Whether you enjoyed your pregnancy or were less than thrilled with your pregnancy symptoms, you have your little bundle of joy to show for it. You also get to say goodbye to the physical changes and challenges of pregnancy. But before you can return to your pre-pregnancy self, there are some post-partum symptoms you will have to deal with.
From your milk coming in, to your uterus contracting, there is a lot going on. For example, one symptom, which occurs after you give birth is lochia. Lochia is the vaginal discharge that occurs after you deliver.
You will have lochia even if you delivered via a C-section. Lochia consists of blood, mucus and small amounts of tissue from the uterus. The bleeding is heaviest for about the first ten days after giving birth. It tends to be dark red at first and will become pink, brown and eventually a yellowish-white discharge.
You may experience the discharge for several weeks after giving birth. Although it can vary, most women experience lochia for about two to four weeks. But the good news is the discharge gets lighter gradually. For example, after about a week, lochia may change to a light, watery, pink discharge. As it tapers off, some women may only have intermittent spotting for a few more weeks before it eventually stops.
There is no special management needed for lochia, but there are a few things to keep in mind. During the first few days after delivery when lochia is the heaviest, you’ll likely need a heavy duty sanitary pad. In order to prevent infection and irritation, make sure you change your pad at least every four hours if you had a perineal tear or an episiotomy. Tampons are a no-no since they can introduce bacteria and lead to an infection in your still recovering uterus.
In the first week after delivery, you may also want to skip wearing your favorite undies and outfits even if you fit into them immediately. Lochia can be pretty heavy in the first few days, and leaks are possible.
Also, give yourself permission to take it easy as you are recovering. Pregnancy and childbirth are not always a walk in the park. Doing too much too soon can increase discharge.
Keep in mind, just because you are experiencing vaginal bleeding, it does not mean you are protected from becoming pregnant. Ovulation is possible four weeks after birth. After you heal (in about four to six weeks), if you are up to having sex, be sure to use contraception to prevent an unplanned pregnancy.
How do I Know if There is a Problem?
In most cases, lochia occurs without complications and will gradually taper off. But there may be a problem if you are bleeding excessively. Excessive bleeding may be indicated by soaking a pad every hour or passing large clots. If you have excessive bleeding or pass large clots, always inform your healthcare provider.
If you have foul smelling lochia, chills or a fever, it can be a sign of an infection and requires medical attention. Don’t hesitate to call your healthcare provider if you think something may be wrong. It’s always better to be on the safe side.
Written by Mary Ann DePietro @ writerlady34
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.