Content Map Terms

Vaginal Care After Giving Birth


Woman on bed holding newborn baby



After giving birth, the area around your vagina needs special care.  

Here's some advice on coping with discomfort, bleeding and other related issues.


After a vaginal delivery, the area between your legs may be sore, bruised and swollen. If you have stitches, you may experience more pain. To ease discomfort:

  • Cool the area with crushed ice or tap water for short term relief. Do not put ice directly on your skin. Place a towel or pad between the ice and the skin.
  • Clean your perineum by pouring warm water over your vaginal area or sitting in a warm bath.
  • Use pain relievers as needed. 
  • Sit on a soft cushion to relieve pressure on your bottom.
  • Do pelvis strengthening exercises (Kegels).

Vaginal Bleeding (Lochia)

DID YOU KNOW? You can become pregnant again before your period returns and while you are breastfeeding. If you do not want another pregnancy, use birth control.

You can expect to have bleeding and discharge from the your vagina for about two to six weeks.
During the first two to three days, flow is dark red with small clots about the size of a loonie. It should soak less than one maxi pad every two hours and have no foul odor. Flow then lessens and becomes brownish to pinkish in colour, similar to bleeding during the latter part of a menstrual period. After the 10th day, discharge is yellowish white or brown. If your flow does not lessen, smells bad, or persists longer than six weeks, call your health care provider.


Use pads, not tampons, until any incisions or vaginal tears are healed.


Your period may not start while your baby's only source of food is breastfeeding. If you do not breastfeed, your period will usually return four to nine weeks after the birth. 

Last Updated: August 5, 2013