What is Lochia? - Understanding Post Pregnancy Bleeding
Lochia may seem like menstrual blood flow but it is slightly different and has a different cause.
Pregnancy is a beautiful journey that heralds you into the blissful world of motherhood. However, it also brings with it a wave of mental and physical changes. One such notable physical change is lochia (pronounced ‘lokia’) – experiencing vaginal discharge post vaginal delivery.
Lochia may seem like menstrual blood flow but it is slightly different and has a different cause. The discharge in this case has a peculiar stale odour and is secreted for about 14 days post-delivery. Think of lochia as a way through which your body recovers from pregnancy.
Why Do You Experience Lochia?
During pregnancy, the uterus is lined with blood and tissue. This lining that is gradually shed from your uterus is known as ‘lochia’. When you deliver your baby, the left-over fluid is flushed out of the body over the next few days. The body sheds the blood just like the fluid is shed during your menstrual cycle.
The lochia discharge is likely to be heavier when you wake up in the morning. It also increases in times when you are physically active and breastfeeding. Lochia after a C-section is considerably much lighter.
The lochia discharge is likely to be heavier when you wake up in the morning.
Change in Types of Lochia:
Over a few weeks, the colour of the lochia discharge usually begins to change. In the initial days, it is red, and it turns a light pink over the next week. As the flow trails off, it tends to become watery with a light pinkish hue.
Ways to Manage Lochia:
There is no way to completely avoid this postpartum discharge. However, you can effectively manage the condition to minimize the discomfort and embarrassing leakage. Here are some actionable tips:
Use high-quality sanitary pads:
Menstrual sanitary pads by ALWAYS can be used but we recommend using specialised pads basis the flow postpartum. Sanitary pads are your best aid here as tampons can induce bacteria into the recovering uterus.
Wear comfortable panties:
While you may be tempted to bring out those lacy pairs post your pregnancy, we recommend holding on for a while. Instead, bring out those comfortable cotton panties that sit well on your skin. Also, old panties will do just fine as you may end up staining them from time to time.
Do not push your limits:
Your body has already endured enough during the pregnancy and you must give it time to recover. Do not push yourself to do heavy activities as it can cause your body to bleed heavily.
Keep a track:
Keep a track of your flow from time to time. If the type of lochia has a very thick clot-like consistency with a foul smell, you must bring it to the notice of your doctor. The smell of the lochia is a major indicator of an underlying condition.
Lochia is a condition that can be quite distressful as you also have to focus on your baby. But do note that lochia will not last for more than two to four weeks. If you continue to feel discomfort even after four weeks, it may be time to talk to your doctor.