The Fourth Trimester: What You Should Know about Life Postpartum
Lochia: When Will I Stop Bleeding?
The area in your womb where the placenta was attached to the wall of your uterus is chock full of blood vessels. Immediately following the birth of a baby, the uterus begins a process called involution where it shrinks to its normal size. This shrinking of the uterus and uterine blood vessels causes bloody discharge known as lochia. While lochia tends to be bright red for the first few days, it generally tapers off to a paler color over the course of two to six weeks. As with a normal menstrual period, the uterus also sloughs off its lining as part of the lochia, so seeing bits of tissue or small blood clots isn’t uncommon or cause for alarm. You should call your doctor if your bleeding is bright red for more than a few days or doesn’t seem to decrease over time, if you pass a clot bigger than a large grape, if your lochia has a foul smell (the odor should resemble menstrual blood), or if you feel dizzy or faint. These symptoms could indicate excessive bleeding or an infection. As always, when in doubt, check it out!
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