Postpartum haemorrhage (Lochia): is normal, what to do and more

Postpartum bleeding

Your body goes through many changes during pregnancy. And those changes do not necessarily stop at the time of delivery. Your body needs time to recover, which means you can still have some symptoms for days or even weeks after giving birth.

One of those symptoms is postpartum bleeding. However, it is normal to have some vaginal bleeding after delivery.

This is what you can expect depending on the type of delivery you have received and how to know when to call your doctor.

Why am I bleeding?

The blood that is seen after the birth is called lochia. It is a type of discharge that is similar to your menstrual period and usually lasts between four and six weeks after delivery. It contains:

  • blood

  • uterine lining parts

  • mucus

  • white blood cells

As in a period, this bleeding is caused by the detachment and restoration of its uterine lining.

At first, the lochia will be mostly blood. As the days and weeks go by, you are likely to see more mucus than blood.

Bleeding after a vaginal delivery.

During the first one to three days after your baby is born, the blood you see will likely be bright red or dark. It can smell like the blood that you usually shed during your menstrual period. There may also be some clots in the blood, ranging from the size of a grape to the size of a plum.

Between days four and seven, the blood should turn pink or brown. The clots should become smaller or disappear.

At the end of the first week, the download will probably be white or yellow. In three to six weeks, I should stop. Learn more about what to expect during a vaginal delivery.

Bleeding after a cesarean delivery.

If you had a cesarean delivery (caesarean section), you probably have less lochia than you would after a vaginal delivery. However, you are likely to see some blood for a few weeks. The color of the blood will change from red to brown to yellow or light, as you would see after a vaginal delivery.

What to do if you are bleeding

At first, the bleeding will probably be severe enough that you have to use a hospital pad. Your nurse can give you some of these extra absorbent pads when you are discharged.

As the bleeding decreases, you can move to a regular menstrual pad.

Be sure to change your pads frequently to prevent infections. Do not use tampons until your doctor tells you it is okay to do so. Once the bleeding is mild enough, or you are only looking at the discharge, you can change to a panty liner.

Store postpartum pills.

Why your bleeding could increase

The bleeding should decrease and then decrease a few weeks after delivery. But some things can temporarily increase blood flow, including:

  • get out of bed in the morning

  • Breastfeeding (your body produces the hormone oxytocin while you breastfeed, which stimulates uterine contractions and speeds healing)

  • working out

  • effort when urinating or defecating

When to call your doctor

If the bleeding increases enough to soak in a hospital pad in less than an hour or does not decrease after a few days, call your doctor. Also, tell your doctor if you notice:

  • Signs of infection, such as smelly discharge

  • a fever of 100.4 ° F (38 ° C) or higher, or chills

  • Blood that remains bright red and heavy the second week.

  • A sensation of sensitivity on one or both sides of your belly.

  • dizziness or feeling faint

  • irregular heartbeat that starts to run

You should also tell your doctor if you have very large blood clots or a large number of clots. This could mean that your uterus is having trouble returning to its original size.

Returning to normal

Having a baby is an important transition phase in your life. It will take time to get used to the changes that take place in your body and mind after childbirth.

Give yourself the opportunity to adapt. If you still do not feel comfortable, either physically or emotionally, ask your doctor or other health professional for advice.

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