What to Expect Post Delivery: Lochia (Normal Bleeding and Discharge)
Most people think pregnancy and delivery is all there is to bringing a child into this world but even post delivery a lot of changes occur to your body that is usually very strange but very normal. One of this changes that is very temporary is called Lochia.
Medical Dictionary defines lochia as the bloody discharge that flows from the vagina after childbirth. It's made up of leftover blood, mucus, and tissue from your uterus, mostly from the site where the placenta was attached to the uterine wall.
According to WhatToExpect, you can expect to bleed heavily for the first three to ten postpartum days, after which the bleeding should taper off, turning from red to pink, then brown, and finally to a yellowish white.
Lochia should stop sometime between four and six weeks postpartum.
According to Gynaeonline, there are different types of lochia depending on the colour,
- Lochia Rubra: This occurs in the first 3-4 days after childbirth. It is reddish in colour
- Lochia Serosa: The lochia rubra gradually changes colour to brown and then yellow over a period of about one week.
- Lochia Alba: This is a whitish, turbid fluid which drains from the vagina for about another 1 - 2 weeks.
The amount of lochia will may vary from time to time. In some women, painful contraction of the uterus after delivery (after-pains) may lead to a gush of heavy bleeding with clots which decreases spontaneously. Getting up from a sitting down or lying down position may lead to a rush of blood, this is just drainage of the collected blood in the vagina and is not a cause for worry.
It is advised that you do not use Tampons for the first six weeks because they can introduce bacteria into your uterus causing an infection. This is the same reason why sex during this time is not advised. Instead you can use thick pads. You are also advised to not swim in a public pool.
Call your doctor if:
- Your lochia is still bright red four days after your baby's birth.
- Your lochia has a foul smell or you come down with fever ,which could be a sign of an infection.
- You notice large clots or an extremely heavy flow (so heavy that your pads are soaked every hour).
Sitz bath is recommended during this period to help reduce swelling, clean out vagina and speed up the healing process.
To learn more about Sitz Bath you can go through this article