Vaginal Flow (Lochia)

Right after birth, whether you have delivered vaginally or via cesarean section, your vaginal flow will be bright red, similar to your menstrual flow. Use pads rather than tampons to decrease the risk of infection and to allow your uterus and cervix to heal properly. Don’t use tampons or douche for six weeks.

Nursing, which causes the uterus to contract, may cause some bleeding the first few days after birth. This is normal. If it continues or occurs at other times, you may be overexerting yourself and need to rest more. If moderate or heavy bleeding (more than one pad per hour) continues, notify your healthcare provider.

In three to four days, the discharge becomes more watery and pale. By the second week, lochia is thicker and more yellow in color. Finally, after about four weeks, the discharge decreases to a minimum as the uterine lining heals.

The healing process, which usually lasts about three to six weeks, is completed when there is no further discharge. Full activities can usually be resumed at this time. Your physician will let you know for sure.

Occasionally, you may pass a clot that is very dark red. It may be small or as large as a golf ball. This is old blood that was in the uterus after the birth and is expelled as the uterus contracts. If clots are very large or if your bleeding increases after passing a clot, call your doctor.