Photo of a mother smiling at her young baby - Libresse

When should you first use a tampon after having a baby?

After giving birth you need to wait at least six weeks before using a tampon, or you could be at risk of infection.

The initial bleeding after birth is called lochia, and you should use maternity pads for this. Wait until you have had your postnatal check at around six weeks, before using tampons, and only do so if you get the okay from your health provider.

When will you have your first period after childbirth?

As for when your periods will return after giving birth, this can vary from woman to woman, depending on whether you breast or bottle feed. It takes longer if you breastfeed due to the milk-producing hormones that keep your levels of progesterone and oestrogen low – and these are responsible for ovulation and menstruation. Once your period does return it can take ages for it to get into a regular cycle. Again, this takes longer if you breastfeed.

How should you use tampons when your periods return to normal?

When your periods return to normality it’s natural to want to return to using tampons if that’s what you’re used to. Post-childbirth you may find you need a larger tampon if you have given birth vaginally. This is because your vaginal canal will be looser, at least for a few months, and you may struggle to keep a tampon firmly inside. If this is the case try the next size up from your usual one. Keep trying until you find the size and absorbency that works best for you. Remember, ideally you should be changing your tampon roughly every four hours.

If you normally use the highest absorbency and find these won’t stay in, you may need to wait until your pelvic floor has strengthened sufficiently to start using tampons again. Ask your doctor about pelvic floor exercises to tighten up your vaginal muscles.

You might find you need some extra protection for a while when you start wearing tampons after giving birth, so wear a sanitary pad or you may prefer to opt for the comfort of period pants, which look and feel like your usual underwear, but are absorbent and reusable, and offer protection for up to 12 hours.

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