Having a cesarean section rather than a vaginal delivery comes with its own unique issues. While you still welcome your baby into the world, there are some surprising differences. If you recently had a C-section, you are most likely feeling unlike yourself and a little uncomfortable.
You may also be concerned because of your vaginal bleeding. Are you worried because bleeding after C-section stopped then started again? You most likely do not need to worry. It is normal for vaginal bleeding to change after birth. Let me ease your mind by discussing postpartum bleeding in more detail.
Tips for Going Home After a C-Section
Before we jump into postpartum bleeding, it is important to discuss some basic tips to help you recover from your C-section successfully. First things first – do not try to be supermom! It takes more time to recover from a C-section than a vaginal delivery. Be mentally prepared to rest. Your body needs to rest to recover. And, obey your doctor’s instructions regarding your C-section incision and care.
Again, do not try to be a saint. Take your medicine and avoid heavy lifting. Allow others to help you. This is a struggle for many moms, but a C-section is major surgery, so you will need time to heal. Avoid exercising, but try to take walks. Walking will help with your overall recovery and constipation. You should drink plenty of water and eat healthy. You need to strengthen your body.
What is Lochia?
You may be surprised by the amount of heavy bleeding that occurs after your baby is delivered. This postpartum vaginal bleeding is called lochia. Lochia is normal and natural. This bleeding is your body shedding the lining of the uterus. It takes place over 3-6 weeks, beginning shortly after birth.
When lochia first begins, it is bright red, and it is also very heavy, which may cause some alarm. When you are at the hospital and when you return home, you will need to wear large pads provided by the hospital. The amount will gradually decrease.
Additionally, the color changes over time. These changes often confuse mothers like how breastmilk changes over time. If you expect these changes to occur, you will be more prepared. The amount of lochia will gradually decrease, and the color will change. The color will change from bright red to pink and then brown. Eventually, the lochia will be yellowish in color.
How to Handle Postpartum Bleeding
Moms should mentally prepare themselves for heavy postpartum bleeding. Stock up on heavy duty maxi pads and wear them until the lochia has lessened. Try to avoid activities that will increase blood flow such as exercise or excessive walking. You will experience fewer gushes when you rest.
New moms should also avoid any type of penetration. When experiencing postpartum bleeding, you should not use tampons. Tampons may cause infections during this postpartum stage. In addition, sexual intercourse should be avoided.
What May Cause Bright Red Bleeding to Reappear
You may notice bleeding reappearing after you seemed to have stopped. This should not cause alarm. According to Kamm McKenzie OBGYN, “Occasionally, a week or two after your bleeding seems to have stopped, you may have a sudden gush of bright red blood. This is the normal process of the placental site scab coming off. This too will taper off over a few days.”
In addition to the placental site scab coming off, you may experience bright red bleeding after increased activity or exercise. It is common for bright red bleeding to reappear as you deal with lochia. Try not to become discouraged when this happens.
When to Call Your Doctor
However, while it is normal to experience heavy bleeding and for color changes to occur, you should still pay attention to your body. If you begin to experience excessive bleeding, such as filling a maxi pad in an hour several hours in a row, you should contact your doctor.
If the color remains bright red in color continuously 7 days after birth, this is another sign you need to seek medical help. In addition to excessive bleeding and the color, if you seem to be passing large clots (golf ball sized), you need to call your doctor. Finally, if you experience a fever, call your OBGYN.
When Should You Expect Your Period to Return
Breastfeeding mothers may not experience their first period post-birth until after their baby has been weaned. Periods typically return later for these mothers, but some breastfeeding mothers do have a period return in the early months.
Mothers who are not breastfeeding should expect their period to return 4-8 weeks post-delivery, but some women’s first period does not occur until around 12 weeks. This first period after delivering your child may be different from your typical periods.
To Wrap Up
After having a C-section, you should focus on taking care of yourself by obeying your doctor’s orders. When you deal with postpartum bleeding, try not to be alarmed. Expect heavy bleeding and for the color to change, but pay attention to anything excessive.