You’ve probably realised by now that childbirth is not as “pretty” or clean as the movies make it out to be. And this is especially true when you realise that it isn’t over once you have the baby in your arms and you start bleeding post-birth – A LOT!
Bleeding for 2-6 weeks after birth often comes as a shock to many but it is completely normal and there’s no need to worry. Maternity pads the size of your baby’s nappies and comfy granny pants will become your best friend for a little while.
Why does this bleeding happen?
This lovely blessing is called lochia and happens to all new mamas as your uterus starts to shed all of the excess blood and mucus from where the placenta was attached. Think of it as your body’s personal spring cleaning.
It’s pretty amazing when you think about it, as it’s your body’s way of getting rid of anything it no longer needs and beginning the process of returning back to normal.
How long will it last?
It is different for every woman and can range anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks. Over the first few days the blood will be heavier and a bright, dark red. Slowly it will become pink and watery as the blood lessens. Eventually, the blood will be slightly brown spotting.
There are a few things you can do to prepare yourself:
Have plenty of maternity pads ready to go!
Stocking up on 2-3 packs of 12 pads each is ideal even if it feels excessive. Having extras on hand is important because you will most likely be switching pads every hour or 2 the first few days, then every 3 hours a few days later. We know these might make you feel like your granny, but trust us the heavy-duty supplies are necessary after creating a new life!
DON’T use tampons
Even if the blood starts to get as light as a regular period, don’t use tampons until your doctor says you can (usually at least 6 weeks). They can cause infection so stick with maternity pads or period underwear.
Opt for practical clothing
Especially in those first few days when the bleeding is likely to be quite heavy, you want to stick with practical and comfortable clothes, possibly in darker colours that can be washed and rid of the possible stains.
Rest and relaxation
Moving around too much or pushing your body can cause heavier bleeding or discomfort, so try your best to take it easy especially in those early weeks. Even when you start to feel better, you need to take it easy, your body is healing and recovering and working overtime even if you can’t feel it.
Bleeding is never enjoyable and often downright uncomfortable, but being prepared and knowing it won’t last forever will help you manage it. Remember that your body has just gone through something amazing to help grow and birth your baby, so allow it the time it needs to heal.