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Postpartum Bleeding


Postpartum bleeding is vaginal bleeding after childbirth. This bleeding is normal, whether your baby was born vaginally or by C-section. It contains blood and the tissue that lined the inside of your uterus when you were pregnant.


Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You are suddenly short of breath and feel lightheaded.
  • You have sudden chest pain.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You are breathing faster than normal.
  • Your heart is beating faster than normal.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your bleeding increases, or you have heavy bleeding that soaks a pad in 1 hour for 2 hours in a row.
  • You pass large blood clots.
  • You feel dizzy.
  • You have a low back ache, abdominal pain or tenderness, or loss of appetite.
  • You are urinating less than usual, or not at all.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

What to expect with postpartum bleeding:

Postpartum bleeding usually lasts at least 10 days, and may last longer than 6 weeks. Your bleeding may range from light (barely staining a pad) to heavy (soaking a pad in 1 hour). Usually, you have heavier bleeding right after childbirth, which slows over the next few weeks until it stops. The bleeding is red or dark brown with clots for the first 1 to 3 days. It then turns pink for several days, and then becomes a white or yellow discharge until it ends.

Follow up with your obstetrician as directed:

Do not have sex until your obstetrician says it is okay. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.