After giving birth, a woman will enter the puerperium which is the period in which her body cleans up the remnants of extra tissue and blood after the delivery process. This postpartum period can vary in duration for each woman, but in general, no more than 6 weeks. So, if you've just given birth, don't worry if your puerperium doesn't last long. This is a natural process that every mother needs to go through after giving birth.
Changes in Puerperal Blood from Week to Week
Puerperal blood is bleeding that occurs after childbirth, in which the placenta or placenta detaches from the uterine wall which is rich in blood vessels. When the placenta detaches from the uterus, blood vessels become torn, causing blood to flow out and flood the uterus. This is a normal process that occurs in women after giving birth and usually lasts 4-6 weeks.
After the placenta is out, the uterus will contract and help cover the torn blood vessels, so that bleeding will decrease. During the 4-6 weeks after delivery, there are several changes in puerperal blood or lochia from week to week:
- First 24 hours Postpartum
During the first 24 hours after delivery, you may bleed profusely and be bright red. No need to worry if you see several small blood clots up to the size of a tomato because this is still considered normal.
- Week 1
On days 2 to 6 after delivery, puerperal blood will change color from dark brown to pink and be thinner in consistency. Women who give birth spontaneously may experience vaginal pain. Meanwhile, for those who give birth by caesarean section, stitches can still cause pain in the first week after giving birth. On day 3, the levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone will likely start to decrease, so emotions can feel unstable.
- Week 2
On the 7th to 10th day after giving birth, the puerperal blood that comes out will be pink to light brown, and the bleeding also tends to be lighter than the first six days. After that, on days 11 to 14, the bleeding will decrease and be lighter in color. In this second week, women who give birth normally can also feel itching in the vaginal area due to the recovery process.
It is normal if in this phase the mother feels baby blues, but make sure there is support from family or close friends to help avoid it or overcome it. In the process of breastfeeding, improper attachment can cause pain in the nipples, so constant training is needed.
- Week 3 to 4
For 3-4 weeks postpartum, there is usually bleeding that is cream in color with a slight brown or pink streak. For some mothers, the postpartum period can end this week. Be sure to change pads regularly and consult a doctor if there is a significant change in the color and amount of blood coming out.
- 5th to 6th Week
After 5-6 weeks of delivery, generally puerperal bleeding will stop and the size of the uterus will return to normal. Even so, you may still experience yellow, red or brown blood spots, especially for mothers who gave birth by C-section. After reaching the sixth week, light physical activity can be done, but you still need to be careful with stitch scars.
Keep in mind that mental health is also very important. Don't be afraid to feel overwhelmed and tired, but be wary of feeling depressed, anxious, or feeling useless, as these can be signs of postpartum depression. Don't push yourself too hard to get back to being active as a healthy mother after reaching the sixth week. Make adaptations to activities slowly, and get enough rest.
Dangerous Conditions of Puerperal Blood
Under normal circumstances, puerperal blood after delivery should gradually decrease and turn dark red to brown in color. However, if you experience the following symptoms, then puerperal blood can be considered abnormal.
- Postpartum blood smells bad.
- The blood that comes out is still a lot and bright red for four days after giving birth, despite lots of rest.
- Postpartum bleeding suddenly becomes so heavy that you have to change more than one pad in an hour or if large blood clots the size of a coin come out of the vagina.
- Symptoms of fever accompanied by dizziness or fainting, pain in the lower abdomen when pressed, and a fast and irregular heartbeat.
Every woman who gives birth usually experiences puerperal bleeding after childbirth. Even though it's common, you need to be vigilant if the blood that comes out is accompanied by certain symptoms. Don't delay to see a doctor so that bleeding conditions during the puerperium can be handled properly and immediately.