When Postpartum Collides With Perimenopause

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What happens when you’re a new mom later-in-life and postpartum collides with perimenopause? Even though more and more women are having babies later, there’s still a lot to be desired of the support available to women over 40 in the postpartum period, let alone being sandwiched between the 4th trimester and perimenopause!

To be honest, there’s a real lack of information and resources that focus on the period AFTER pregnancy and childbirth.

Is the emotional roller coaster you’re experiencing your body adjusting postpartum, or are you in the early stages of menopause?

Are the mood swings from the constant exhaustion, or is this the beginning of “the change”?

What about the physical changes? Stubborn belly fat, crappy sleep, wonky periods…is this your “new” postpartum body, or the signs of perimenopause?

When you look at common symptoms of postpartum and perimenopause, it’s easy to see how it can be really hard to figure out what’s going on with your body!

When postpartum and perimenopause symptoms collide…

Common Experiences During Postpartum:

  • Inconsistent sleep–> fatigue
  • Changes to hormones
  • Mood Swings
  • “Baby Blues”, Postpartum Depression and/or Anxiety
  • Increased stress
  • Stalled weight loss (or weight gain)
  • “Mom brain”
  • Irregular or skipped periods
  • Low sex drive

Common Symptoms of Perimenopause:

  • Fatigue
  • Mood Swings/Depression
  • Stress/Anxiety
  • “Brain Fog”
  • Irregular periods or heavy/painful periods
  • Low sex drive
  • Weight gain 
  • Sleep Issues/Night sweats
  • PMS

Think you’re too young? I was as surprised as you are to learn that symptoms of perimenopause can start showing up 8-10 years before your last period. So for later-in-life moms, it’s possible to go right from postpartum into perimenopause. Booo.

For us later-in-life mamas, it’s possible that the estrogen and progesterone dips that happen postpartum just stick around instead of returning to “normal” levels after you wean. While one of the markers of perimenopause is a continued drop in estrogen, leading to increases in symptoms like anxiety, depression, mood swings, hot flashes & insomnia.

Your period may return to normal postpartum, and as you enter perimenopause you might see more irregular periods or heavier periods.

It’s Not All Bad News…

After reading this you might feel like it’s all downhill, but I’m a glass-half-full kind of person so I feel like there’s hope for all of us!

When postpartum collides with perimenopause, it can feel like you’re stuck in the middle (I can’t help but sing that song by Steeler’s Wheel every time I say this, lol) and experiencing any or all of the symptoms above and not sure where to even start, then start small:

  1. Talk to Someone– Tell your healthcare providers what’s going on. If you’re like me and forget everything you want to ask about when you get to your doctor’s office, write down some questions or make a list of all of the symptoms you’re having so you can make sure your concerns are addressed.
  2. Move Your Body– Again, start small. Maybe you take a 5-minute walk up your street. Maybe you lay on your living room floor and do some stretches. After pregnancy, childbirth and recovery, it’s very possible that parts of (if not your whole) body feels foreign to you. Taking a walk or doing some simple mobility exercises is an awesome way to start reconnecting with your body again and you’ll probably be surprised as how it can feel!
  3. Drink Some Water– It sounds silly, but hydration plays a bigger role in your health and wellness than you think! From increasing your energy to improving joint mobility to improving brain function, increasing your water intake is one of the best “hacks” I can think of.
  4. Be Mindful of Your Sleep– I know telling a mom of babies and toddlers to get more sleep is like trying to tell a 14-year-old to put down their cell phone- it’s probably not gonna happen. But you CAN be more mindful about your sleep hygiene to try and maximize the sleep that you do get. Can you streamline your nighttime routine to at least keep it consistent? Can you go to bed 15-30 minutes earlier to get some better quality sleep earlier at night?
  5. Get Support– One of the challenges of being a new mom over 40 is actually finding other older moms who can relate to what you’re going through! Support from other later-in-life moms who know what it’s like can be huge when you feel like you’re the only one going through it.

Want even more support and accountability when it comes to your health and fitness? Connect with me to find out how 1:1 coaching could work for you.

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