Medical Q&As

Breastfeeding - no period yet?

I gave birth to my fourth child 13 weeks ago. I breastfed for 8 weeks. I am a little concerned about the absence of my period. Should I be?

Prolactin is the hormone that is centrally involved in the production of breast milk and this hormone suppresses the onset of the periods. It also has some limited contraceptive effect because it results in the suppression of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), which is the hormone responsible for the release of the egg from the ovary. Once breastfeeding stops the level of prolactin falls and the level of FSH rises resulting in the possibility of ovulation taking place before the first period after the birth. On the basis of probability it is quite likely that the explanation I have just given accounts for the delay in the onset of your period. I donít think you should worry that you might be suffering a complication related to the babyís birth. However, breastfeeding does not guarantee that you cannot become pregnant. If you were concerned about the possibility that you might be pregnant a pregnancy test would be appropriate. Assuming that the test is negative I would advise that you take contraceptive precautions in advance of your first period post delivery.