When giving birth, your body sheds off the extra tissue and blood that were fundamental for the growth of your baby.
The blood is usually from remnants of the placenta still attached to the uterine wall.
But is bleeding after C section normal? Yes, it is. In fact, this type of bleeding is a post-natal discharge called Lochia. However, you should watch out for excessive bleeding and other symptoms that require immediate medical attention.
So, let’s take a closer look into when bleeding after c-section is nothing you should worry about.
When Is Bleeding After C Section Normal?
Bleeding after c section is perfectly normal when it presents itself as a menstrual period-like discharge (lochia). However, you should look for signs that indicate whether what you are experiencing is definitely lochia as opposed to a postpartum haemorrhage. Keep an eye on its duration, colour, and consistency.
How Long Does Lochia Last?
Lochia comprises 3 different stages. The first stage presents itself as bright red bleeding that starts 2 to 5 days after delivery and can last for up to 6 weeks. Eventually, the blood expelled will become pinkish in colour until it is just a brownish-yellow substance.
Here are Lochia’s 3 stages:
- Lochia Rubra
- Lochia Serosa
- Lochia Alba
What Is Lochia Rubra?
Lochia rubra is a bright red discharge that appears during the first 2 to 5 days following delivery. It is the first stage of lochia which presents itself as heavy flow with small clots and mild, period-like cramping.
What Is Lochia Serosa?
Lochia serosa is the second stage of lochia and appears as a pinky-brownish discharge that lasts from 4 to 12 days.
What Is Lochia Alba?
Lochia alba is the last stage of lochia. It presents itself as a yellowish-white discharge, which is usually quite light and occurs around 10 days after postpartum and lasts for up to six weeks.
Should I Still Be Bleeding 3 Weeks After C-section?
Bleeding after C-section can last from four to six weeks, but often it should taper after 10 to 12 days. You can also expect small blood clots because these are also left over from the placenta.
Most of the time, heavy bleeding after C-section beyond two weeks, whether continuous or intermittent, is a sign of overexertion.
When To See A Doctor
A visit to the doctor is always recommended just to be sure it is nothing serious.
However, there are circumstances where bleeding after c-section needs immediate medical attention. Do not ignore these symptoms:
- Bleeding where the discharge is a mass the size of a golf ball
- The amount of blood is enough to soak a towel in less than an hour or several maxi pads within the same period
- Foul smell
- Severe cramping
- Feeling faint
What Causes Excessive Bleeding (Postpartum Hemorrhage) That Is Not Lochia?
There are several reasons why postpartum haemorrhage occurs, but one of the most common is the uterus’ failure to contract properly following the birth of a child (uterine atony).
Lacerations, a retained placenta, and irregularly attached placenta can also cause excessive bleeding.
The majority of postpartum haemorrhages occur immediately after birth, although in some circumstances, women may experience a delayed postpartum haemorrhage after coming home.
Retained placenta, bleeding disorders, infection, and placental issues are all possible reasons for delayed postpartum haemorrhage.
Women who undergo a C-section or have twin pregnancies or preeclampsia are more likely to experience postpartum haemorrhage.
Signs of Internal Bleeding After C Section
Childbirth always increases the risk of internal infection. And excess bleeding could be a sign of complications such as damage to major blood vessels.
Watch out for these signs:
- shortness of breath
- tachycardia, or a heart rate that is over 100 beats/minute
- bloated abdomen
- bruising on the abdomen
- feeling faint
- cold hands or feet
Determining the cause of the bleeding after C-section will tell the doctor what kind of treatment is needed.
It may be as simple as prescribing medication or blood transfusion if the amount lost is more than 500 cc. Some cases may even require a hysterectomy.
Giving birth is a wonderful experience. But because of the many physiological changes that happen to the body, special care is necessary to ensure both mother and baby are in good health.
Bleeding after C-section is normal unless it presents itself with certain signs or heavy bleeding.
Being mindful of what can and cannot be done to prevent excessive bleeding is crucial, and you should never put off seeing a doctor if you feel like there is something out of the ordinary.