Postpartum Healing: The Lowdown on Lochia

Postpartum Healing: The Lowdown on Lochia

Having a baby is a life-changing event that can bring a lot of joy and excitement. The postpartum period is a special time of transition, filled with joy, love, and plenty of learning experiences. But along with the exciting changes in this new chapter in life come physical changes and adjustments, which can be daunting for some new moms. One of the most common physical changes during this time is lochia. Understanding what lochia is, why it occurs, and how to manage it is essential to your postpartum healing.

What is Lochia?

You just brought a new life into the world, and your body is going through some major changes. One of those changes is lochia, or postpartum bleeding. You might notice that lochia looks similar to menstrual blood, but it's typically heavier and lasts longer. The color can range from pink to brown to yellow, and you might even see clots of blood.

Why Does it Happen?

Don't worry, it's all part of the process! During pregnancy, the uterus expands to accommodate the growing baby and eventually pushes it out during childbirth. Once the baby is born, the uterus starts to contract to its pre-pregnancy size, which is necessary to prevent excessive bleeding. This is where lochia comes in—your uterus is clearing out all of the excess blood and tissue from your pregnancy.

What to Expect?

In the beginning, you'll notice dark red blood that can be quite heavy. But after about four to 10 days, it should start to lighten up and look more pinkish or brownish.

After about two weeks, it'll look more like spotting, similar to what you might see before or after your period. And over time, it'll become more like watery mucus and be white or yellow. It might also become more irregular, which is totally normal.

It's important to note that the duration and intensity of lochia can vary from woman to woman. For some, it may only last a few days, while for others it can continue for up to six weeks. Factors such as the method of delivery, the size of the baby, and any complications during childbirth can also affect the amount of bleeding.

So, while it might seem like a lot of blood, it's important to remember that it's all part of the healing process. Just be sure to keep an eye on the amount and let your doctor know if you're concerned. And don't forget to take care of yourself during this time - lots of rest and self-care can help your body heal faster.

What Affects the Amount?

Breastfeeding and gentle exercise can also impact the amount of bleeding. Believe it or not, breastfeeding stimulates the release of hormones that can make lochia heavier, so don't be surprised if you experience more bleeding after nursing. Similarly, moderate exercise can help with postpartum recovery, but overexerting yourself can also lead to heavier bleeding.

Bleeding is also usually heavier in the morning. This is because blood can pool in the uterus when you're lying down, so when you get up and move around, it can result in heavier bleeding. But don't worry, this is normal and should decrease throughout the day.

When to Worry 

Although lochia is a normal part of postpartum recovery, it's essential to know when to seek medical attention. Excessive bleeding, or postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), is a cause for concern and should be reported to a doctor. PPH is defined as losing over 500 ml of fluid within 24 hours and occurs in approximately 2% of postpartum women.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor right away:

  • Feeling shaky, feverish, and generally ill
  • Lochia with an intense smell
  • Heavier than expected bleeding, or bleeding that becomes heavier rather than lighter over time

If you're diagnosed with an infection, antibiotics will likely be prescribed. If you're breastfeeding, it's important to remind the health professional to consider medication safety.

Additionally, severe pain in the womb in the six weeks after birth could be a sign of a serious infection called sepsis. If you experience a fever or rash, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Remember to trust your judgment and speak to a health professional if you have any worries about your bleeding after giving birth. Seeking timely medical attention can help ensure a safe and healthy postpartum recovery.

How to Manage Lochia?

As a new mother, it's essential to manage lochia effectively to aid in your healing process.  Rest, proper hygiene, and hydration are all ways to manage lochia.

Rest, Rest, Rest

One of the best things you can do for your body is to rest. During the postpartum period, avoid strenuous activities like heavy lifting or exercises that require a lot of energy. Focus on spending time bonding with your newborn, taking short naps, and relaxing.

Practice Good Hygiene

Maintaining good hygiene is vital during the postpartum period, and regularly changing sanitary pads can help prevent infections. Ensure you clean the perineal area regularly with warm water to keep it clean and dry.

Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking enough water supports your overall health and healing process. Staying hydrated will help you feel better and ease constipation, which can be a problem for new mothers. It's important to urinate regularly to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). Frequent urination also helps your uterus contract efficiently and reduces painful swelling that might linger after giving birth.

Postpartum Panties

When it comes to managing postpartum bleeding, the right undergarment can make a world of difference! In the beginning, most women use heavy-duty sanitary pads. The hospital will likely send you home with some to get you started.

However, there are other options out there that may provide better comfort and support during this time. One option is the HEAL Postpartum Panty from Mommy Matters. These specially designed underwear are made to provide comfort and support for postpartum bodies. They can also help with managing lochia. 

Our panty provides optimal support while prioritizing breathability and absorption. It's made of super soft, lightweight mesh to keep you feeling comfortable throughout the day. Plus, the C-section-friendly design ensures that even moms who had a surgical birth can benefit from wearing our panties. We know that this can be a difficult time for new moms, and we wanted to provide as much comfort and relief as possible, so we included a soothing gel insert. This insert can be frozen to provide extra relief from pain and swelling in the perineum area. 

Understanding and managing lochia is a crucial part of the postpartum journey. While it may seem daunting, proper hygiene practices, rest, and postpartum garments like the HEAL Postpartum Panty can make a world of difference for new mothers. Remember that every woman's experience is unique, and if there are any concerns or questions about lochia or postpartum recovery, consulting a healthcare provider is always recommended. With these tips and a little bit of self-care, new mothers can navigate the postpartum phase with greater comfort and confidence. So take care of yourself, mama, and remember to give yourself time to heal. You got this!

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Disclaimer: This is general medical information and not specific medical advice.  It does not and should not replace diagnosis or treatment by your healthcare provider. If you are seeking personal recommendations, advice, and/or treatment, please consult your physician. If you have an emergency, you should contact 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.