Things To Know About Postpartum Bleeding

Things To Know About Postpartum Bleeding
April 18, 2024 by admin

Postpartum bleeding, or lochia, is the vaginal discharge that normally occurs after giving birth. It is a mix of blood, uterine tissue, and mucus and has a stale and musty odour like discharge during the menstrual period. It may last for several weeks and is often heavy in the beginning but gradually reduces and goes away. It is part of your body’s healing process and normally does not cause any complications. If you reside in Chrompet, Chennai, and are experiencing excessive postpartum bleeding, it is a good idea to consult with the best gynecologist in Chrompet.

Though each woman is different, postpartum bleeding generally follows the same progression in terms of colour and volume. In the beginning, it is blood and then turns into whitish mucus. The discharge will be heavy and dark or bright red in colour for three to four days. There may also be a few small clots. You may need to change your pad once every two to three hours. In about a week, the discharge becomes lighter, more watery, and pinkish brown in colour. In 10 to 14 days, the colour of the discharge changes to a creamy and yellowish-white colour.

Three Stages And Duration Of Postpartum Bleeding

There are three stages of lochia. However, the duration of these stages and the appearance of lochia vary from one woman to another.

First Stage: Lochia Rubra

  • Dark/bright red blood
  • Lasts for 3 to 4 days
  • Heavy period-like flow and mild cramping
  • Small clots may be present

Second Stage: Lochia Serosa

  • Less bloody pinkish-brown discharge
  • Thinner and more watery compared to lochia rubra
  • Lasts for 4 to 12 days
  • Moderate flow
  • Fewer or no clots

Third Stage: Lochia Alba

  • Yellowish white discharge
  • Little or no blood
  • Spotting or light flow
  • Lasts for about 12 to 14 days but can continue up to six weeks
  • No clots

After the delivery, your uterus starts anew. It sheds all the blood, tissue, and other materials that have been present during the months of pregnancy. That’s why Lochia consists of:

  • Blood
  • Uterine lining tissue
  • Amniotic fluid
  • Bacteria and other microorganisms
  • Leftover foetal membranes
  • Cervical mucus

Lochia smells like menstrual blood. It has a musty, metallic, or stale odour. If it smells fishy or foul, it means that bacteria have entered your vagina and caused an infection.

Though lochia and menstrual blood seem similar, they both have distinct smells. In the beginning, they are dark red in colour and the discharge will be heavy. Another similarity between the two is that the bleeding subsides before stopping. However, the biggest difference between them is that postpartum bleeding lasts for a longer time. While the menstrual bleeding lasts for about a week, lochia continues for about six weeks in the case of most women.

As mentioned before, there can be variations in postpartum bleeding for each woman. The colour, consistency, and duration often vary. Furthermore, some factors have an impact on bleeding. You may have more lochia:

  • During or following physical activity such as climbing stairs or walking
  • While breastfeeding
  • When you get out of bed and stand up in the morning


Most healthy women can tolerate a loss of approximately 500 ml to 1,000 ml of blood after delivery. However, a loss of more than 1,000 ml of blood immediately after delivery is considered a postpartum haemorrhage and a medical emergency. Treatment needs to be provided immediately.

The warning signs of postpartum haemorrhage include:

  • Abnormal changes in blood pressure levels (orthostasis)
  • Low blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Low urine output
  • Chest pain

Not treating postpartum haemorrhage can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome, hypovolemic shock, disseminated intravascular coagulation, acute renal failure, loss of fertility, pituitary necrosis, or even death.

Steps To Be Taken During Postpartum Bleeding

It takes several weeks to heal after delivery. Therefore, it is important to take as much rest as possible after your delivery. Having said that here are a few tips on how to manage postpartum bleeding:

  • Use only large-sized sanitary pads for the first six weeks after delivery. Use several large and thick pads every day for at least one week. Changing your pad frequently helps you to prevent infection.
  • Avoid using tampons or inserting anything else into your vagina for at least six weeks. Use them only after consulting with your healthcare provider. This is because uterus bacterial infection can occur due to the use of tampons.
  • As lochia can stain your clothes, wear only undergarments and pants that you don’t mind discarding.
  • Give sufficient time for your body to heal. It might be exciting to start doing your normal activities but they slow down your healing process. It also often causes bleeding to start once again and even become heavier.
  • A foul smell or greenish-coloured vaginal discharge is the biggest indication of infection. You must contact your doctor if the discharge is greenish in colour or foul-smelling.

In conclusion, postpartum bleeding doesn’t usually cause any complications. The bloody discharge should reduce on its own. However, it is important to watch out for abnormal bleeding. Furthermore, you should contact your doctor if you experience any of the unusual symptoms listed below in the weeks following the delivery:

  • Greenish discharge from your vagina
  • The odour of your discharge is worse than it is during your normal period.
  • Excessive discharge or bleeding, soaking a pad on an hourly basis
  • Excessive clotting or the presence of large, golf-ball-sized clots in the discharge
  • Fever, chills, or other symptoms of the flu
  • Swelling or pain in the area around your vagina
  • Dizziness or a feeling that you may faint
  • Pelvic pain or excessive cramping

Sugam Hospital

Sugam Hospital, the best maternity care facility in Chennai, provides comprehensive prenatal, antenatal, and postnatal services. The hospital is well-equipped with all modern facilities such as a diagnostic lab and the blood bank in Chennai to provide top-class care. Furthermore, Sugam boasts of having some of the top maternity care specialists in Chennai on the team.