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How Long Do You Bleed After Giving Birth?

How Long Do You Bleed After Giving Birth?

Question: How long do you bleed after giving birth?

Answer: The normal standard for postpartum bleeding ranges anywhere between 4-8 weeks. This means that most women bleed for an average of 6 weeks after they've given birth, but many women fall before and after this range of time.

So you just pushed a baby out of your vagina, or you suffered through a C-section, feeling what it was like to have a human removed from your open stomach. Either way, you've been through a serious battle, and your uterus is still healing for weeks afterward. How long do you actually bleed after giving birth?

What's Normal Varies

The answer to this question varies depending on the woman and how her birth went. For example, women who received a C-section typically don't bleed as long since they had their uterus cleared out during the surgery. Women who breastfeed also receive more oxytocin which causes their uterus to contract and may reduce the flow of blood sooner. However, know that this process takes time as your uterus heals and begins to get back into its original shape and hormonal cycles.  

The normal standard for postpartum bleeding ranges anywhere between 4-8 weeks. This means that most women bleed for an average of 6 weeks after they've given birth, but many women fall before and after this range of time. As long as your bleeding is not bright red after five days, and the amount of blood doesn't seem like too much, you really have nothing to worry about.

When To Call Your Doctor

Here are some reasons why you would call your doctor about postpartum bleeding:
  1. Your discharge or "lochia" is bright red for more than five days after you've given birth
  2. The discharge has developed a foul smell
  3. Blood clots are larger than the size of a golf ball and you're bleeding through a heavy pad in less than an hour
  4. You feel light headed and dizzy
The first sign means that there's still "new blood" coming from your uterus and that the blood vessels have not closed as they should have. This may prompt a treatment of pitocin or synthetic oxytocin to make your uterus contract and close the blood vessels. A foul smell that develops often signals some type of postpartum infection, and the last two issues are definite signs of a postpartum hemorrhage.

Dealing With the Bleeding

If you don't notice any of the above symptoms, you're probably just fine. Even if your bleeding continues as long as eight weeks, know that each woman is different. If you've started the "mini-pill" or a progestin-only form of birth control (usually prescribed to breastfeeding mothers), then this may cause you to spot for several weeks as well.

Do not use tampons or any type of insertable feminine products until you are six weeks postpartum. The reason for this is to prevent introducing any type of bacteria into your uterus until after it has fully healed. It's for this same reason that you're told not to have intercourse for six weeks after the baby is born. The last thing you need is an infection!

Keep Things Clean

Use sanitary pads to catch the flow, and change them often. If you're worried about cleaning yourself down there after you've used the bathroom, you can always invest in a Fridet Mom Washer to clean things easily.

Upside Down Peri Bottle - FRID

This product is approved for postpartum use and works a lot better than the hospital syringe or squirt bottle you'll get! You can also use it in the shower, or any time you feel the need to freshen things up down there. Wiping isn't an option for a while, particularly if you tore during delivery, so use this tool to gently keep things clean.

As always, take any questions or concerns you have to your OBGYN or midwife so they can provide a treatment if needed, and alleviate any fears.

Featured Header Image PC: @hayley.henderson SaveSave
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