Should You be Worried if You Have Postpartum Bleeding?

Even though postpartum bleeding is normal after both vaginal and cesarian deliveries, excessive amounts can evolve into a life threatening condition. For example, if the bleeding is being caused by retained tissue, uterine damage, or an infection, the bleeding will become more severe.  In addition, if you have an infection, it can easily get into the bloodstream and then travel all over the body.  At the very least, you should know the difference between normal postnatal bleeding and situations that require medical attention.

Characteristics of Normal Postpartum Bleeding

If you have ever had dental extractions, or some other type of surgery, then you know that the worst bleeding will usually occur in the first 24 – 48 hours.  When it comes to normal bleeding after delivery, you will most likely need hospital grade pads for the first 2 – 3 days. After that, you should be able to use extra thick conventional pads, and then taper down to lighter ones as the days go by.   As with a menstrual period, you may also notice that the blood will become darker in color, as well as drier.  Even though some gushing may be normal when you first stand up, it should subside as soon as the vagina empties out.

Interestingly enough, breastfeeding will not affect the severity of bleeding, but may change the number of days involved.  A study published by Obstetrics and Gyencology indicates that non-breast feeding women will usually endure postnatal bleeding for about two weeks. By contrast, women who breast feed bled for an average of 27 days.  In this particular study, all of the women had given birth to previous children, and had also breast fed them.

Symptoms of Abnormal Bleeding

In general, any increase in bleeding after the first 24 – 48 hours should be considered suspicious. If you notice clots, nausea, dizziness, or fever, it may indicate that an infection is developing.   In a similar way, constant gushing, even when you are sitting down may indicate some type of internal damage that needs to be addressed. Even if these symptoms develop near the end of the postpartum period, you should seek immediate attention from your doctor, or go to an emergency room.

There is no question that postpartum bleeding can be fairly disturbing even if you have experienced it after delivering other babies.  That said, it is also important to realize that bleeding after delivering a baby insures that antibodies reach damaged areas of the uterus in order to kill off any infections that may try to take hold.  As may be expected, if you suspect that bleeding exceeds normal limits, or you feel sick from it, then you should see a doctor as quickly as possible.

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