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Postpartum Bleeding

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 6, 2023.

What do I need to know about 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.

What should I 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.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You are suddenly short of breath and feel lightheaded.
  • You have sudden chest pain.
  • You are breathing faster than normal.
  • Your heart is beating faster than normal.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

When should I call my doctor or obstetrician?

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

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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Treatment options

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.