Postpartum Bleeding

Topic Overview

Immediately after delivery, you will have a bloody discharge (lochia) from the vagina. This will turn pinkish within a week and become white or yellowish after about 10 days. Lochia may last for 4 to 6 weeks, but it should be less bloody after 2 weeks. It can come and go for about 2 months.

Use pads, rather than tampons, during this time. If you have a tear next to the vagina (perineal tear) or an episiotomy that is healing, change the pad at least every 4 hours to prevent irritation and infection.

How much bleeding is too much?

Call your doctor right away if you:

  • Have bleeding that soaks through your usual pad each hour for 2 or more hours.
  • Have bloody discharge that continues beyond 4 to 6 weeks.
  • Pass blood clots larger than a golf ball over several hours.

Don't be concerned if you pass occasional blood clots, as long as they are smaller than a golf ball.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised November 13, 2013

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.