Postpartum Bleeding: How Long, Phases, Color
What Is Lochia?
The bloody discharge that occurs right after birth is called Lochia. It is not your period. Lochia is a large wound inside of your body after delivering the placenta, which contains extra blood, mucus, and uterine tissue.
You’re probably asking, “How long will I experience postpartum bleeding? Is there a smell, a color?”
Before we get there, here’s an interesting, crazy fact: the Lochia wound is said to measure 8 1/2 inches, and healing will typically last 4 to 6 weeks.
Until my 6th week postpartum did it come to my attention that there are 3 phases of lochia, each stage unique to each woman.
During your weeks in postpartum, it’s good to pick up as much information as possible. There are many situations where you will feel in limbo. Postpartum care should be at the top of your list. You can avoid feeding depression, and heightening anxiety… as I should’ve done.
The 3 Stages of Postpartum Bleeding: How Long, Color, Flow, Pain
Stage 1: Lochia Rubra
- Color: Dark/Bright red blood
- Estimate Time Range: 3 to 5 days
- Flow: Heavy
- Things not to be alarmed about: small clots
- Pain: Mild to medium cramping
My cramping felt similar to mild-medium contractions, quite painful. Don’t be frightened if this is your experience too.
Stage 2: Lochia Serosa
- Color: Pinkish Brown
- Estimate Time Range: About 12 days
- Flow: Medium
- Things not to be alarmed about: bleeding becomes watery
- Pain: Mild cramping
Step 3: Lochia Alba
- Color: Yellowish White
- Estimate Time Range: Can last up to 6 Weeks
- Flow: Light
- Things to not be alarmed about: leaking is now watery
- Pain: Mild to None
Could Postpartum Bleeding Last Longer Than 6 Weeks?
It is possible for your flow to continue after 6 weeks if you breastfeed or over-exert yourself. eg. working out, having early sex, stress, etc.
From my own experience, the blood stopped and resurfaced for another 5 weeks. You know that feeling when you’re on your period, you laugh, and all of a sudden your period wants to make an uncomfortable appearance… yes… that was me every time I assumed my postpartum bleeding was done.
Is there An Essential That Could Help Me Cope?
The best investment during these early weeks is buying yourself maxi adult diapers. Not only did they help avoid ruining underwear, but also saved furniture/fabrics I’d lounge on.
Also, invest in Maternity pads, not menstrual pads. They are 500 times more absorbent than heavy-flow menstrual pads. For convenience, comfort, and ease, buy yourself maxi pad diapers. Thank me later 🙂
Is There Anymore Information On Lochia I Should Know About?
Prepare yourself for the smell. Lochia has a very interesting…unique odor. I know what you’re thinking and the answer is no, it smells nothing like your period. Honestly, worse. Promisingly, normal.
C section mama’s generally bleed for 3 to 4 weeks. But the average woman lasts 3 to 6 weeks meaning the scale still supports women who bleed in less or more time.
When Should I Contact My Doctor?
Large, extremely painful clots the size of an egg can raise a red flag, take pictures or save your pad to show the midwife/doctor.
If you experience green or black discharge, shaky, dizzy, feverish, or your blood flow is a pint or more of blood (You can tell if you’re changing one filled pad an hour) then contact a doctor right away!
These could be easy signs of a hemorrhage, but please do not make assumptions! Doctor google is not always your friend lol.
The First 40 Days Should
Mama it is vital to sit back, and relax in the first six weeks. As I stated earlier, lochia bleeding can stop and return if you’re overextending yourself. Your body speaks in incredible ways, listen to it.
Let this be a sign to soften and live in the moment with your baby, don’t worry about the labors of the outside world. Read these positive affirmations to help you through postpartum, motherhood, life as a stay-at-home mom, working mom, and other identities in parenthood.
The first 40 days need to be nourished, not only in your baby’s life but in your own. Breathe, heal, trust, and let go mam everything you need is right in front of you.