Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Update on postpartum visits from Aunt Flo

I know everyone wants to keep up to date with my menstrual cycle, particularly after my last post on The Great Sports Bra Quest of Aught-Eight.

After my frighteningly late period the cycle before last, I then turned in an early month -- instead of my 29-30-day average, I managed only 16. I thought I was having ovulation spotting for the first time in my life -- but then it just kept going for a week, full on. Huh.

So I'm revising what I said when my cycles returned at seven months postpartum. I think all the breastfeeding has been keeping me infertile. My guess is that I've been bleeding but not ovulating, or maybe ovulating but only erratically. Or maybe ovulating but not producing the hormones that would facilitate or sustain a pregnancy.

Either that, or I'm in perimenopause and/or my fertility is now seriously whacked.

So we'll go with the lactation-induced infertility theory.

I found great information about gradually returning fertility from Kathy Dettwyler's site:

"Fertility is not an 'either/or' sort of phenomenon. Post-partum, a woman does not [ovulate] for a while, even if she isn't breastfeeding. If she is breastfeeding frequently enough to keep her prolactin levels above her individual critical threshhold for fertility (and women vary in this threshhold) then her fertility is suppressed.

"The greatest level of suppression is not ovulating, but as your prolactin levels go up, your fertility will gradually return. First you will ovulate, but not have the proper hormone levels for fertilization; then you will ovulate and fertilization may occur, but you still may not have the proper hormone levels for implantation; finally, you may ovulate, be fertilized, and implant, but not have the proper hormone levels for continuing the pregnancy, so you have a very early miscarriage, probably along the lines of minutes or hours after implantation, so you wouldn't know you had been pregnant."

Here's another resource on the subject.

Fortunately, I don't need no stinkin' fertility, so I'll just wait and see what new crazy thing happens this next cycle. I'm on day 28...


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