Ask A Women's Health Provider
If the pregnancy was stressful, antibiotics were taken during pregnancy or nursing, or Mom had a positive GBS (group B strep) infection during labor, it is not unusual for her to notice new or intensified PMS (premenstrual symptoms). Common symptoms, which can be mild or severe, are moodiness (depression, anger or irritability), headache, insomnia, bloating, breast tenderness and sugar cravings. These might last for a few days to even weeks and usually improve with onset of menses.
Menses generally resumes within a few months of birth if women are not nursing. However, if a mom is nursing full time, her periods might not return until baby starts solid food or until nursing is completely stopped. Many women are relieved by this lack of menses, but some find it to be anxiety-provoking, as they could be pregnant again and not know it. It is important to use contraception even during nursing, because ovulation occurs before bleeding returns, making it possible to get pregnant.
Your doctor can offer options for PMS relief, from nutritional and supplemental changes to prescription antidepressants, if symptoms are severe. Some women notice worsened PMS with each pregnancy, so it is prudent to get help before getting pregnant again.
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