Lochia: How Long Do You Bleed After You Have A Baby?
How long do you bleed after you have a baby? Here`s a question that is on the mind of every new mother who just gave birth.
Any fresh mother will experience bleeding after birth (lochia), regardless whether she gives birth naturally or by Caesarean birth. This is the way the uterus cleans itself after the woman give birth to a baby. Bleeding might be abundant or normal, just like during menstruation.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is Lochia?
- 2 How Long Do You Bleed After You Have a Baby?
- 3 How Long Do You Bleed After Caesarean?
- 4 When Lochia Has the Normal Color?
- 5 Return to Normal Menstruation
- 6 Do I Need to Take Measures of Precaution?
- 7 When You Should Concern Yourself?
- 8 When to Call the Ambulance?
- 9 General Recommendations
What Is Lochia?
Vaginal bleeding that occurs immediately after birth is known as lochia. This bleeding comes from the place where the placenta was attached from the uterus, being similar to an open wound in the healing process.
It`s essential to know that the blood lost after birth is very different than normal menstrual bleeding. During the healing period of the uterus, bleeding can be rather abundant, and eventually disappear gradually. Therefore, it isn`t unusual after birth to appear sporadic bleeding of pinkish towards brownish color with a viscous consistency, which will disappear after a few weeks.
In average, a women losses 225 ml of blood during the postnatal period (in addition to the amount of blood lost at birth).
Read more on Vaginal Discharge: Causes, Evaluation & Treatment!
The average total amount varies between 150 and 400 ml. Women who breastfeed losses in general less blood during this particular period than those who feed their baby with the bottle, as breastfeeding stimulates the uterine contractions in a rapid rhythm, decreasing the amount of blood lost.
After birth, bleeding may become more abundant temporarily and more lighter in color, while the uterus regains its initial sizes, especially if the fresh mother confronts itself with postnatal pains and/or when she breastfeeds. Abundant bleeding may occur if you don`t rest sufficiently. You`ll notice an increase in lochia or a spontaneous blood elimination when you sit up after spending a few hours lied down, especially during the first few days after birth. Sometimes, there may be small blood clots that coagulated inside the vagina, while you are resting.
How Long Do You Bleed After You Have a Baby?
Vaginal bleeding is, generally, intense during the first couple of days after birth, and you might need to change the absorbent rather often (1 to 4 hours).
During the first few days after birth, you may see a larger volume of blood than in a normal menstruation. Bleeding may also include blood clots. The first time when you`ll get up from bed, you may experience more bleeding, because when you are lying down, the blood gathers in your vagina.
You may be bleeding for 2 or 3 weeks (or even 6 weeks after birth). The blood`s volume will diminish gradually. Red-color lochia shouldn`t persist for more than 2 weeks, although if you are trying to force yourself and do more things at once, it may reappear. This is a sign that you should rest for a while and make less effort.
How Long Do You Bleed After Caesarean?
So basically, the elimination of lochia is considered normal for up to 6 weeks after birth, but lots of time, after a C-section, it stops.
In lots of situations, uterine hypocontractility may determine to a prolonged period of up to 8 weeks, but in this case is crucial to consult a doctor to evaluate your health.
When Lochia Has the Normal Color?
While days pass, lochia won`t has a red color, but they`ll become pink or brown, just like bleeding in the last days of menstruation.
In case the amount of lochia has been smaller from the beginning, it`s quite possible that in the following days you`ll eliminate small blood clots, or to have moments when suddenly there`s a large amount of blood eliminated, while then lochia will stop again for several hours.
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Before disappearing completely, lochia has a whitish-yellowish color, similar to normal discharge. It`s just that it`s more abundant.
Return to Normal Menstruation
The return to normal menstruation after birth varies a lot from one woman to another. In general, the ones who breastfeed won`t have a normal menstruation until the child is weaned (between 9 and 12 months or more). In other women, the menstrual cycle returns to normal as soon as the baby starts to feed on solid foods beginning with 4 to 6 months (or when breastfeeding is started to be replaced with substitutes.
Some women experience sporadic menstrual discharges, which are often unpredictable and have a light red towards pink color, for a day or more every month. On occasion, some women present a regular menstrual cycle even when breastfeeding.
Mothers who don`t breastfeed their babies will recover their regular menstrual cycle after around 6 to 10 weeks from birth. If you are breastfeeding for a few weeks, and then you wean your baby, menstruation may return in 2 to 6 weeks after stopping breastfeeding. – Visit this page!
If bleeding stopped completely after birth (around 3 to 6 weeks) and you experience bleeding after sexual contact, get in touch with your doctor immediately. If after breastfeeding is stopped, menstruation doesn`t return to normal in 2 to 6 weeks, contact your doctor. If you are suspicious that you may be pregnant or present any signs of pregnancy while breastfeeding without returning to regular menstruation, you should take a pregnancy test.
Do I Need to Take Measures of Precaution?
Not really! All you need to do is to secure a consistent stock of extra-large absorbents. It`s forbidden to use internal absorbents during the first 6 weeks after birth. They increase the risk of infections quite a lot, especially because your uterus is still in the healing process.
You don`t need to get scared, if you`ll need to change the absorbent with each hour. In time, lochia will decrease in quantity.
It`s essential to don`t forget to wash your hands before and after changing the absorbent. Accentuated postnatal fatigue may trick you and forget to do this crucial thing.
If you gave birth naturally, it`s very likely to have a wound inside your vagina or perineum. Due to this reason, it`s recommended to maintain a clean area and wash it at least once a day to prevent a possible infection. Also, it`s essential to change the absorbent as often as possible, even if bleeding isn`t so abundant.
Lots of mothers consider that if they add salt to the water they use to wash their intimate area, it will heal faster. However, it seems that the healing process takes just as much as it would take if it washed it simple water.
When You Should Concern Yourself?
Get in touch with your doctor immediately if:
- If lochia turns back to bright red.
- If lochia has an unpleasant odor (this may indicate an infection).
- If bleeding becomes abundant, filling more than an absorbent in 1 hour.
- If you eliminate blood clots that have the size of a golf ball or even larger.
- If you experience pains in the lower abdomen, fever (over 38° C) or chills.
When to Call the Ambulance?
- When bleeding suddenly becomes extremely abundant and you need to change an absorbent in less than 1 hour.
- Bleeding suddenly becomes a red light and persists in this color even after you have rested.
- You eliminate lots of big clots.
- You feel dizzy or you feel that you may be fainting.
- Heartburns become too fast or irregular.
All this can be caused by an infection and you may need a treatment of antibiotics or a simple medical intervention to eliminate the remains of the placenta. Immediately after getting the necessary treatment, your medical condition will improve. However, you`ll need a period to rest.
Read more on Clear Watery Vaginal Discharge: Is This Normal?
It`s best to ignore the postnatal symptoms and get in touch with a doctor every time you consider it necessary. Fresh mothers, assaulted by their new role and the changes in their lives, tend not to do this.
It`s recommended to avoid swimming until bleeding stops completely (after 3 to 6 weeks from birth).
The most recommended way to wash is in your personal bathroom, eventually opting for sitting baths. You should avoid a hospital bath and opt in turn for using the shower to prevent the occurrence of local infections.
Some teas may improve bleeding (arnica, sideritis, yarrow, raspberry leaves, nettle or cayenne). However, before using these natural remedies, it`s recommended to check together with your doctor the side effects of each tea, and especially if they may affect breastfeeding in any way.