Dec 31, 2010 No Comments by
Grab a pile of pads, and relax. This discharge of leftover blood, mucus, and tissue from your uterus, known as lochia, is normally as heavy as (and often heavier than) a menstrual period for the first three to ten postpartum days. It may total up to 2 cups before it begins to taper off, and at times it may seem pretty profuse. A sudden gush when you stand up in the first few days is normal – it’s just the flow that accumulates when you’ve been lying down or sitting. Because blood and an occasional blood clot are the predominant ingredients of lochies during the immediate  postpartum period, your discharge can be quite red for anywhere from five days to three weeks, gradually turning to a watery pink, then to brown, and finally to a yellowish white. Maxipads, not tampons, should be used to absorb the flow, which may continue on and off for just acouple of weeks or as long as six weeks. In some women, light bleeding continues for three months. The flow is different for everyone.
Breastfeeding – and/or intravenous Pitocin (oxytocin), which is routinely ordered by some doctors following delivery-may reduce the flow of lochia by encouraging uterine contractions. These postdelivery contraction help shrink the utreus back to its normal size more quickly while pinching off exposed blood vessels at the site where the placenta separated from the uterus.
If you’re in the hospital or birthing center and you think your bleeding may be excessive, notify a nurse. If you experience what seem to be abnormally heavy bleeding once you’re home, call your practitioner without delay; if you can’t reach him or her, go to the emergency room (in the hospital where you delivered, if possible).

After The Baby Is Born, Postpartum:The First Week
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