Vaginal Bleeding after Childbirth

15.10.2012 | By: I. M.

The article describes how to understand and accept changes to the body following childbirth.



bleeding after childbirth 1Vaginal bleeding is a very unpleasant part of childbirth that women sometimes have to suffer for weeks. (PhotoXpress)
bleeding after childbirth 2After delivery women experience a discharge that is a combination of things accumulated in the womb during pregnancy. (PhotoXpress)
bleeding after childbirth 3The occurrence of the first period also depends on breastfeeding. (PhotoXpress)
bleeding after childbirth 1
bleeding after childbirth 2
bleeding after childbirth 3


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A few hours after delivery

Vaginal bleeding is a normal process of cleansing following childbirth. After nine months of the absence of menstruation, bleeding can be, of course, as unpleasant as the first period, especially because it can be slightly heavier than normal bleeding. Thus, all the blood, tissue and mucus accumulated around the womb during pregnancy are released and the body starts cleansing. The first feelings might be very unusual, since blood can run down your leg the first time you get out of bed and can also contain small parts of tissue or blood clots. After a few hours, the strong flow of bleeding is staunched and regulated to the level of menstruation. Women who have heavier periods can also have heavier bleeding after delivery. The same goes for pain. Women who suffer severe lower abdominal pain during menstruation every month could have slightly more painful bleeding. The discharge  begins as a bright red colour and later becomes darker or brown, eventually changing to a yellowish-white colour after a few weeks.

How long do you bleed and how heavy is the bleeding?

Lochia lasts seven to ten days. However, since the human body only rarely functions according to rules, the period of bleeding is sometimes prolonged. Some women also bleed up to two months. The intensity of bleeding differs from woman to woman. In determining the intensity of vaginal bleeding, you can follow the number of sanitary towels you have to use in a certain period. In the case of heavy bleeding, you need one or two sanitary towels in one or two hours. Less heavy bleeding requires the change of a sanitary towel after three hours, and in the case of minor bleeding, you change it after more than three hours. If you have really heavy vaginal bleeding, you definitely have to inform your doctors. The symptoms are the need to change a sanitary towel every hour, larger chunks of tissue in vaginal blood, more intense pain in the lower abdomen and dizziness or nausea.

The return of the period

The return of  menstruation also depends on breastfeeding. In some women, it returns after four to six weeks, while others have to wait a little longer. Usually, women who decide to breastfeed their newborns have menstruation later than those who don’t breastfeed. Most breastfeeding mothers don’t have their period up to six months following delivery. First they have menstruation and only then the first ovulation with the signs of fertility occurs. Protection against pregnancy is definitely needed in this period. You have to consult your gynaecologist about the right choice of contraception.

Care after childbirth

After childbirth a woman needs to rest in bed and recover. Narcotics used to relieve pain are only obtained through the recommendation of your doctor. In anaemia, transfusion is needed because of loss of blood. In some cases surgeons also perform an operation of cleansing the womb, if they find it necessary. You definitely shouldn’t use tampons, but it’s advisable that you use sanitary towels in postpartum bleeding because they reduce the chances of an infection. Don’t have sex as long as you have lochia. Before you decide to have sex, see your gynaecologist. If sexual intercourse is still painful, don’t have sex for a few days. Namely, it’s a sign that your body still isn’t ready for penetration. While you’re bleeding, change sanitary towels every four hours, even if they aren’t full. Thus, irritation and the chances of an infection of the vagina will be prevented.


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