We’re during our pregnancy to expect bleeding after giving birth, but many of us don’t give it much thought until we’re going through it. Here’s some tips on what to expect from readers, and some info on what is considered normal and when you should seek further medical advice if things don’t seem quite right.
Post-birth bleeding, also known as Lochia, is normal in both vaginal and c-section births. It occurs in the day or two following your delivery.
Your blood will start off quite bright red, and as time progresses will darken to a deep red or brown before turning into a creamy colour.
It’s not uncommon for a maternity pad to fill every hour on the first day although it seems like quite a lot of blood-loss. But fear not because after the third day you will notice your bleeding reduce.
According to Queensland Health, most women will bleed from four to six weeks while others may bleed for longer or a shorter amount of time.
“After my first the bleeding lasted about a week and with my second it lasted over 2 weeks, everyone is different but if you’re worried about it, I would just go and get checked out,” says Baby Hints and Tips reader Eunice.
“Mine stopped the day before my 6-week check-up, but then I continued to bleed off and on from the day after that check up to well over a year post-partum,” says Baby Hints and Tips reader Elizabeth, showing that everyone has a different experience.
But why do we bleed in the first place? When we’re pregnant blood vessels run between the uterus and the placenta and once your baby is born it separates the two it leaves them open to bleed. Your uterus then contracts to squeeze them shut.
It’s also how the body removes the extra blood and tissue that helped your baby grow. Which is why you may notice some clots passing.
What is normal
- Some blood clots will pass, if they’re relatively small it’s nothing to worry about
- Gushing when you stand, this is because the blood collects while you’re sitting or lying down and comes out when you stand up.
- If you’re bleeding brownish coloured blood past the 6-week mark, some women bleed for longer but if you’re concerned talk to your GP.
When to get medical advice
- If you’re filling a pad with bright red blood past the third day post-birth
- You’re passing clots bigger than a plum
- You’re soaking more than one pad an hour without signs of it slowing down
- If you’re temperature is above 37 degrees
- Id you’re feeling faint, dizzy or weak
- If your vision is blurred
- If you’re feeling clammy or have the chills
- If you’re feeling severe cramping
Looking after yourself during your post-pregnancy bleeds
- Drink plenty of water
- Only use pads or sanitary towels never tampons to reduce risk of infection
- If you have a perineum tear ensure it is kept clean
- Change your pad regularly
- Shower or have a path at least once a day
- Pee even if you don’t feel the urge to go as your bladder may be less sensitive than usual
- Always wash your hands before and after changing your pad to reduce the risk of infection
To read more post-birth bleed experiences from our readers click here.