The first few days after giving birth is a complete new experience. You have a baby, you have feed her, understand her sleep cycles, what she needs when she is crying and more. You also look forward to emotionally reconnect with your partner. However, inspite of all of these excitement, you also need to take care of yourself and get plenty of rest.
First Things First: Taking Care Of Postpartum Bleeding
Right after your baby is born, you will be experiencing bleeding. Even if the amount shocks you (considering that for nine months there was no bleeding), it’s important to understand that its quite normal.
The postpartum bleeding, also known as lochia is the highest right after you have given birth. So, for the first few days, you might need to use the hospital-provided maxi pads before using the commercial ones. Sometimes, you may also feel a gush of blood right after you stand up. This is nothing to worry about, as your vagina isn’t straight (after a normal vaginal delivery) and blood pools up in the area.
Day one, you would usually see normal range of blood color (red to dark brown) with some clots (both big and small). If you are concerned about the amount of blood loss, your clot size, consult your midwife immediately. From day two to six, the blood color might be darker and you may still pass on some blood clots. From day seven to ten, the blood being passed out would gradually become lighter and the flow less heavier. In three to four weeks, if loss is still present, it would possibly be of white to cream color. After six weeks, you might bleed for the normal range but it usually is for some days. (it can also occur all the time) Now is the time to go for a post-natal checkup.
Ask your doctor if you want to use tampons. Also, when breastfeeding, the color of the blood might change and the flow might be a little heavier than usual. It is best to get as much rest as possible during this time.
What Is Normal (And What Is Not!)
Consult your doctor or midwife if:
- Lochia is bright red even after four days of childbirth
- The bleeding is accompanied by foul smell and fever and chills
- Abnormally heavy bleeding (you might need to save up some of these maxi-pads to show to the doctor)
Getting Your First Period After Childbirth
There are some studies that showed a correlation of breastfeeding and getting their first period. However, whether you’re nursing, or not, every woman’s body is different and currently, there is no reliable way to predict the first period after childbirth.
Don’t panic if your menses come back lighter or heavier than it was before you gave birth. You might also find that your cycles are irregular, so opt for a birth control as soon as you start having sex again. This would keep you from being pregnant again as eggs do get released irrespective of regularity of the cycles.
If the periods are still not regular after two cycles, or if there is heavy bleeding in the first two cycles, let your doctor know.
Maintaining Personal Hygiene
It is important to remember that postpartum bleeding is normal irrespective of the kind of childbirth. There is no reason for panic, and the most important task during this period for you is to watch your health and maintain good hygiene.