For first time moms, you might be wondering what post-partum bleeding is and it might sound mortifying. However, there’s nothing to be scared or worried about. In fact, it is perfectly normal. Post-partum bleeding is when a woman bleeds after delivering her baby. It is usually heavier than your normal period.
During pregnancy, your blood rises to around 50%, which means your body is quite prepared for all this blood loss. Just after birth, the placenta separates from the uterus, where open blood vessels are present, which was attached. They then start to bleed in the uterus which causes post-partum bleeding. Vaginal tearing during normal delivery can also be another cause of post-partum bleeding. The blood discharge that women experience after giving birth is called lochia.
“Other potential causes might have to do with the rise in C-sections, which can lead to complications like hemorrhages and blood clots, and scheduled inductions, which are also associated with higher rates of postpartum hemorrhage, even in low risk patient,” writes Vanessa LoBue Ph.D.
During lochia, ensure that you only use heavy sanitary towels and not tampons. Tampons can lead to infections.
How Long Does Lochia Last and What Color is it?
Lochia usually lasts around four to six weeks. It differs from woman to woman. You also usually bleed heavily between three to ten days. The color of the blood is usually bright red, then it turns to pink, then to brown and towards the end a yellowish white color. A mild fever might also occur after giving birth, this is also perfectly normal.
When to Worry or When You Should Consult Your Doctor?
If you notice any of these signs, please consult your doctor immediately:
- Fevers and chills: even though a slight or mild fever after giving birth is normal; it’s best to consult your doctor and play it safe.
- Extreme and heavy bleeding: ss mentioned above, lochia is heavier than your regular period, but if you find yourself having to change your sanitary pad at least every hour, then you should take the next step and consult your doctor. Even if you have large clots of blood, it’s better to consult your doctor.
- If your blood is still bright red after four days or more.
- It pains or burns while urinating. This is never a good sign and you should seek treatment immediately.
- You’re feeling depressed and in despair. Some moms suffer from post-partum depression. Some might even have delusions of harming themselves or their baby. If this happens, then consult your doctor immediately. They can assess you and give you the necessary treatment. It is normal to feel a little depressed and upset occasionally after giving birth, as taking care of an infant can be quite stressful. However, if you find yourself to be constantly stressed out and the depression is lasting over a week, then seek medical assistance immediately.
- Your discharge has a foul smell.
- You are suffering from severe and extreme pain in your abdomen, pelvis, or vagina. Or any pains after giving birth.
- You feel nauseous or you’re vomiting.
- You suffer from severe and long-lasting headaches. You have pain in your breasts. Although, this is also normal, if you are finding this pain to be quite severe and if not’s relieved by nursing or warm soaks, then you should consult your doctor. Some women might even experience flu-like symptoms.
“Every doctor must weigh the relative costs and benefits of treatment,” writes Joel L. Young M.D.
Some Foods That You Should Include in Your Diet:
The following foods are not only good for your health but also good to include in your diet after giving birth and it will also relieve post-partum bleeding:
- Wild caught salmon: it’s good to eat during pregnancy and after giving birth too. It also has benefits for both mom and baby.
- Soaked oatmeal: keeps you fit and regular after giving birth and also helps with increasing your milk supply.
- Coconut oil: it contains healthy fatty acids and it is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial.
- Eggs: this is very nutritious and is also beneficial for the baby
“We should encourage pregnant women to listen to their bodies, mindfully eat foods that their bodies crave, and try to nourish their bodies during this most vulnerable time of life,” writes Alexis Conason Psy.D.