Postpartum Bleeding 101

What is postpartum bleeding?

After a woman has a baby either via a vaginal or cesarean birth she will experience lochia or postpartum bleeding. Lochia consists of blood, tissue shed from the uterus lining and bacteria. 


Why do you experience postpartum bleeding?

You might be wondering why women experience this? When the placenta separates from the uterus there are open blood vessels that begin to bleed into the uterus, hence postpartum bleeding. After delivery your uterus will continue to contract and this will help reduce the bleeding.


What to expect?

For the first few days after birth you might experience a bright red and heavy lochia. You will most likely need to use thr hospital grade pads that will be supplies to you. Some women say the first few days are like a heavy period but other experience what feels like "gushes" of blood, both are said to be normal. After a few days things begin to slow down and the color will not be as bright. You then should be able to switch to a standard pad. You do not want to use tampons for at least six weeks as this can increase your risk of infection. 

If you notice your bleeding to begin getting heaver and brighter after it has already slowed down this might be a good indication that you are doing too much and to slow down. Postpartum bleeding is different for every woman and can last anywhere from two to four weeks to even a few weeks longer than that.


What to look out for with postpartum bleeding?

A few important things to look out for include bright red lochia four days after birth, fever, chills or a foul smell, and blood clots larger than a golf ball are all things that require immediate attention and you should call your doctor or midwife right away.


Every women's experience with postpartum bleeding is different and this is important to remember. Knowing these basics will help you navigate this time after birth a little better and more confidently.