Women are often surprised by how much they bleed after childbirth, but it can be like having a heavy period for up to two weeks and is totally normal. However, you should call your doctor if you experience extremely heavy bleeding that soaks a maxi pad within an hour, or if the bleeding includes large clots of blood.
Postnatal bleeding is caused by the placenta separating from the uterus, which is why it occurs even if you’ve had a C-section. The bleeding can last for as long as six weeks and usually starts out bright red before fading to a pink or brown discharge, called lochia, which eventually becomes a yellowish color.
When dealing with postnatal bleeding, remember to use pads as opposed to tampons, which could cause an infection by introducing bacteria into your still-healing uterus.
Dr. Marjorie Greenfield is a practicing board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist and associate professor on the full-time faculty at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. She is also the author of the The Working Woman's Pregnancy Book. Dr. Greenfield lives in the Cleveland area with her husband and their teenage son. www.marjoriegreenfield.com