Postpartum recovery: bleeding and cramping after giving birth
After your baby is born, how long will it take to recover and what can you do for pain? What about postpartum depression? Exercise? If you have questions about your postpartum recovery, we have answers!
Thanks to Music Together, which supported this event, I was excited to participate in a Bundoo Facebook Live addressing the top things no one tells you about postpartum recovery, including what you should expect in terms of bleeding after giving birth.
Read on to learn more, and check back next week as I’ll be posting more questions and answers from the event. Or if you want to see the whole thing, just scroll down and enjoy!
When you’re ready to leave the hospital with your newborn, your doctor will give you a list of warning signs you should look out for, including information about bleeding and what you should look out for.
First, you should know that bleeding after giving birth is normal, especially in the first six weeks. And while your bleeding will decrease over time, it might also have periods when it gets worse, especially when you start getting active again.
You might notice you’re bleeding a bit more when you start to carry your newborn around and get out of the house. This is fine. It’s also normal for your bleeding to change color over time. It might go from a bright red to a yellow or brown. This is called lochia and it’s totally normal.
However, if you’re soaking a regular size pad in one hour, and then doing it again with another pad, you should call us. Same thing if you’re having spots the size of a golf ball, if it smells, or if you’re just worried about it. You should call your doctor. Remember there are no stupid questions. There might not be anything wrong at all, but we still want to know about it. We’ll want to see if you retained a bit of placenta, or if there’s an infection.
The bottom line is that your bleeding should stop after about six weeks.
When it comes to pain, it’s also normal to feel some discomfort or pain after giving birth, and this may be worse for moms who are breastfeeding. When your baby latches onto your breast, it causes the release of hormones that can increase bleeding and cramping in your uterus. There’s actually an evolutionary reason for this. This reaction to breastfeeding is designed to stop you from hemorrhaging or bleeding—it was especially helpful back when women weren’t giving in birth in hospitals. It’s really there to protect us even if it doesn’t feel so great.
Some women notice this is even more intense with their third or fourth babies, although we don’t really know why. If it’s really painful, ibuprofen can be your best friend here, but I wouldn’t recommend anything stronger without talking to your doctor first.
Music Together is music and movement classes for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and the grownups who love them. You’ll learn lots of ways to interact musically with your baby, and as you sing, laugh, and learn together, you’ll bond with your child and other new parents. Watch your baby’s eyes light up during a free Music Together class near you!