After childbirth, bleeding occurs that is abundant in the first three days and although it decreases later, it can last for several weeks. In obstetrics, this hemorrhage is known as postpartum lochia .
It is a natural physiological process in which the body eliminates the remains of the uterine lining that have formed during pregnancy, as well as placental remains, cervical mucus and the secretions produced when the wound left by the placenta after its expulsion heals.
The expulsion of the lochia is favored by mishaps or postpartum contractions .
The wrongs are intense and frequent contractions during the first 24 to 48 hours after giving birth, although they last about a week with less intensity. They are a normal process that helps to return the uterus to its normal state, in addition to facilitating the sealing of the arterial mouths that remain open after giving birth.
In the first three days they are more abundant and red and are made up of blood and vernix caseosa. As the days go by, the lochia are less abundant and become clearer, with a higher content of cervical mucus, leukocytes, etc.
The mother can shower calmly, but for baths it is preferable to wait to prevent possible infections.
For feminine hygiene it is better to use postpartum compresses at the beginning, and then they can be normal compresses. What is discouraged is the use of tampons in these cases due to the possibility of infections.
Three stages of bleeding
We can distinguish three phases in the secretion of lochia. In each of them the bleeding is different:
- The first discharge after childbirth, reddish in color from the abundant presence of blood and, usually, does not last more than 3 to 5 days after delivery . It can flow continuously or on and off and may contain clots, especially if the new mother has been in bed for a while.
- In the second stage, the bleeding is less thick and changes to a brown, light brown or pink color. It contains a serous exudate of erythrocytes, leukocytes, and cervical mucus. This stage continues until about the 10th day after delivery .
- The last stage begins when the discharge turns whitish or light yellowish. It can last up to the third or sixth week after delivery . It contains fewer red blood cells and is made up almost entirely of white blood cells, epithelial cells, cholesterol, fat, and mucus.
How long does postpartum bleeding last?
This bleeding with vaginal secretions lasts between six and eight weeks after giving birth , during the puerperium and will gradually diminish.
We only have to worry and go to the doctor if there is a sudden increase in lochia or a bad smell from them.