Understanding post partum bleeding

Now that you have embarked on the exciting new chapter of becoming a mummy, are you probably very eager for your body to return back to normal. However, you need to be patient with yourself, because even as your body is on its way back to normal, it will take some time to get back to your old self. Yes, you can finally wave goodbye to all those uncomfortable pregnancy aches and pains, but say hello to a new series of post partum ones.

Post partum bleeding, for instance, is a rather surprising aftermath of pregnancy if you were not prepared for it. For the first few days to weeks after your labour, you will experience something very similar to your period. The amount of blood you’ll notice can be shocking, but usually post partum bleeding is completely normal, and no cause for alarm.

Related: How I delivered my baby by natural birth

What causes post partum bleeding?

Post partum bleeding is heaviest directly after birth, for obvious reasons, if you think what your body just went through. This bloody discharge is commonly called lochia, and it is actually quite similar to your heaviest period, with the exception that this “period” is also comprised of mucous and uterine tissue – mostly from where the placenta was attached. Lochia has its roots in the Greek word meaning “related to childbirth”, so as you can see, there is nothing abnormal about this condition.

You will experience your heaviest bleeding for the first three days after labour, but can last up to 10 days before it tapers off. Don’t be surprised if you notice a slight increase in your bleeds when you go home. Being up and about is enough to increase the blood flow. When you are on your feet, you will most likely experience an even flow, but the blood can come out sporadically in small gushes, especially if you’ve been lying down. Just like your period, blood collects in your vagina when you are in a stationary position, and will come out at once when you start moving.

Once bleeding is on the decrease, it will change from red to pink to brown, and finally turn white towards the final throes.

RELATED: Dad’s guide to caring for baby without mum

Learn how to manage post partum bleeding on the next page