Bleeding After Giving Birth | Postpartum Hemorrhage (PPH)
Recently Updated On: June 28th, 2018
Bleeding After Giving Birth
Bleeding after giving birth is what is faced by the mother. Becoming a mother is a beautiful journey from having a glowing skin, flat belly and a perfect figure to a huge stomach carrying a baby inside it, gaining weight during pregnancy, bigger breasts basically, not so perfect figure yet it is beautiful in its own way.
The bodily appearance does not shallow the love of a ‘mother to be’ for her child. Pregnancy is a word which puts a woman in jitters and wonders about her life.
Giving birth to a child includes a lot of pain as it is said when a woman gives birth to a child, she feels the pain of cracking a lot of bones at a single time, but the journey of sweet pain does not end here.
After giving birth to a baby, women experience some blood loss from their uterus until the lining is renewed. The amount of blood in body rises by approximately 50 percent during pregnancy, body is well prepared for this amount of bleeding after giving birth.
Bleeding is done out of vagina and medically it is known as Lochia, which is made up of blood, tissues, and mucous basically it is similar to a menstrual period.
It’s a way that shows how a woman’s body gets rid of the extra blood and tissue in the uterus helped the baby to grow.
Lochia lasts between two to six weeks and it may vary in color throughout the time duration for instance, in the beginning the color is very dark and with some more time it becomes darker and then comes to the original color heading towards the lighter one.
By two to four days bleeding after giving birth will be pinkish and more watery in the volume. By around ten to twelve days bleeding after giving birth, you should have a small amount of white or off white colored discharge.
At this point, the lochia is mostly WBC and cells from the lining of the uterus.
Note- If you don’t want stains on your furniture and bedding then you should wear hospital grade pads, not tampons. During bleeding after giving birth, tampons increase the risk of infection in the uterus.
Frequent Heavy Bleeding After Giving Birth
There can be some situations where one can experience Menorrhagia After Delivery or frequent heavy bleeding after giving birth.
When a woman or you are standing then you feel a gush of blood because of the fact that our vagina is in such a shape that it collects blood like coffee in a cup, similarly blood in a cup-shaped vagina while you are sitting or lying down but when you stand it comes out.
When a baby is carried to home then also a woman bleed a little more because you (woman) are moving around a lot. If this happens then try to stay off your feet and rest a little on the bed.
Painful heavy bleeding after giving birth is usually faced when you go upstairs and then come downstairs or when you lift anything heavier than your baby. Bleeding is done out of the vagina and medically it is known as Lochia.
There are 3 normal stages of lochia. Knowing the stages of Lochia or heavy postpartum bleeding gives an idea to a woman who has given birth about the condition of her body.
Following are the normal stages of lochia:
- Lochia Rubra– This is the period ranging from first 2 to 3 days after delivery. The lochia is mostly bright red blood which is heavier in volume and some blood clots can be seen during this period.
- Lochia Serosa– This is the period ranging from 4th day to 10th day where the color of blood changes a little and becomes pinkish brown. It becomes less heavy and blood clots can be seen here also but less than before.
- Lochia Alba– The period ranging from about 10th day to day 21 where the color of blood becomes creamy or off-white with very less flow of blood and it does not smell and make the body feel stinky.
Heavy Periods After Pregnancy Or PostPartum Hemorrhage (PPH)
Once you deliver the placenta (an organ that grows in your uterus during pregnancy and nourishes your baby), your uterus should contract strongly to shut the blood vessels where it was attached.
The most common cause of bleeding after giving birth is the uterus not contracting down properly. There is a specific term used in medical field, known as uterine atony.
There are two phases of Heavy Postpartum Bleeding, the first one is known as primary postpartum hemorrhage, it is basically the loss of more than 500 ml or 1000 ml of blood within the first 24 hours after giving birth.
Other one is a major Postpartum hemorrhage when there is blood loss of over 1000ml, major PPH after a vaginal birth is rarer and more serious.
Causes Of Bleeding After Giving Birth
Now the question arises, what causes bleeding after giving birth or, there are certain things that can raise the chance of postpartum hemorrhage.
Postpartum hemorrhage is mainly caused by uterine atony. Normally, the uterus squeezes or shrinks after delivery to stop bleeding where the placenta was attached.
With uterine atony, the uterus doesn’t contract the way it has to do and ultimately that causes frequent heavy bleeding after giving birth.
There are some conditions where the risk of postpartum hemorrhage is higher.
- When you give birth to more than one child at a time.
- When a baby is bigger than 8 pounds 13 ounces.
- When you are in labor pain for a longer time
- When you have given birth to children several times before.
- When the uterus tears during the labor.
- When there is an obesity problem.
- When you have a low-lying placenta.
- When you have anemia in labor.
- When delivery is cesarean.
What To Do When Heavy Bleeding After Giving Birth
There is often very little that you can do about frequent heavy bleeding after giving birth, but in some cases, steps can be taken to reduce the risk of having a PPH.
- If you are anemic during pregnancy then intake of iron supplements can reduce the need for a blood transfusion if you have a PPH. Iron supplements are offered sometimes when women are at risk of anemia.
- If you have had a cesarean surgery in previous pregnancy, it is important to check that the placenta is not attached itself to the area of the previous scar (cesarean section) If it has done so, the placenta may not come away easily after birth. This condition is uncommon but can cause major Menorrhagia After Delivery. If remaining part of the placenta is suspected then you may be offered further scans and a team looking after you will discuss some options with you and make a plan for your care. Treating major hemorrhage may include having a blood transfusion.
- Bleeding after giving birth is normal. Initially the bleeding could be heavy but it reduces with the time passes by. You may continue to bleed after birth for several weeks so what you have to do is to wait for some time and rest as much as you can.
- Sometimes bleeding is much heavier than expected and this is known as postpartum hemorrhage (PPH). It is not very common among the women who have given birth to child and bleeding after giving birth. If there is PPH then consultation of doctor is required.
- In the majority of cases, heavy bleeding will settle with simple measures including taking a lot of rest and no movements towards upstairs and downstairs.