Pregnancy and postpartum are one of the toughest periods of life for any woman. Although the results are wonderful and joyous, many women endure physical stress and strain throughout the process. Postpartum bleeding is one of the many stressful things a woman must endure.
After giving birth, the body tries to push out all the excess blood, bodily fluids such as mucus, bacteria and tissues from inside the uterus. This bleeding is referred to as Lochia. To get through this heavy bleeding phase, there are maternity pads online that can help control the blood flow and prevent the requirement for pad change several times.
It can also prevent leakage and staining since lochia is different from regular menstrual periods. The blood flow can be quite heavy and therefore, thicker and bigger pads are most suited for lochia instead of using regular sanitary napkins.
Different stages of Bleeding Postpartum
After giving birth, the body goes through a string of functions that help the patient recover from the birthing process. The uterus starts to involute and begins to shed the blood, mucus and other materials that have been inside for several months alongside the placenta.
Lochia consists of all those things that the body no longer requires such as blood, blood tissues, bodily fluids with bacteria and microorganisms. Lochia is quite different from regular bleeding because it is heavier than usual period bleeding.
Lochia bleeding is more continuous than the period bleeding and a lot more blood is shed in the first few days or sometimes weeks by the woman than what would have during menstrual periods. Lochia bleeding can be classified into 3 parts:
- Lochia Rubra
In the first few days or even a few weeks of postpartum, the mother has a very heavy flow, which has the following characteristics:
- Blood is dark red or brown
- Heavy bleeding
- It has a pungent smell
- Period like cramps
- Prone to leakage and staining
This phase requires the woman to use options such as maternity pads with thicker and more absorbent layers than a regular sanitary napkin. Maternity pads online are quite cost-effective and one big pack should be enough to cover the first couple of days of heavy flow postpartum.
- Lochia Serosa
Lochia Serosa is the second phase of Lochia where the bleeding is now less profuse and has slowly started to retreat. The blood is more pink or brown than red and has less pungent odor. Although it is not as heavy as the Rubra phase, this is a long phase of lochia and can last anywhere from a few days to two weeks. Most women have mild cramping not enough to be painful but just uncomfortable. The flow becomes less heavy and is more manageable. Some women may still need maternity pads but may soon be able to switch to regular pads.
- Lochia Alba
The last phase of lochia, this is the easiest phase where the bleeding has pretty much subsided. All the pain and the discomfort caused by the bleeding would ease up at this stage. The bleeding is no longer blood but more like a vaginal discharge that appears yellow or white. Spotting-like bleeding with some blood is usual at this stage. This stage can also last for a long time and is perhaps the longest amongst the three. Small amounts of blood may appear from time to time and the duration of this phase is between 2 weeks to 6 weeks. This duration can vary from one person to another.
No pain, cramping or blood clots are expected at the phase of lochia.
Why use Maternity Pads?
Maternity pads have thicker padding with more cotton and polymer-based layers to trap more fluids and prevent leakage. The cottony mesh around the padding prevents staining and makes comfortable wear, making it easier on the skin postpartum.
The bleeding subsequently reduces and diminishes over the next few weeks and the mother may be able to switch to regular sanitary napkins.
How the mother has given birth also plays a part in lochia discharge. During a cesarean section, most of the blood inside the uterus is vacuumed while removal of the baby, therefore, women have less bleeding when giving birth surgically. Such patients may need maternity pads only for the first few days or perhaps a week at most. Women who give birth vaginally have heavier bleeding as the blood gets removed slowly and in a paced manner. After a few weeks of bleeding, the flow becomes less and turns clear or milky and is more like spotting rather than bleeding. Post this point, it may completely stop, which takes about a day or more. Women who have given birth vaginally have longer Lochia Rubra and Lochia Serosa and therefore may require more supplies of maternity pads.