The Longest "Period" Ever
You may have heard about the vaginal discharge known as lochia, but you weren't expecting it to be so, well, bloody. Although it's not pretty, it's only benign leftover blood, mucus, and tissue from your uterus. Regardless of how you deliver, the flow can be as heavy as, if not heavier than, your period. Tampons can put you at risk for infection, or cause pain or irritation, so use heavy-duty pads instead. "For the first few days after delivery, expect to change your pad every couple of hours," says Eileen Ehudin Beard, a nurse-midwife and family nurse-practitioner in Silver Spring, Maryland. The amount of discharge should decrease from there.
HANDLE IT AT HOME
Stock up on cheap underwear. Breastfeeding can minimize the mess too. "Nursing helps the uterus contract, which, in turn, decreases the blood flow," Beard says. Above all, take it easy, Momma. If the discharge has turned pink or brown but then suddenly becomes bright red again, or if the flow begins to increase, you're overexerting yourself.
DIAL YOUR DOC
If bleeding saturates more than one pad an hour for more than a few hours, or is bright red after the first week, or if you're having abdominal pain or swelling after the first few days of giving birth, contact your M.D. "It's okay to pass small clots during the first week postpartum, but passing multiple big clots could be a sign of hemorrhaging," Beard says.