What to expect after birth
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about post-natal bleeding.
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What is post-natal bleeding??
After your baby has been born, regardless of whether you had a normal delivery or a Caesarean section, you’ll experience bleeding released from the vagina. At first the bleeding can be very heavy and red in colour, especially if you’re breastfeeding. It gradually gets less and less over the following days and weeks and will change to a brownish colour over time.
This bleeding after birth is called lochia and comes in three stages. It is your body’s way of getting rid of the lining of your uterus. It can last anywhere from two to six weeks after delivery (sometimes longer) – hence the need to stock your hospital bag (and home) up with maternity pads!
- Lochia rubra is the first discharge of blood you will notice and is comprised of blood and shreds of fetal membranes. It is generally quite red in colour and may last for between 3-5 days following birth. During this time you may find you are changing your pad quite frequently.
- Lochia serosa is the term used to describe when lochia has thinned out and turned brownish or pink in colour. It is made up of predominantly red blood cells, cervical mucus and micro-organisms and can be noticed for between 5-10 days following birth.
- Lochia alba is the name for lochia once it has turned whitish or creamy-yellow. It typically lasts from 2-6 weeks after delivery. It contains fewer red blood cells and more white blood cells, tissue, mucus and again micro-organisms.
Lochia (post-natal bleeding) is perfectly normal following the birth of your baby, but if you find that any of these stages continue longer than stated, it may be worth having a chat to your midwife or GP.
Why do you bleed after birth??
Bleeding after birth occurs as your body needs to get rid of the lining of your uterus. The discharge itself is the blood, cells, mucus and tissues shedding from the womb once your baby has been born.
Is bleeding after birth like a period??
Bleeding after birth is sometimes described as being like a period however it is often much heavier, especially immediately after your baby is born and for the first few days. It may also differ to a period in colour. You will notice the colour of the flow changes over time starting off bright red, then pinkish-brown, and finally, creamy or off-white coloured. If you’re breastfeeding it can make the bleeding redder or heavier.
How long does bleeding after birth last??
Every woman’s experience is different but bleeding after birth typically lasts for between two and six weeks.
Which products are best to use for bleeding after birth??
To absorb post-natal bleeding, it is recommended that you use maternity pads, rather than normal sanitary pads, immediately after giving birth and for the next few weeks. Maternity pads are designed to absorb the very heavy bleeding experienced post-birth and are usually softer, thicker, more absorbent and longer than a regular sanitary pad. These features help to prevent leaks, provide greater comfort and are particularly important if you’ve had stitches or your skin feels more delicate than usual.
Lil-Lets super absorbent maternity pads have been designed with mums in mind. These extra-long, contoured, maxi thick pads absorb in seconds, holding fluid deep in the core and feature wings for added security, a wider back for extra coverage & protection and a super soft cover which is kind on delicate skin. Lil-Lets maternity pads are also fragrance free and gently cushioned for your comfort. Each pad is individually folded and wrapped for discretion and easy disposal. Perfect for use before and after the birth of your baby, to help you feel more secure and confident, so you can focus on your new arrival.
Are maternity pads only for use after birth??
Maternity pads are mostly used post-birth to manage bleeding experienced after birth, although some women with very heavy periods also use them on a monthly basis.
Some women also use them during labour, when travelling to hospital, to stop any leaking once their waters have broken.
If your waters break before labour starts, call your midwife. Use a maternity pad (not a tampon) so your midwife can check the colour of your waters.
Some women with very heavy periods, choose to use maternity pads to manage their period on a monthly basis.
How many maternity pads will I use/how often will I need to change them??
Probably more than you think! Aim to purchase 3-4 packs of 10 maternity pads before your baby is born, taking two packs into hospital with you. You’ll need to pack at least 2 packs of maternity pads in your hospital bag, as your post-natal bleed will be at its heaviest immediately after your baby is born and you may need to change your pad every hour or two. This will reduce to every three to four hours over the next few days, and will continue to reduce as the weeks go by, so you’ll need to keep some in stock at home too!
How do I dispose of maternity pads??
It’s best to dispose of maternity pads in a sanitary bin or with household waste. The great news is that Lil-Lets maternity pads are individually wrapped so you can put your used pad into the wrapper of your new pad and then pop it in the bin! Alternatively, you could use a nappy sack, sanitary bag, or wrap in some toilet tissue. Never try to flush your maternity pad.
When should I switch to normal pads??
This is completely up to you. For the first few days and weeks, when the bleeding is at its heaviest, its best to use maternity pads as they are designed to absorb very heavy bleeding and provide you with the greatest coverage and protection. As your flow becomes lighter, you may want to move to using a sanitary pad, it’s your choice!
When you feel ready to do this why not try Lil-Lets Super Soft Pads? Lil-Lets ultra-thin, super soft pads have a cotton-soft cover which feels incredibly comfy on your skin. Hidden, micro-gel beads lock-in fluid for all over absorption and secure, stay-put wings offer peace of mind protection. These pads are completely fragrance free for those that prefer a non-scented pad and are individually wrapped so you can pop them in your handbag if you’re out and about. Available in three absorbencies (Normal, Long and Night) to suit your flow.
Can I use a tampon after giving birth??
It is recommended that you don’t use tampons in the weeks after childbirth. Wait until after your six-week check and your periods start again before using tampons.
If you have further questions, talk to a medical professional.
Do Lil-lets Products Contain Chlorine Bleach??
Chlorine bleach and fluorescent brightening agents are not used in the making of Lil-Lets SmartFit™ tampons, Lil-Lets Pads or Lil-Lets Liners. Production of the absorbent materials that go into tampons, pads and liners involves purification with either elemental chlorine free or totally chlorine free processes ensuring they are hygienic and free from impurities.