Having a newborn baby is exciting, but it also presents a period of adjustment where a mother goes through a healing process. Immediately after you give birth, your body goes through a natural process, whereby the placenta, the organ that nourishes the fetus, is shed. In this entire postpartum period, you experience bleeding. However, it is vital you know when bleeding after delivery is normal and how long it can go on. You also want to know when the bleeding is not normal so that you can consult the best Edinburg gynecology specialist for help and learn how to deal with this after-birth experience.
When is Postpartum Bleeding Normal?
Also referred to as lochia, postpartum bleeding is the menstrual period-like discharge that women experience once they give birth. The discharge consists of the mucous membrane that lines the uterus when a woman is pregnant, in addition to red and white bleed cells. Women bleed after vaginal birth. They also bleed after cesarean delivery.
One of the ways to know if lochia is normal is to check the duration. A normal bleeding process will last about six weeks following delivery. At this time, the woman's uterus where the baby was during pregnancy goes through changes to get it back to its normal state. A woman needs to wear pads during this time, but not menstrual cups or tampons because these may introduce bacteria into the recovering genital tract and the uterus.
You also want to look at the color and consistency of the discharge. It is a little tricky, though. For example, having small blood clots at the time of postpartum bleeding may be normal. In the first couple of days after birth, a woman may have reddish-brown lochia, which is normal.
The reddish-brown bleeding with tiny clots may turn watery with either pinkish or brownish color, a stage that goes for about 2 to 3 weeks. The color then moves to a white, pale shade because nearing the end of the third week, a majority of the red cells have already been shed through bleeding. The discharge can remain until the sixth week after delivering your baby, sometimes lasting until the eighth week. This can be normal as well.
You may also want to check the amount of bleeding. The bleeding is heavy within the first two weeks of delivering a baby because tissues from your pregnancy are shedding. However, as days pass, the bleeding gradually reduces because the material is sloughed off with time. You may have spotting or light bleeding that occurs up to six weeks.
When Lochia Needs Medical Attention
Your postpartum bleeding may require the attention of a medical specialist like an OB-GYN if it is excessive. For instance, if bleeding is saturating a pad within an hour, see a specialist. If you see abnormally large, golf-ball-sized blood clots or you have a foul smell coming from the discharge, see a doctor. Severe cramping and other symptoms such as increased heart rate, feeling weak or faint, and blurred vision when you have lochia require medical attention. If, after giving birth, you suspect something abnormal with your postpartum bleeding, seek the attention of an OB-GYN for examination and checkup.