After the delivery of your baby and placenta, your uterus will contract and compress the blood vessels to stop the bleeding from the placental site (where the placenta was attached to the wall of your uterus). During this initial phase, it is usual to lose about 200-300mls of blood. This discharge lost post birth, is not a period but is called lochia and may continue for up to 6 weeks as the placental site heals and the uterus lining sheds and regenerates. Regardless of mode of delivery (vaginal or c section) lochia will be present ( for an average of 5 weeks), but C-section mums may find that they may experience less bleeding and for a shorter amount of time.
There are three normal stages of postpartum bleeding:
- Lochia rubra – Usually the first 2-3 days post birth
- Mostly blood
- Bright red
- Flow is heavy to moderate
- Flow may be constant/even or in intermittent gushes
- Small blood clots (grape/date size) may be present
- Bleeding may increase when standing, breastfeeding, exercising or straining on the toilet
- Lochia Serosa- Approx. day 4 -10
- A pink-pinkish brown colour
- Flow is less
- Lochia alba- Approx. day 10- 21
- Light yellow- cream colour
- Flow is very minimal
- No smell
Blood loss of more than 500ml is called a Post Partum Haemorrhage (PPH) and can occur in the first 24 hours after birth (primary) or anytime in the first six week (secondary). It is usually due to a piece of placenta being stuck in uterus, which wont allow the placental site to heal properly or an infection in the uterus. A postpartum haemorrhage requires prompt medical treatment and is considered an emergency; if you are at all worried contact your health provider immediately.
- Large blood loss (soaking through a pad in under 1-2 hours)
- Passing large clots
- Dizziness, light-headedness, or fatigue
You should also contact your health provider if:
- If you see blood clots or bright red blood after the 4th day
- If the lochia smells bad
- If you have bad cramps and heavy bleeding
- If you have a fever or chills
- If you have severe pain in your lower abdomen
- if you are worried in anyway about your bleeding
- Make sure to change your pads often to prevent infections and thrush.
- Use heavy-duty super pads to soak up the blood in the first few days
- Do not use tampons for lochia. Tampons can introduce bacteria in to the uterus, causing infection
The geniuses at ModiBodi have created the perfect item for post partum bleeding… leak proof undies! The undies have a breathable, super slim, moisture wicking, absorbent, antimicrobial, stain resistant, leak proof lining to ensure that any sweat, bleeding, discharge or light bladder leaks are contained in the undies! They come in a range of styles and absorbency (light absorbency – can handle up to 5 ml/one tampon of spillage and heavy up to 10-15ml). They are super comfortable and if you order the high wasted ones, they will tuck in deflated tummies or sit above C-section scars! They are easy to care for, just rinse, cold wash and air dry! The heavy absorbency are perfect for the first few days when the loss is heavy and will contain any spillage from an extra gush when standing up or breastfeeding. The light absorbency work well for tail end of the discharge when you’re not quiet sure its completely over.
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