Postpartum Bleeding

Topic Overview

Immediately after delivery, you will have a bloody discharge (lochia) from the vagina. This will turn pinkish within a week and become white or yellowish after about 10 days. Lochia may last for 4 to 6 weeks, but it should be less bloody after 2 weeks. It can come and go for about 2 months.

Use pads, rather than tampons, during this time. If you have a tear next to the vagina (perineal tear) or an episiotomy that is healing, change the pad at least every 4 hours to prevent irritation and infection.

How much bleeding is too much?

Call your doctor right away if you:

  • Have bleeding that soaks through your usual pad each hour for 2 or more hours.
  • Have bloody discharge that continues beyond 4 to 6 weeks.
  • Pass blood clots larger than a golf ball over several hours.

Don't be concerned if you pass occasional blood clots, as long as they are smaller than a golf ball.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: May 29, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Thomas M. Bailey, MD, CCFP - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Endocrinology

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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