Postpartum Bleeding

There are a few reasons why you will experience vaginal bleeding after the birth of your baby. During your pregnancy, the placenta is attached to the inner wall of your womb. After this detaches during labour, it leaves a wound that typically bleeds while it heals. After the birth, your body also naturally sheds the inner lining of your womb for a few days, causing ‘lochia’ bleeding. Another possible cause of bleeding is if your vagina has torn or if you’ve received an episiotomy during labour. After birth, your womb begins to contract to control the flow of blood. If for any reason, your womb does not do this your healthcare provider may massage it to begin the process or prescribe you medication.

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your postpartum bleeding so as to let your healthcare provider know if anything is unusual. In the first day or two, your blood should be bright red and quite heavy. In the next two or three days, the blood should turn a more pink colour and flow lightly. After a week postpartum, your blood flow should appear yellowish and thick. It typically takes around 5 weeks for the wound in your womb to heal fully. It’s possible therefore that you may experience some spotting for up to 6 weeks postpartum. If you notice your blood flow lasting longer than this or becoming heavier or redder, get some rest and let your healthcare provider know. Contact your healthcare provider immediately and make your way to the emergency department if at any point your blood flow soaks through a whole maxi-pad in less than an hour.

It’s common to pass some small blood clots during this time. While you are lying or sitting down, blood can pool and clot in your vagina. When the clot passes, it will appear dark coloured and jelly-like and are not typically a cause of concern. If you notice stringy white bits in your blood, this is likely a piece of the placenta that had not yet left the uterus. This is a reason to monitor yourself and any symptoms you experience more closely as this puts you at a higher risk of heavy bleeding. Symptoms of an infection in your uterus to look out for include fever, pain, and a foul odor to your blood. Contact your healthcare provider if you develop any signs of infection or if you are passing any clots that are larger than a golf ball.

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