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Paula Kashtan

Q&A: Postpartum Bleeding?

It’s been over a week since I had my baby and I’m still bleeding kind of a lot. I even passed a big clot the other day. Shouldn’t this be slowing down?

Yes, and it will soon. The discharge, called lochia, starts off bright red and can contain clots, which are usually a sign that you’ve been too active and should try to rest a bit. As your uterus begins to heal from childbirth, the discharge changes from red, to pink, to brown, to white, and can last for two to six weeks. If you had a long or difficult labor, a large baby or multiples, or other complications such as a placental abruption, you may experience more bleeding.

Wear sanitary pads to contain the flow — don’t use tampons until at least six weeks postpartum. Call your doctor if the lochia is still bright red at six weeks, if it becomes red again after having lightened, if you start soaking through pad in an hour, or if you see a clot larger than a golf ball. These can be signs of a postpartum hemorrhage (scary, but rare).

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