Postpartum: Normal Bleeding and Discharge
What is Postpartum Bleeding?
Every woman goes through heavy bleeding post her delivery. And it is completely normal. When your body delivers the child then the placenta is separated from your body and thus many blood vessels are opened at that time and this causes blood loss. This blood loss from your body can continue for some 10-12 days depending on women’s age and other health concerns. When your body delivers a child and the placenta is separated then the blood level in your body rises by about 50% and the body sheds this extra blood loss through your uterus. But within some days, the uterus needs to contract and then the blood loss which is called as periods in a women’s body will gradually come back to normal and eventually stop after some days. Normally, every woman stops bleeding within 10-15 days. Your caregiver also gives massage to your uterus which helps the uterus contract and then your bleeding stops gradually. Also, synthetic oxytocin is also provided to the patient so that the uterus contracts in due course of time. Breastfeeding also helps in contraction of the uterus. But the other condition is if your uterus doesn’t contract in due course of time then you might face excessive blood loss which is not at all healthy for the mother.
Lochia is referred to the vaginal discharge which every woman experience after her postpartum period. It is a heavy blood flow which contains mostly blood, a heavy lining of uterus and bacteria. The waste blood is discarded by your body which flows through the uterus.
During initial days just after your delivery, your vagina contains high blood volume and thus you will experience a heavy red blood flow. It comes out either at small intervals or may flow evenly also among few women. If you are resting and lying low for the most amount of time then once when you get up you will notice blood clots for some days.
After some days the discharge color lightens and the quantity also reduces. The color comes closer to light red and the consistency starts becoming more and lighter and thinner. Within 10 days of birth, you will witness that the color is white or yellow-white combination and the texture is more watery.
Within two to four weeks, the lochia will stop eventually. Sometimes you might witness very light blood flow which may be only spotting at quite irregular intervals. But most women experience blood flow which stops maximum by three-four weeks.
In case you are taking any birth control pills like progestin or birth control shot like Depo – Provera then you might experience spotting for another month which is completely normal.
There are three basic stages of Lochia which have been discussed below –
Lochia Rubra – This is the first discharge post delivery. This mostly contains thick blood, membrane, deciduas and lanugo. It lasts no longer than 3-5 days in a woman. It is mostly red in colour because of the presence of blood in it.
Lochia Serosa – By this time your lochia might have got thinner and watery in texture. It is more of yellow or pinkish in colour and the blood quantity and blood clots have also reduced with time.
Lochia Alba – This is the time period when your lochia is at the final stage. There is hardly any more blood. It only has the discharge which is very light yellow in colour. This contains fat, mucus and micro-organisms.
How should the lochia be managed?
There are various easy-peasy ways to manage your lochia. Some of them have been discussed below –
1. Rest – Take as much rest as possible. Taking adequate rest will give time to your uterus to contract and thus the blood flow will reduce in some time.
2. Sanitary Pads – Initially use heavy sanitary pads which will take care of your bleeding post-delivery. After some days or maybe weeks, you can switch to the normal delivery pads.
3. Pee Often – Initially your uterus might be insensitive and thus you won’t feel the need to pee. But the best way is to pee often so that your uterus remains healthy and contracts in due course of time.
4. Tampons – Avoid using tampons as this might increase the risk of getting urinary infections. So, don’t use tampons at all post delivery.