Your body goes through a lot of changes during pregnancy. After giving birth the changes continue.
There are some changes that are less talked about. I believe that for you to be best prepared it’s vital to know about them in advance.
Your body needs time to recover. This blog post is focused on the important understanding of how your body knows how to heal after giving birth.
More specifically on the bleeding that is caused by the shedding and restoration of your uterine lining. This bleeding after childbirth is called Lochia. Your uterus is cleansing and it’s normal to have vaginal bleeding. Many discover new sensations and just how much our bodys can feel. It can be surprising if it's your first time after giving birth. Pain, burning and itchiness can be experienced on a whole new level. Post-birth contractions are also common regardless of how you gave birth and usually get stronger with subsequent babies. These contractions are your uterus returning to its original size and whilst some birthing parents barely notice them, they can be surprisingly painful for others.
Here are a few things that can be helpful to know about Lochia: The bleeding typically lasts two to six weeks after the birth of your baby. It contains: blood, pieces of the uterine lining, secretions and white blood cells.
For the first one to three days after your baby is born, the blood you see will likely be bright or dark red. It may smell like the blood you typically shed during your menstrual period. There might also be a few clots in the blood, ranging from the size of a grape to the size of a prune. (It’s so important to know that this is normal, as this is the point that can freak some people out)…! After about a week post birth the blood turns a pinkish or brownish color. Clots should get smaller or disappear. Sometimes around days 9-13 you will see more clots coming. (This again is normal).
You are looking to see that the bleeding slows down and then tapers off within a few weeks after giving birth vaginally or by Cesarean birth.
Your healing is happening well, when you allow your body plenty of rest. As all the available energy you have at this point, is needed to support your body in its recovery and for taking care of your newborn.
But know that these are a few things that can temporarily increase the blood flow, including: Getting out of bed in the morning, Breastfeeding (your body produces oxytocin while you nurse, which stimulates uterine contractions and accelerates healing), When peeing or passing a bowel movement.
*If at any point you see an increase in your bleeding that is not related to any of the above, you see your pad is filling up fast, needing to change it every hour or less. Please contact your medical care provider immediately. Or the place you gave birth. They will see you without an appointment 7-10 post birth. As this could be an acute sign that you are hemorrhaging.
In the first 4-6 weeks 28/40 days, postpartum you experience many new things, support your body and emotional changes. By giving yourself plenty of time to rest as much as possible and to be absorbed in taking care of yourself and your baby. See that the daily meal prep and house work are taken care of by someone else.
Maybe this feels like something you will figure out once you get there. But trust me. This is not something you want to overlook!
I recommend planning ahead, understanding who your village is, that you will be calling on for support. Your village could be your partner, family, close friends, postpartum doula (link to doula circle postpartum team) or even a night doula. So that you have the time to set expectations for yourself and others. Invest the time while you're still pregnant to set up the best support that can be available for you!