We’ve talked about the effect pregnancy has on hip expansion in a previous blog post. Another topic which comes up as well is noticing heavier periods after pregnancy. Despite the fact that the uterus shrinks again after pregnancy, it never gets back to the small size it was before your pregnancy and delivery. Consequently, there is more lining than there was before pregnancy and therefore more bleeding can be expected.
Once you’ve been pregnant, there will be more lining in your uterus than there was before pregnancy. This can increase bleeding during a period. Exceptions include women who take a hormonal contraceptive either by mouth or intrauterine device (IUD). Breast-feeding is another way to cause the lining and the muscle of your uterus to shrink back to the size they were before you got pregnant. Breastfeeding will significantly decrease the size of your uterus and the amount of lining, which will decrease your bleeding during periods.
Once you have had a child, you might notice your menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) gets worse. Prostaglandins as well as other hormones create PMS. The more uterine muscle and lining you have. the more cramps you are likely to have, the more PMS you will have, and the more endometriosis you may have. Hormone contraception, either by mouth or IUD, and breast-feeding will mitigate the activation of your hormone influence.
The muscle of your uterus and the lining of your uterus will probably increase with each pregnancy. Each pregnancy also increases the likelihood of having adenomyosis which occurs when the lining of the uterus grows into the muscle of the uterus. There’s also the likelihood of myomas (fibroids) with each pregnancy. These are benign, smooth muscle tumors, and they will cause more bleeding and pain.
All of these factors, including the increasing size of your uterus, the increasing size of the uterine lining, and the possibility of adenomyosis increase your likelihood of having more bleeding and more cramping after pregnancy.
The good news is that with menopause, the hormones which cause these problems will decrease or stop, and many of the changes will be undone.