After childbirth, it is normal to lose a substantial amount of blood. This is because your body would have produced 50 percent more blood while you were pregnant.
After you deliver, your uterus contracts to get back to normal size, and in the process you experience postpartum bleeding.
If you have had postpartum bleeding for the first time in your first delivery, understand that this process is as natural as childbirth itself. Your womb that was expanded during pregnancy will now shrink back to the normal size.
Causes Of Postpartum Bleeding?
Below are the vital reasons why you experience bleeding as soon as your deliver.
As soon as you deliver your baby, the placenta will separate from your uterus.
- The open blood vessels in the area where the placenta was attached now rupture and bleed out of your uterus along with the placenta.
- Once the placenta is delivered out along with your baby, your uterus begins to contract, shrinking back to its original state.
2. Episiotomy Or Tearing:
At times, you may have episiotomy or tearing while giving birth naturally.
- This causes bleeding as well.
- Your doctor will stitch up the torn region once the delivery is complete.
3. Oxytocin Hormone:
After delivery, you may be given oxytocin hormone by your doctor to enable your uterus to contract.
- Oxytocin triggers off the vaginal bleeding.
- Breastfeeding is another way your body produces oxytocin naturally. Hence you experience contractions, pains and cramps while nursing your baby in the initial days.
- There will be bleeding accompanied with that.
4. Discharge of ‘lochia’:
Lochia is nothing but the first blood that comes out gushing soon after the placental tissue tears away from the uterus and gets out.
- You will experience moderate to heavy flow of lochia after your delivery.
- The bleeding slowly reduces in a week’s time, where you will see the vaginal discharge slowly turning pink and then white.
- The time taken for bleeding to stop varies on an individual basis.
- Some women experience bleeding for several weeks in intermittent flow, while the others get over with faster.
5. Birth Control Pills:
You are likely to experience blood spotting if:
- You are on progestin only birth control pill (mini pill)
- Or have taken the birth control shot (Depo-Provera)
- This is perfectly normal.
Measures To Follow During Postpartum Bleeding:
Below are few things that you can follow to make yourself comfortable while enduring the process of bleeding after delivery:
- Use hygienic disposable heavy duty sanitary pads given by hospital for the first few days. These are extremely helpful in handling that heavy flow soon after delivery.
- Do NOT use tampons as your vagina and uterus are still healing and are more prone to catch external infections.
- Switch to mini pads after the flow slows down a bit.
- Pee every often to help your bladder and the abdomen. A heavy bladder can pose difficulty for your uterus to contract, so keep it empty.
- Get plenty of rest during the bleeding phase.
Red Alerts During Postpartum Bleeding:
While bleeding is natural, it is important for you to check few signs that look out of the ordinary. These signs have to be reported to your doctor immediately:
- Foul smelling odor from the discharge causing fever and chills.
- The lochia is bright red even after four to five days after delivery
- A significantly abnormal postpartum bleeding accompanied with blood clots. (The blood clots large in size are a sign of late postpartum hemorrhage and require immediate medical attention).
- Unexplained excessive postpartum bleeding that weakens you or makes you dizzy.
Talk to your health care provider in case of any questions about abnormal signs of bleeding.
Other than that, postpartum bleeding goes away on its own in due course of time. Make sure you take plenty of rest and eat well.