This is not so much a parenting question, but I have one big doubt.

Today the gynecologist told my wife that even though a woman does not menstruate while breastfeeding, she ovulates just the same.

I thought that menstruation was the act of discarding an unused egg, so, where do those eggs go without menstruation?
Any useful links to clear this up?

We are using protection, so it's not one of those "can I get pregnant while breastfeeding" type of questions, it's more of a biology doubt

asked 27 Feb '10, 00:01

JJJ's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%

I was under the impression that I wouldn't have a period for quite awhile as long as I was breastfeeding. However, I started only a few days after clearing up from giving birth!

(27 Feb '10, 03:53) Artemis

It's complex, and every woman is different.

One good resource gives the best information about this:

Almost anything is considered normal when it comes to your periods while breastfeeding.

The reality is that some women stop having periods and ovulating, some stop ovulating but have periods, some ovulate without a period.

The hormones that regulate these processes are disrupted by pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding, but the main point is that it's a complex process that involves several hormones that change over time in order to perform the reproductive processes. There's no one single trigger that does everything - a sequence of processes occur.

The disrupted hormonal balance may cause all the processes to stop, or may stop one or another of the processes without stopping them all, or they may occur in the wrong order, or at the wrong time, and in some cases everything will still happen almost normally.

where do those eggs go without menstruation?

They are discarded or absorbed into the body. If fertilized they may still embed and mature as normal even though the uterus was not prepared for it, though it's significantly less likely.


answered 27 Feb '10, 00:39

Adam%20Davis's gravatar image

Adam Davis
accept rate: 31%


+1 Excellent answer Adam! I've had my periods come back only when I've started solid food (so about 8 months) with 3 of my kids, and when the other was 8 weeks old. All of them were exclusively breastfed. So, it's always up to the old hormone dance.

(27 Feb '10, 00:57) Neen

The worry that many doctors have about women who think they aren't ovulating when they aren't menstruating is that in the normal course of events you ovulate before you menstruate.


answered 27 Feb '10, 18:53

Meg%20Stephenson's gravatar image

Meg Stephenson
accept rate: 7%

Adam gave an excellent answer! I wanted to add that menstruation is the discarding of the uterine lining, not just the egg.

Another useful resource regarding breastfeeding and menstruation is Kelly Mom, though that particular link is regarding fertility moreso than menstruation.


answered 28 Feb '10, 02:34

Fun2Dream's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%

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Asked: 27 Feb '10, 00:01

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Last updated: 28 Feb '10, 02:34