The post-partum period, or the time after giving birth, is packed with emotions and excitement. In most cases, the focus naturally shifts from your own body to the health and needs of your new baby. However, your body is still healing and changing after just giving birth. Many new moms are not fully prepared for physical symptoms during the first several weeks after labor, such as post-partum bleeding.
Post-partum bleeding, also known as lochia, is not only natural but needed. After giving birth to a baby, your body initiates a process to fully shed the placenta (the organ that nourished the fetus). In doing so, vaginal bleeding is inevitable. This bleeding is called lochia, which appears as a menstrual-like discharge made up of the mucous membrane lining of the uterus that supported your pregnancy as well as red and white blood cells. Regardless of whether you had a vaginal birth or cesarean delivery, lochia is expected.
While post-partum bleeding has been established as necessary and normal, it is important to be aware of the symptoms that indicate abnormal bleeding and know when you need immediate medical attention.
What to Watch for in Post-Partum Bleeding
Bleeding after delivery can last up to six to eight weeks. You may experience small clots during this time and notice that the color changes from reddish-brown or pink to a whitish, pale shade towards the end. It can even be watery at times. Post-partum moms should wear a pad instead of a tampon to avoid introducing bacteria to the delicate genital tract during this time. If you are concerned about the duration, amount or consistency of your lochia, always call your doctor.
When Post-Partum Bleeding Requires Your Doctor’s Attention
If you are experiencing lochia with the following signs and symptoms, please call our Cumming office to schedule an appointment:
- Excessive bleeding (saturating a pad in less than an hour).
- Getting abnormally large, golf ball sized clots.
- Foul-smelling bleeding or discharge.
- Severe cramping.
- Feeling nausea and dizziness.
- Blurred vision.
- Chills or fever (temperature more than 100.4° Fahrenheit).
- Feeling faint or weak.
- Increased heart rate.
At North Pointe OB/GYN, we want you to be able to enjoy every milestone of your new bundle of joy. While devoting yourself to the needs of your baby, however, don’t lose sight of what is going on with your own body during this turbulent post-partum period. If you are concerned or stressed about your post-partum bleeding, please don’t hesitate to call us.