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Maternity Pads & Managing Postpartum Bleeding

Read all about post-partum bleeding and how to prepare for it with maternity pads.

Usually, maternity pads are used after giving birth to manage postpartum bleeding, but some women also use them during labour, when travelling to the hospital, or to stop any leaking once their water has broken. If your water breaks before labour starts, call the hospital and use a maternity pad so the nurses can check the colour of your waters.

What is postpartum bleeding (lochia)

After giving birth, postpartum bleeding (lochia) is very common. Lochia, as it’s called, is your body’s way of shedding the lining of your uterus. The discharge itself is the blood, cells, mucus and tissues shedding from the womb once your baby has been born. It is a normal process which may last for up to six weeks after delivery.

The three stages of lochia

  • Lochia rubra: Comprised of blood and shreds of foetal membranes, it’s generally quite red and may last for between three to five days following birth. You’ll probably change your pad quite often.
  • Lochia serosa: The lochia has thinned out and turned brownish or pink. Made up of predominantly red blood cells, cervical mucus and micro-organisms, you’ll see it for around 5-10 days following birth.
  • Lochia alba: Whitish or creamy-yellow, it typically lasts from two to six weeks after delivery. It contains fewer red blood cells and more white blood cells, tissue, mucus and again, micro-organisms.

How to manage postpartum bleeding

Regardless of whether you delivered vaginally or by caesarean section, you'll still experience postpartum bleeding from your vagina. Expect to see the flow start off bright red, turn pinkish-brown, and finally, become creamy or off-white. Breastfeeding can sometimes make the bleeding redder or heavier — it’s a hormone thing. The amount of blood will gradually reduce over the following days and weeks and will change to a brownish colour over time. Postpartum bleeding can last anywhere from two to six weeks after delivery (sometimes longer) - so you should seriously stock up on maternity pads!

While it's natural and common, postpartum bleeding can be heavy and uncomfortable. It's important to manage it properly to avoid any discomfort or infections. Here are some tips on how to manage postpartum bleeding:

  1. Use maternity pads: Regular pads may not be enough to absorb the heavy flow, so it's important to use maternity pads. These pads are designed to be thicker and more absorbent to cope with the heavier flow. Lil-Lets has maternity pads that are specifically designed to use after pregnancy. They are super soft, comfortable and provide extra protection to keep you feeling confident.

  2. Change pads frequently: Change your pad frequently, at least every 3-4 hours, to avoid any odours or infection. If you notice any unusual smells or discharge, speak to your healthcare provider.

  3. Use wipes: To keep the area clean and fresh, you can use wipes. Lil-Lets intimate wipes that are specially formulated for postpartum care. They are gentle and won't cause any irritation.

  4. Rest and take it easy: It's important to rest and take it easy during postpartum bleeding. Your body is recovering from childbirth, and rest can help speed up the healing process.

It's super important to manage postpartum bleeding properly to avoid discomfort or infections. By using maternity pads, changing pads frequently, using wipes and resting, you can manage postpartum bleeding effectively. It’s recommended that you don't use tampons in the weeks after childbirth. Wait until after your six-week check and your postpartum periods start again before using tampons.

Nobody can ever fully prepare you for how messy birth and its aftermath is but knowing that you’ll have postpartum bleeding is an important part of preparing for your life post-birth. Lochia is perfectly normal after birth, but if you do bleed for longer than usual, pass a lot of blood clots or if you aren’t feeling well, don’t hesitate to consult a nurse or your GP.


How many maternity pads do I need?

Probably more often than you think. Aim to purchase three to four packs of 10 maternity pads before your baby is born. You need at least two packs in your maternity hospital bag, as you’ll bleed the most straight after your baby is born and you may need to change your pad every hour or two. This will reduce to every three to four hours over the next few days, and will continue to reduce as the weeks go by, so you’ll need to keep some in stock at home too!

How long do you need maternity pads for?

It’s up to you! For the first few days and weeks, when the bleeding is at its heaviest, it’s probably easiest to use maternity maxi pads as they are specially designed to absorb very heavy bleeding. As your flow becomes lighter, you may want to move to using a Lil-Lets maternity ultra pad as you get back to normal — your choice.

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Do I throw maternity pads in the bin?

It’s best to throw them away in a sanitary bin or with household waste. The great news is that Lil-Lets maternity maxi pads are individually wrapped so you can put your used pad into the wrapper of your new pad and throw it away. You could use a nappy sack, sanitary bag, or wrap in some toilet tissue. Just don’t try flush it.

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