Menstrual Cycle

A series of changes in a woman/girl's body every month as a way of preparing for a possible pregnancy

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Menstruation, your period and ovulation after baby

Immediately following the birth of your baby, the blood loss is slightly heavier than a normal period, and the colour a bright red. Blood loss shouldn’t exceed what can be managed with a sanitary pad every four hours (if it’s heavier than this, check in with your care provider). The flow decreases over the next week, and the colour will alter to a paler red, then a brownish-red colour. The discharge (also known as lochia) can become yellow-white in colour before it ceases. You will notice an odour, which is strong but not offensive. The blood flow should stop after a week or so, but light blood loss might last for about 6 weeks after the birth and is not a cause for concern. It differs for each woman, but if you’re worried, contact your midwife or doctor for advice. It’s important to use sanitary pads and not tampons after the birth of your baby. Tampons obstruct the blood flow and can encourage the growth of bacteria, which could lead to infection. Make sure you change your pad every four hours (or more often, if required) as bacteria can build up quite quickly, particularly in lochia. Some women prefer to use the thicker maternity pads initially, as they are more padded and protective. When you are ready, you can always switch to ultra thin pads.