Wow – your baby has arrived and what an exciting time it is! There are visitors and well wishes, flowers and grow suits, nappy changes and feeds – all at the same time for you to contend with!
There will be so much going on that it might be an idea to know about ‘lochia’, the bleeding that occurs after you’ve given birth before it happens – just so you’re prepared.
So, what happens to your period after your baby is born?
Whether you’ve given birth vaginally or by caesarean, after your baby is born you’ll experience what often seems like the biggest period of your life! It’s called lochia (or sometimes, postpartum bleeding) and like a period, contains blood, mucus and tissue. Unlike a period, it may last up to 4 weeks as your uterus heals from the detachment of the placenta and shrinks back to a non-pregnant state.
It may seem like an awful lot of blood to begin with, but you built up an extra-large supply when you were pregnant so you can afford to lose a bit. However, if it is worrying you, seems excessive and you feel weak, discuss it with your doctor immediately as it may be a sign of internal haemorrhaging.
The first few days are typically the heaviest, with the fluid being a darkish red, often containing clots. This why most hospitals recommend you bring 2-3 packets of maternity pads with you as you may need to change as often as hourly.
It’s also common to experience a ‘gush’ when you stand up as the fluid has pooled while you’ve been sitting or lying – it’s quite usual. If you’re breastfeeding, you might notice strong period-like pains while you’re feeding and have a heavier flow after. This is because the feeding produces hormones which prompt the uterus to contract to help expel the fluid.
Over time, the flow drops off drastically and many new mums chose to use an ultra-thin pad. This is a great option, especially if you’ve managed to wriggle back into some jeans. The flow towards the end is often brownish and can even end up looking like regular discharge. At this point, a liner is typically enough to manage.
Tampons aren’t recommended for lochia.
If you notice an unpleasant smell, if hasn’t stopped after four weeks or it becomes heavy and bright red, if you have a temperature or generally feel unwell, you must see a doctor immediately as it may be a sign of either an infection or a haemorrhage.
For everything, you need to know about pregnancy, visit our sisters at Treasures.