications in the following pregnancy, like a premature baby.

While the actual reason for this is not clear, premature babies, it should be noted, are further vulnerable to multiple diseases like asthma, learning disorders, delayed development, and faulty vision/hearing after birth. Professionals suspect that this abnormally could be caused due to the residual inflammation in the uterus from the previous pregnancy and/or because the body has not been granted enough time to recover or replenish from the previous pregnancy.

How soon after giving birth can a woman get pregnant? Final Thoughts?

All said and done, you may have noticed a lot of clauses and conditions through this blog. The reason for such writing is for the very fact that each woman’s body is different and one cannot determine definite timelines for following pregnancies or periods after delivery. The best step forward would be to speak to your doctor, plan your future baby (if you want any), and to practice safe sex by using condoms or by taking birth control pills (perhaps breastfeeding safe) until you are ready to have a baby again.

Looking for some help with your newborn baby? Do not forget to check out the best Gripe Water for Newborns and Babies and What to Look for in Your Baby’s First Toys!

How soon after giving birth can a woman get pregnant FAQs:

1) What happens if you get pregnant too soon after giving birth ?

Women are typically advised by doctors to wait for at least 12-18 months before getting pregnant again after the previous babies as back to back pregnancies potentially put mothers to several health-affecting risks. Getting pregnant too soon after giving birth may lead to complications in the following baby as the body has not had enough time to recover from the last pregnancy.

2) Is it normal for vaginal discharge to smell funny after giving birth ?

It is absolutely normal if your vaginal discharge is accompanied by a strong smell after giving birth. However, if the smell is rather foul and you happen to notice yourself getting chills, tenderness in the womb, or an accelerated pulse, your body may be signaling an infection and you should get yourself checked at the earliest.

3) Is it necessary to wait for 6 weeks after giving birth to have sex ?

Post-delivery, couples are generally recommended to wait for at least six weeks before they start having sex again. This waiting can be reasoned with the vulnerability of a woman's body to vaginal infections right after giving birth. A new mother would also naturally feel generally tired from taking care of the baby which only makes the 6-week number practical. The best time to get back to sex after delivery should also be discussed with your doctor.
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