As a new mom, or even as a seasoned mom who is on her second or more child, postpartum bleeding can be real concern after giving birth to a new bundle of joy. Postpartum bleeding can come with a lot of questions that doctors don’t shed a lot of light on after giving birth. A lot of these questions may be uncomfortable to ask about, or you may get so wrapped up in your new baby you forget to address these concerns and pondering questions. One of the main questions that may be on your mind is, what is considered “normal” postpartum bleeding? What about hygiene or sex, and how to get back to your pre-pregnant self? Let’s dive a little deeper into some of these questions you might be asking as a brand new mom.
Postpartum bleeding, also referred to as lochia, is defined as vaginal bleeding and discharge after birth. It is how the body gets rid of extra blood and tissue in your uterus that helped the baby grow according to WebMD. Research shows that heavy bleeding typically lasts about ten days, and light bleeding or spotting can last up to six weeks after delivery. In the beginning the blood will be more of a darker red and as time progresses the blood or fluid turns into a pink or light brown discharge.
Of course, every woman is different and the bleeding and spotting can occur for longer or shorter durations. It is hard to define what is “normal” postpartum bleeding because of this. The main concern doctors want you to be aware of is postpartum hemorrhaging.
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As a word of caution a good guideline to to follow is if you are experiencing blood clots bigger than a golf ball and if you are soaking more than one sanitary pad an hour call the doctor. Better safe than sorry.
It may be a little terrifying to think about what is going on downstairs after giving birth but keep in mind the pelvic floor muscles that surround the vagina create a tightly folded muscle. The muscles that make up the vagina are very resilient and can be very forgiving after giving birth. However, what you may not hear often is what about the smell?
Smell can be something that is alarming or intimidating to talk about. Doctors say that lochia should have a smell like fresh blood or mucous. It can also have a stale-like musty odor, that smells like menstrual discharge. Between your baby’s bowel movements and your postpartum bleeding, a lot of new, and maybe unpleasant, scents will be headed your way. Your best friend after giving birth is going to be a spray bottle. Wiping “down there” can be very intimidating, so use a spray bottle to get up in your goods which can be a lot more appealing to feel refreshed.
Warm water is recommended and patting dry from front to back. Sanitary pads are also going to your best friend, as this is what will absorb all of the postpartum bleeding.
The sanitary pad should be changed each time you use the bathroom or at least four times a day.
Bacteria Associated With Postpartum Bleeding
Both lochia and feces are a feeding ground for bacteria. Stay away from tampons for at least the first six weeks, as they can lead to serious infection. Even though it may seem like a good idea to help soak up the postpartum bleeding, tampons are a huge no no.
Pro Tip: Pads and mesh underwear were absolute life after giving birth for the first couple months.
There is no getting around it, you are going to feel like you are wearing one big giant diaper, just like your baby, and that is absolutely A-Ok. Your comfort after giving birth should be your number one priority. If you are a true fashionista and want to get back to dressing in your cute clothes, there are several options including discrete mesh underwear looks. According to Google reviews, Depend Silhouette Underwear for Women, are the number one rated postpartum underwear. Products like these make it possible for you to go out and about without fear of leaking in public. If you want to curl up and wear sweats and a t-shirt that is perfectly fine as well. Go ahead and rock those jumbo pads and mesh undies, you got this Momma.
SEX & Postpartum Bleeding
The term Irish Twins is defined as siblings that are born less than twelve months apart. The burning question of when you are able to have sex again can be daunting to both you and your partner. There is no required time medically to wait before having intercourse again, but most healthcare professionals recommend waiting four to six weeks after giving birth. If you are worried about sex feeling differently, as you may think birth “stretched” things out down there, Kegels are a good exercise to do to tone your pelvic floor muscles up. Having sex for the first time, just like having your first bowel movement, can be extremely terrifying, but you can get through it.
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Tip: Lubricant can also help with sex if experiencing vaginal dryness.
All in all, postpartum bleeding is an important topic to cover after giving birth. Whether you give birth vaginally or through a c-section there will be some amount of bleeding. Make sure to keep an eye on the bleeding, even with all the busyness and lack of sleep that comes with a new baby. You may notice heavy days and light days. Some women may even experience stopping and starting of postpartum bleeding if they do too much, too soon (like lifting weights or vigorous exercise). That is why it is important to really try and take it easy after birth and give your body the rightful rest it deserves. Having a baby is a HUGE accomplishment and transition in life, give your body some love and plenty of time to get back to its normal self.
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