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There are lot of changes happening to the body after the baby is born and postpartum bleeding is one of them. Apart from having the baby to take care of, one has to take of her body as well. Constipation, fatigue, mood swings and postpartum bleeding are some of the side-effects a woman bears after giving birth to a little one. A few days after delivery are marked by vaginal bleeding called lochia. It lasts for a few days varying from woman to woman.
The days after delivery are marked by a busy schedule and lots of work for the mother. Also, during this period, the bleeding is quite high and body’s resistance is very low. So the mother needs to take good care of her body. A mother must have complete information about lochia. Some important facts are discussed here in the following section.
The uterus is designed for implantation, development and expelling a foetus not once but several times. During the gestation period, the uterus continually grows to accommodate the growing baby. After the delivery process is over, the uterus starts to shrink, to eventually come back to its original size. This process is known as “involution”, which starts after the placenta is expelled. The area where the placenta is located in the uterus is rich in blood vessels, and its contraction results in bleeding. The uterus wall that was designed to keep the baby inside the uterus disintegrates in the form of bleeding. Involution process gets over quickly, but bleeding lasts for a few days.
The bleeding changes its colour and quantity over a period. For a first few days, it is bright red, which is known as “lochia rubra”. Further the colour changes from red to pink or brown to yellowish white over the remaining period. Generally, bleeding lessens over time, but there can be sudden increase at intermittent intervals. Most commonly, the real bleeding stops within a few days. A woman normally bleeds from 2 to 3 weeks after delivery, although, the period can extend up to 6 weeks. All women have postpartum bleeding, regardless of having a vaginal delivery or a caesarean section.
To reduce the vaginal bleeding, the mothers need to breastfeed their child. The process of breastfeeding causes the uterus to shrink faster and thus minimises bleeding. Apart from breastfeeding, one needs to have proper rest in this duration. This will ease the pain and discomfort. Also, lying low for the first few days will reduce the gush of blood and relax the body.
To deal with lochia, most women carry sanitary pads with them to the hospital as soon as they go into labour. The hospital supplies these to the mother so that she does not have any discomfort. One must not use tampons for the first few weeks of lochia as they may introduce bacteria that can lead to infection. Also, steer clear of swimming for at least a month after the baby is born. If you have had a C-section, you must take bath according to the doctor’s instructions too. Apart from this, one must consult a doctor and have iron-rich foods if one is anaemic. It will be helpful in maintain the energy level of the body.
When the colour of lochia changes from bright red, it is an indication that it is going to end soon. However, if there is a sudden change in the discharge, or it has large clots, one must consult a doctor immediately. The bright red flow must stop after a week. If the bleeding is accompanied with fever, all this indicate troublesome signs. In such situations, medical attention is needed immediately. Postnatal bleeding clears up on its own in a few weeks. But, if there are any unusual situations, one must be rushed to the nearest hospital.