The period following postpartum is exciting, but it is also a time of adjustment and healing for mothers. Vaginal postpartum bleeding starts immediately after giving birth to a baby, and bloody fluid goes through a natural process in which the placenta (the organ that feeds the fetus) is shed.
We all know that there will be bleeding throughout the postpartum period, but it is important to understand how much bleeding is normal after delivery, how long it lasts, and how to deal with this aspect of the birth experience.
So, let’s look at some facts to help distinguish between normal and abnormal postpartum bleeding. This can help new mothers avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety about their physical changes, as well as make them aware of all the situations that may arise following pregnancy.
Postpartum Bleeding Stages: Lochia Serosa
As per Cleveland clinic, when a woman gives birth to a child, the vaginal discharge starts like a menstrual period called Lochia or birth lochia.
Bleeding usually lasts between 24 and 36 days. Don’t be concerned if your birth lochia lasts longer than four to six weeks. That is also normal.
At first, normal postpartum bleeding starts with bright red bleeding in the form of very large clots to brownish red small blood clots. Over time, the color will lighten and flow.
Here’s what to expect:
According to academic research institutions, these are some stages of postpartum bleeding:
1. First Day
Fresh red to brownish heavy bleeding (dark red large clots) starts when the baby is born soaking one maternity pad every few hours, with one or two clots or several smaller ones.
Professional advice is that women should use sanitary pads or maternity pads and avoid tampons or menstrual cups during this time, to prevent infection and recover uterine lining and uterine contractions.
2. From Day Two To The Third Day
The blood is darker brownish red blood. Normal vaginal bleeding with stains on your maternity pads ranging from 7 cm to 12 cm and smaller blood clots.
3. After A Week Postpartum
Darker brown or pinkish-red blood gradually lightens, and Irregular but lighter postpartum bleeding start. Health professionals provide medical advice to use a sanitary pad for good women’s health.
4. Two Weeks After Delivery
After eleven to fourteen days, darker brown or pinkish-red blood gradually becomes light brown. If you have lighter flow symptoms, you might have some light sanitary pads that are barely stained.
5. Four Weeks After Delivery
After Four weeks of postpartum bleeding, the flow is lighter, possibly with creamy white blood and postpartum bleeding normal.
6. Six Weeks Postpartum
After six weeks of delivery, plum bleeding remains in the form of light brown, watery pink, or blurred vision yellow stains with foul smell, possibly for several weeks, possibly only on certain days.
Though bleeding is the normal part of postpartum, if the bright red blood never stops few weeks, then you must call your doctor.
Reasons For Lochia And Postpartum Bleeding
The most common reason for postpartum hemorrhage is a condition known as uterine atony. After delivery, the uterus normally squeezes to stop bleeding where the placenta was. The placenta is an organ that grows in your uterus and feeds your baby during pregnancy.
The uterus does not contract as well as it should when you have uterine atony. This can result in vaginal bleeding after giving birth.
Other factors can increase your risk of postpartum hemorrhage.
These are some examples:
- When the uterus tears during delivery, this is referred to as uterine rupture.
- When you have a cesarean section, your risk of postpartum hemorrhage is higher than when you have a vaginal delivery.
- During delivery, there may be tears in the vagina or cervix.
- If you have a Cesarean delivery, general anesthesia may be used.
- Oxytocin (Pitocin) is a medication that induces delivery.
- Preeclampsia is a condition that causes high blood pressure and protein in the urine during pregnancy.
- Obesity Problems with the placenta
How To Reduce The Risk of Infection During Vaginal Bleeding
There are numerous treatments available for postpartum hemorrhage. Your health professional will be able to determine what is best for you based on the symptoms of your postpartum bleeding.
They might be able to:
- Give you medication to assist your womb in contracting.
- Massage the uterus.
- Remove any remaining placenta musty smell from your womb.
- Perform a laparotomy – surgery to open your abdomen to determine how much blood loss and make it a normal period.
- Give you a blood transfusion (blood is given to you through a tube that goes into a vein to help replace the blood you’ve lost).
- Perform a hysterectomy (womb surgical removal). Give you a special medicine that stops enough blood.
- Allow a radiologist to perform uterine artery embolization, which restricts blood flow to your womb.
- Use a Bakri balloon, which is inflated inside your womb and adds pressure to help slow the bleeding.
When Should I Visit My Healthcare Provider After Delivery?
Peer-reviewed studies suggest you should that if you had a cesarean birth (also known as a c-section), your doctor might want to see you about two weeks after the birth to check on the healing of your C-section incision (cut). A C-sect – most c-section incisions heal without complications, but they can become infected.
Your doctor will also examine your birth canal, placental tissue, womb, pelvis or lower abdomen, and cervix. The cervix is the uterine opening located at the top of the vagina.
If you had an episiotomy or a tear during birth, your doctor would examine it to see if it has healed. An episiotomy is a cut made at the vaginal opening to aid in the passage of the baby. Your doctorer will be able to tell you when it is safe to resume sexual activity.
Your doctor ensures you that your vaccinations are up to date, including flu and pertussis shots. Getting vaccinated can help you avoid becoming ill and passing an illness on to your baby.
If you did not discuss birth control with your healthcare provider before having your baby. Do so at your postpartum visit. Discuss birth control options with your provider and how they fit in with your plans to have more children. Inquire about using an IUD or implant to help prevent you from becoming pregnant again too soon.
So, to summarise, postpartum bleeding is natural, and if you understand all of the stages and facts about postpartum, you can deal with your postpartum and enjoy this wonderful movement.
However, keep in mind that the six-month period is sufficient for postpartum bleeding. If you still feel extra blood, call your doctor or visit your healthcare provider as soon as possible. That will reduce the possibility of illness, and you will be able to enjoy your delivery more.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Please leave your honest review in the comments. Furthermore, subscribe to us via email so that we can keep you up to date on our latest posts.