What Does It Mean If I Have Cramping While Breastfeeding but No Period?

Cramping is never anyone’s best friend. Cramps range from annoying to downright painful. When you have cramping while breastfeeding but no period, it makes you wonder what’s wrong.

Are you pregnant? Are you ovulating? What causes cramping while breastfeeding, and most importantly, should you worry if you have cramps?

There are several reasons why you might have cramps during breastfeeding. It’s a common occurrence in the postpartum period that not enough people discuss. At times, some cramps can feel as painful as labor pains. Let’s look at the reasons why you might have no period while breastfeeding but cramping.

Why Do I Have Cramping While Breastfeeding but No Period?

Most breastfeeding mothers have cramping while breastfeeding at some point. It happens shortly after birth during the postpartum phase when your uterus shrinks back down to the average size. Cramps also can appear at other times while breastfeeding. 

Here are the common reasons why you’ll have cramps during breastfeeding. 

Postpartum Cramping

In the days and weeks after childbirth, cramping is normal and shouldn’t cause any worries, but it’s important to note that it can be intense. Postpartum cramping tends to be worse with your second, third, and fourth child. 

Your uterus is busy shrinking back down to its normal size during your healing process since it drastically expanded during pregnancy. Breastfeeding mothers note that cramping is most evident during and after nursing. That’s because breastfeeding releases oxytocin, the hormone that causes your uterus to shrink. 

These cramps hurt, but they have an essential job. It means your body is busy getting back to its usual self. 

Ovulation

Cramping is one of the signs of ovulation while breastfeeding. While you might not have your period yet, you have to ovulate before your period shows up. That’s why it’s easy to get pregnant while breastfeeding; if you don’t know that you’re ovulating, you can accidentally get pregnant again. 

Phantom Periods 

Believe it or not, even if you have no period while breastfeeding, many mothers report that they have cyclical cramping or PMS-like symptoms for weeks or months before their period returns. 

So, even if you don’t have a period, your body might be gearing up and getting ready for the return of menstruation. At the same time, breastfeeding is delaying the return of your fertility. So, instead of having a menstrual cycle, you have periodic cramping and, perhaps other signs, like bloating. 

Pregnancy

Just because you don’t have a period doesn’t mean you aren’t pregnant. One of the most common signs of pregnancy while breastfeeding is cramping. It’s easy for women who are breastfeeding to miss ovulation signs and fall pregnant again. 

Grab a pregnancy test to find out for sure. However, here are some ways to tell you’re pregnant without a test.

How Long Do Cramps Last While Breastfeeding?

If you have postpartum cramping, you’ll undoubtedly wonder how long will these cramps last after breastfeeding. It shouldn’t take too long for your uterus to shrink to normal size, right?

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer.

Each woman is different, and how long she will experience cramping differs as well. For most women, the cramping lasts no more than one month. The most intense cramps are during the first several days after birth. The pain decreases as time goes on until the cramps are barely noticeable. 

Do Periods Stop While Breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding affects fertility, but it varies significantly from one woman to another. Whether or not your period stops while breastfeeding depends on your baby’s age, how often your baby breastfeeds, and if you use bottles or pacifiers. 

The range of what is normal is vast. Some women resume their menstrual cycles within weeks after giving birth, and other women won’t continue having a period until the baby is weaned. That means some women don’t have periods for two or more years after childbirth. 

When a period stops because of breastfeeding, it’s called lactational amenorrhea. Experts suggest that mothers who fully breastfeed won’t have a period for three to six months or longer. Fully breastfeeding is when a baby relies on their mother for all nourishment and comfort sucking, eliminating bottles and pacifiers. 

Can I Get Pregnant While Breastfeeding and No Period?

menstrual pad vs tampon

Yes! Don’t fall for the old wives’ tale that you cannot get pregnant while breastfeeding; you most definitely can.

Before your period arrives while breastfeeding, ovulation must take place. Unless you’re tracking signs and waiting for your period to come, it’s easy to miss signs of ovulation. Every woman is different; some have obvious ovulation signs, and other women don’t. 

A few common signs of ovulation are:

  • Cramping
  • Egg white cervical mucus 
  • High, open, soft cervix 
  • Excess discharge
  • Bloating
  • Libido changes
  • A heightened sense of smell
  • Breast tenderness 
  • A positive OPK

Women who track their cycles might notice these signs and know to avoid pregnancy, but breastfeeding might change or decrease your symptoms as well. If you have sexual intercourse while ovulating before your first period after childbirth, pregnancy is a real possibility. 

What Are The Symptoms of Pregnancy While Breastfeeding?

Pregnancy symptoms while breastfeeding tend to be the same as early pregnancy without breastfeeding. Every woman is different. Here are some of the common symptoms. 

Changes in Breasts and Milk Production

These are reliable indicators of pregnancy, but many breastfeeding mothers note that their milk supply changes in early pregnancy or that their nipples feel sorer. It might make breastfeeding more uncomfortable, or if your baby is young, it might make fulfilling their milk needs difficult.

This varies widely for mothers. Many mothers can continue to breastfeed while pregnant without any issues fully. 

Cramping

Are you wondering can breastfeeding cause cramping in early pregnancy? The answer is yes, it can. Cramping is one of the most common signs that moms experience in the first few weeks of pregnancy due to hormonal changes and stretching ligaments. 

Bloating 

If you experience bloating while breastfeeding with no period, you might be pregnant. In early pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes a lot of hormonal changes, leading to bloating. You might think that you have a small baby bump developing when it’s just bloating.

That’s okay; rock the bloat because your baby is why you have the bloating! 

Nausea

Young vomiting woman near sink in bathroom

Without a doubt, the most iconic pregnancy symptom is nausea, often called morning sickness, even though it can appear at all hours of the day and stay with you the entire day. Pregnancy nausea tends to start around five to six weeks. 

Heartburn

Heartburn often starts around the same time as nausea, making a horrible combination. It also shows up at the end of pregnancy when your baby presses on your digestive system. Early heartburn is due to the hormonal changes in your body. 

Should You Worry?

It’s not unusual to have cramping while breastfeeding, but no period. It could be your body adjusting after having a baby, ovulation taking place, or several other causes. Pay attention to your symptoms and take a pregnancy test if the cramping continues. 

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