Postpartum Bleeding: All About Lochia

What’s normal and how long it should last for.

Whether you’ve had a vaginal or C-section birth, you will experience a vaginal discharge called lochia which isn’t too dissimilar from a period. In the first days following your birth, your midwife will regularly examine your uterus to ensure it is contracting down normally and check that your lochia is not too heavy.

Some birthing people choose to use two maternity sanitary pads or adult nappies for the first days of lochia but you should be able to use just one pad soon enough. It may start out heavier but should get lighter with each day, lasting for approximately 3-6 weeks after birth. The lochia will be bright red in appearance at first, eventually becoming pinkish-brown and then a yellowish-white colour. To reduce your risk of infection, it’s important that you do not use tampons or a menstrual cup during this time and change your pad or period underwear often.

If you pass any clots of blood, you should let your LMC know. Keep the pad with the blood clot in a zip lock or plastic bag to show your midwife as there is a chance it may be retained placenta. If your lochia is smelly, you should discuss this with your LMC also as you may have developed an infection.