Having a baby is an incredible thing, but it also comes with a bunch of changes for a woman's body. Postpartum bleeding, or lochia, is one of the many things that happen after giving birth. It's basically the discharge that comes out of the vagina and it's made up of blood, mucus, and tissue from the uterus.
In this article we will answer some of the most common questions new moms have about postpartum bleeding, including:
What products you need for postpartum bleeding?
When you need to be concerned?
What is Postpartum Bleeding or Lochia?
When a woman has a baby, she experiences postpartum bleeding, or lochia after giving birth. Basically, the body gets rid of the tissue that lined the uterus during pregnancy, which leads to a discharge of blood and tissue called lochia. Lochia can have different colors like bright red, brownish, or even yellowish.
How Long Does Postpartum Bleeding Last?
Lochia is a normal part of the postpartum period and can last for several weeks after delivery. Postpartum bleeding can last anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks, depending on the woman and her body. The bleeding will be heaviest in the first few days after giving birth and will gradually decrease over time.
Whilst postpartum bleeding should subside naturally, the duration can vary depending on individual factors. The amount and duration of postpartum bleeding can be influenced by several factors, including:
Type of delivery: Women who have a vaginal birth tend to have heavier bleeding and a longer duration of lochia than those who have a cesarean section.
Multiple pregnancies: Women who have had multiple pregnancies tend to have longer and heavier postpartum bleeding than first-time mothers.
Breastfeeding: The hormone oxytocin, which is released during breastfeeding, can cause the uterus to contract and reduce bleeding. Therefore, women who breastfeed may experience lighter and shorter postpartum bleeding.
Maternal health: Women who have underlying health conditions or complications during pregnancy, such as preeclampsia, may experience heavier postpartum bleeding.
It's important to note that every woman's body is different, and the duration and amount of postpartum bleeding can vary. However, if bleeding persists beyond six weeks or is heavy and accompanied by other symptoms like fever, chills, or pain, it's important to consult with a healthcare provider to rule out any potential complications.
How Does the Colour and Consistency or Lochia Change over Time?
The colour and appearance of lochia changes over time as the uterus heals and the bleeding decreases. Immediately after delivery, lochia is typically bright red and can contain small blood clots. This is known as lochia rubra and lasts for the first few days after delivery.
As the uterus begins to heal and the bleeding decreases, the lochia will change to a pinkish or brownish colour. This is known as lochia serosa and can last for around 1-2 weeks after delivery. Finally, as the bleeding continues to decrease, the lochia will become a yellowish-white colour. This is known as lochia alba and can last for up to 6 weeks after delivery.
It's important to note that the exact timing and appearance of lochia can vary for each person, and may be affected by factors such as the type of delivery, breastfeeding, and overall postpartum recovery. If you have any concerns about the colour or amount of your lochia, it's best to speak with your healthcare provider.
How Much Bleeding is Normal Postpartum?
It is normal to experience heavy bleeding immediately after giving birth. The amount of bleeding will gradually decrease over time, and by the end of the first week, you should be experiencing more of a light to moderate flow. By the end of the second week, the bleeding should be even lighter. Any bleeding that is heavier than a heavy period should be reported to your healthcare provider. Bright red blood 3 weeks postpartum is not normal and could be a sign of a problem. If you experience bright red bleeding 3 weeks after giving birth, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately.
Is Postpartum Bleeding Like a Period?
Postpartum bleeding like a very heavy period that lasts longer than your period. Additionally, the discharge may contain blood clots and tissue from the uterus.
What Products Do I Need for Postpartum Bleeding?
During the postpartum period, women may experience bleeding as part of the body's natural healing process.
To aid in managing postpartum bleeding and promote comfort and healing, various products are available.
These products are designed to provide support, absorbency, soothing relief, and cleanliness during this recovery phase. Here is a list of helpful products commonly used by women during postpartum bleeding, along with the reasons why each product can be beneficial:
Maternity Pads: These pads are specifically designed for postpartum use and provide extra absorption to manage heavy bleeding. They are longer, wider, and more absorbent than regular menstrual pads, offering greater coverage and comfort. Our hypoallergenic maternity pads are extra long and made with no added colours or scents, making them perfect for sensitive postnatal bits.
Maternity Sheets: during the few days after birth your bleeding will be heavy, so its worth having some maternity sheets to hand that are backed with a waterproof layer to prevent blood from leaking onto your bed or sofa
Disposable Underwear: Disposable mesh underwear or postpartum pants can be convenient for managing postpartum bleeding. They are stretchy, breathable, and designed to accommodate bulky pads while providing good support and minimising the risk of leaks. Our post birth knickers are durable enough to hold a maternity pad and super comfortable, helping to manage symptoms of postpartum bleeding.
Reusable Postpartum Underwear: Over the past few years there have been advances in period underwear and now companies like Modibod or Wuka have come out with absorbent underwear designed for postpartum bleeding.
Postpartum Peri Bottle: A peri bottle can be filled with water and sprayed on your vulva to give you a quick shower down there and keep you feeling fresh and clean. It's also super soothing if you're feeling sore after a vaginal birth too! Check out our postpartum per bottle which is designed especially for this.
When Should I be Concerned About Postpartum Bleeding?
Postpartum bleeding is a normal part of the postpartum period, but there are some situations where you should be concerned. If you experience heavy bleeding, pass large clots, or have a foul odour coming from your discharge, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately.
When To Call A Doctor?
If you observe any of the following symptoms, it is advisable to contact your doctor as they may indicate an infection or a more severe condition like postpartum haemorrhage:
Passing very large clots, similar in size to a lemon or larger
Experiencing an exceptionally heavy flow, leading to soaking through a maxi pad every hour
Noticing a foul odour in the lochia (normal lochia should have a scent similar to a regular period)
Experiencing faintness, breathlessness, dizziness, or a rapid heartbeat
Feeling nauseous or vomiting
Experiencing swelling and pain around the vagina or perineum (the area between the vagina and rectum)
Developing a fever or experiencing chills
In conclusion, postpartum bleeding, also known as lochia, is a normal process that occurs after childbirth. It consists of blood, mucus, and uterine tissue, and lasts for several weeks following delivery. While it is a natural part of the postpartum period, it is important for new mothers to monitor their bleeding and contact their healthcare provider if they experience any concerning symptoms such as heavy bleeding or foul odour.
Postpartum haemorrhage is a serious complication that can occur if the bleeding becomes excessive, and it requires immediate medical attention. By understanding the causes and duration of postpartum bleeding, new mothers can feel more prepared and confident as they navigate the postpartum period.
Remember, it's always best to consult with your healthcare provider for personalised recommendations on postpartum products and their usage based on your specific needs and circumstances.