Bleeding After Birth: What to Expect

5 min read
Bleeding After Birth: What to Expect

Whatever type of birth you have, every new mum will bleed (sorry mums, one more little hurdle before you can relax and ease into motherhood).

Once your bundle of joy is born vaginal bleeding (lochia to give its medical name) is a normal post birth response as the body gets rid of all the supporting tissue and prepares to renew itself. This happens regardless of how your baby was birthed (sorry C-section Mums – you’ll get this too!).  The bleeding will begin immediately afte4r birth, and can last up to six weeks!

What is the bleeding actually from?

Womb (via


The lining of the uterus (womb) is no longer needed and this is the body’s’ very clever way of getting rid of it after birth the extra blood you have when you were pregnant has to exit the body somehow. It’s something every new mother goes through and is perfectly natural and nothing to be concerned about.

However, I should mention that in some cases bleeding heavier than normal can be a very serious problem; this is called a postpartum haemorrhage (PPH). PPH may happen a couple of days after birth. It’s caused by a piece of membrane, a retained bit of placenta or when your uterus doesn’t drop properly after you’ve delivered the placenta. Get yourself to a hospital quick smart if the bleeding suddenly becomes very heavy and completely soaking your pads, you’re passing large blood clots, you feel faint and dizzy or a general unwell feeling comes over you.

PPH is easily fixed with some antibiotics or an operation and once receiving the proper treatment you will be back to yourself in no time. Actually not yourself, after having a baby you will never be yourself again you will be a mum.

What does it look like?

Every new mum will recover differently after birth so it’s hard to say exactly what might happen and how much blood loss to expect. It may come out in gushes and quite heavy to start with or flow more evenly, similar to a period. The colour and flow will gradually lighten from bright red to pink brown and should entirely stop two to six weeks after birth. Along with everything else in your body the uterus has to heal and return back to its pre-pregnancy size.

A general guide to bleeding:

Bleeding one day after birth

A fresh red and quite heavy loss, changing a pad every few hours. You may pass a blood clot or two, bright red in colour and the size of a blueberry.

When to worry:  If you are soaking more than one pad every hour, go see your Doctor immediately.

Bleeding two to six days after birth

A moderate flow of blood loss with the colour a darker red and brown or a pinky red. You may still pass a blood clot, however, they should be getting quite small in size towards day six.

When to worry:  If the blood is still bright red after four days, seek medial assistance.

Bleeding seven to 10 days after birth

Your blood flow should have eased a great deal with your blood turning a pinkish brown and becoming a yellowish brown after the 10 days. Lochia can go on for 2 to 6 weeks and can also be off and on for a couple of months.

How to prepare for bleeding after birth?

Bleeding After Birth | Stay At Home Mum


  • Get three to four packets of maternity pads (normal pads will not do ladies). Maternity pads are mattress thick and designed to fit snug and fully protect and handle the blood flow you will experience.
  • Don’t use tampons. Aside from your vagina being a particularly sore and a no go region for a while, using tampons could introduce bacteria into your still recovering uterus and genital tract.
  • Choose clothes particularly underwear that you don’t mind too much if they get a little soiled, because they will. Try as you might you always get blood on your pants. Up the back and way up the front where you didn’t think possible. You don’t need to impress anyone at this stage so wearing your favourites immediately after delivery (even if you could fit into them) it will inevitably happen.
  • Take it easy, let hubby or partner look after you. Doing too much too soon can slow the body’s repair work and could cause bleeding to start again.

If you’re concerned with your blood loss in anyway after you get home or unsure about anything, it is always recommended you speak to your midwife or GP.

In the first few days of being a new mum it can seem like the biggest upheaval. Don’t despair, it does get easier and the fog will pass. Research has found that the first few months are the hardest and whizz by in a haze of confusion.

It can roughly take around 4 months to come to grips with your new lifestyle. After this time mothers bounce back, have a routine nailed and have the confidence to deal with everything that is thrown at them.

Enjoy, it’s a wonderful time it just doesn’t seem like it.


If you become concerned about your or anyone else’s health please seek immediate medical attention or go to our health hotlines and website post for further resources.

SAHM takes no responsibility for any illness, injury or death caused by misuse of this information.  All information provided is correct at time of publication.

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Michaella Tasker

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