1 Dec 2017 | 5 min Read
Author | 1376 Articles
Whether you have a vaginal delivery or a caesarean section, you’ll have vaginal bleeding and discharge after birth. This is called lochia. It’s how your body gets rid of the extra blood and tissue in your uterus that helped the foetus grow in the womb.
Lochia is also known as postpartum bleeding and is similar to your menstrual period. The flow after a C-section is heavier as compared to a normal delivery. Here’s everything you need to know about postpartum bleeding – a healing mechanism.
Lochia is the vaginal discharge you have after delivery. It contains blood, mucus, white blood cells and uterine tissue and has a stale and musty odour.
Lochia is a normal part of the postpartum healing process and doesn’t usually cause complications.
Your body goes through a plethora of changes during pregnancy. Your body needs time to heal. This means you might still have some symptoms for days or even weeks after delivery.
One of these symptoms is postpartum bleeding. Plus, postpartum bleeding is normal.
Lochia has three stages and the duration of each stage and the way lochia looks can differ. The lochia types are:
The first stage of postpartum bleeding is lochia rubra and lasts for three to four days. During this stage, you can expect:
It is the second stage of the postpartum bleeding and lasts for four to 12 days. During this stage, you can expect:
It is the last stage of the postpartum bleeding and lasts for 12 days to six weeks. During this stage, you can expect:
Generally, lochia follows a similar progression in colour and volume. It begins as blood before tapering to a whitish mucus.
It is dark or bright red for at least three or four days. You might need to soak one thick maxi pad every two to three hours.
After a week, it is more watery and transitions to a pinkish brown colour. The flow is lighter, and you might not require filling pads as quickly.
After about 10 to 14 days, it changes to a creamy, yellowish-white hue. You can wear thin panty liners at this time.
Postpartum bleeding usually lasts for four to six weeks post delivery, with the heaviest flow occurring for the first 10 to 14 days.
Some women might have a shorter period of discharge, while others can have the bleeding for slightly longer than four to six weeks.
There is no treatment for lochia as such because it is normal to bleed after giving birth. You can try to stay off your feet and get adequate rest.
You can use sanitary pads or panty liners during this time. It is advisable not to use tampons because they could lead to an infection.
If you feel cramping, you can place a hot water bag with your cushion and sit back and relax.
Make sure that you are taking adequate rest and lying down whenever needed.
Sometimes, you might have heavy bleeding after giving birth. This is called postpartum haemorrhage. Research shows that it affects up to 5% of women who give birth and is most likely to happen the first 24 hours after delivery. It can also happen anytime within the first 12 weeks after delivery.
Postpartum haemorrhage is serious and can cause a big drop in your blood pressure. If the pressure gets too low, your organs won’t get sufficient blood. This can also cause death. Hence, it’s important to get medical help right away.
It is advisable to consult a doctor if you have any of these symptoms:
Postpartum bleeding is part of the healing process after giving birth. For most people, it gradually subsides over several weeks. Make sure you are getting plenty of rest as your body is healing now. Several mums have also experienced depression due to lochia. Postpartum Depression is common and there are so many reasons behind it. You can talk to your partner and share your feelings with him. This will make the recovery process easier.
Lochia must not be confused with a period. Lochia is lighter and more watery compared to a period.
Yes, it is possible to get pregnant in less than six weeks during lochia. However, women do not find it comfortable to have sex while they are bleeding.
Lochia should not smell fishy or foul. This could mean that somehow bacteria has found its way into your vagina, leading to an infection.
Yes, it is possible for you to experience less bleeding after 24 hours if you had a C-section, compared to someone who has given birth vaginally.