How to recognize the return of fertility after the childbirth

The period from the day of labor till the first menstruation is called post labor period. The time of its duration depends on the way of feeding the baby and individual features of the body.

During breastfeeding the level of prolactin rises rapidly (hormone secreted by pituitary gland stimulating the production of breast milk). The high level of prolactin blocks the secreting of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) which stimulates the ovaries. That’s why in most cases infertility is kept while ecologically (fully) breastfeeding.

Ecological (full) Breastfeeding only occurs when:

  • the baby is breast fed only (no bottle feeding, giving of water, or soothers),
  • the number of feedings isn’t below 5-6 a day,
  • the baby is also fed at night,
  • breaks between feedings aren’t longer than 4 hours during the day and 6 hours at night,
  • the total time of feeding the baby isn’t shorter than 100 minutes during a day and night.

During this way of breastfeeding the growth of follicles is blocked for at least 12 weeks since giving the birth. You should start observation around 5-6 weeks after delivery.

While mixed feeding (additional bottle – feeding) or only bottle-feeding your fertility can come back very quickly – even in 5 weeks. In that case you can consider only 3 weeks after delivery as infertile and you should start your observation from the 4th week after the childbirth.

The basic rules of observation after labor:

After the lochial discharge stops occurring (around 3 weeks or more after labor) you should observe for 10-14 days your cervical fluid (if any occurs) so you can set your new Basic Infertile Pattern (BIP). During that time you should refrain from intercourse so as not to let the sperm disrupt your observation.

There are 3 types of Basic Infertile Pattern:

  • Dry model – there isn’t any cervical fluid discharge and dryness is observed.
  • Permanent discharge model – the occurrence of the same discharge with the similar degree of thickness and giving a permanent feeling in vagina (usually wet).
  • Mixed model– the dryness and the permanent thick discharge is present.

After BIP recognition you have to record your vaginal feelings systematically. Each deviation from the set model you have to treat as the beginning of a fertility period. The last day of the occurrence of any cervical fluid or deviation form the set BIP is recognized as the peak of fluid peak. The evening of the 4th day after the fluid peak is the end of the potential fertility period if the temperature shift doesn’t appear. Lack of temperature shift means that ovulation didn’t take place and the fluid symptoms will appear soon. The bleeding may also occur even without the temperature shift, we have to treat this as a potentially fertile period.

If the temperature shift occurs we define the end of fertile period according to used method. The first luteal phase may be very short – even 4-5 days only so in the first cycle after the childbirth the luteal phase can be shorter than 10 days.

While getting up to your baby several times a night the temperature measurement is reliable when you keep the same time of temperature taking and for 1-2 hours before measuring you don’t get up from bed. You can take the baby to your bed or ask somebody to take care of the baby to keep the rest rule before recording your BBT (you don’t have to sleep).
Observing your cervix is very useful after labor. Occurrence of typical fertility symptoms like – softness, opening and high location along with cervical fluid symptoms is the confirmation of the return to fertility.