Warning: This article contains graphic descriptions of post-birth and postpartum bleeding! You’ve just become a mum. Your stitches hurt and you’re still not sure how breastfeeding works. Never mind that — what’s with all this blood?
Regardless of whether you delivered vaginally or by Caesarean section, you'll still experience postpartum bleeding from your vagina. At first, expect it to be very heavy and red in colour. The amount of blood will gradually reduce over the following days and weeks and will change to a brownish colour over time. It can last anywhere from two to six weeks after delivery (sometimes longer) - so you should seriously stock up on maternity pads!
Nobody can ever fully prepare you for how messy birth and its aftermath is but knowing that you’ll be bleeding afterwards is an important part of preparing for your life postpartum. Lochia is perfectly normal after birth, but if you do bleed for longer than outlined in the above stages, pass a lot of blood clots or if you aren’t feeling well, don’t hesitate to consult a nurse or your GP.
Find out more about what to expect from your period before and after pregnancy with our pregnancy advice.
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.
Sort of, except it’s much heavier, especially in the beginning. It might also be a slightly different colour. 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.
Every person is different, but you can expect to bleed for between two to six weeks.
It’s recommended that you don't use tampons in the weeks after childbirth. Wait until after your six-week check and your post partum periods start again before using tampons.